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Just Reconciliation

The Practice and Morality of Making Peace


Edited By John R. Elford

Most people desire peace but understand that military intervention is sometimes required as a last resort. This book argues that more attention must therefore be given to the study and practice of post-conflict reconciliation. The essays collected here look at the work of figures such as Marc Ellis, Donald Reeves, Justin Welby and the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ Andrew White, and examines how these individuals portray the different successes and failures of reconciliation in dangerous situations. Other chapters examine the contributions made to reconciliation activity by psychology, aid distribution, commissions and peace treaties. The countries and regions under discussion include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, the Middle East, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The contributions reflect both religious and secular views on reconciliation.
The central debate takes place in the context of the changing role of the military in the modern world. The essays in the volume argue that issues relating to reconciliation and the post-conflict reconstruction of civil society should be considered a part of the moral assessment of military action and that the theory of just war needs to be developed to include considerations of this kind.


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Ron Roberts, Edina Bećirević and Stephen Paul - Truth and Denial: Psychological Perspectives on Reconciliation in Bosnia 129


Ron Roberts, Edina Bećirević and Stephen Paul Truth and Denial: Psychological Perspectives on Reconciliation in Bosnia Psychology and Reconciliation In this chapter we shall explore the contribution psychology can make to peace and reconciliation. We shall give an overview of the changing face of psychology, its contribution to our understanding of human conf lict and the importance of human relationships. We shall then focus on rec- onciliation in Bosnia. Less than one hundred years ago Freud1 viewed the world as a danger- ous place. Groups of people could act mindlessly together in the humilia- tion and death of others. Leaders could emerge who, people would follow with little consideration seemingly of their own values. In fact, the most ‘disturbed’ or ‘evil’ people rose into positions in which their abuse of others was accepted. This was the scenario in Europe in the 1930s, was the scenario in Yugoslavia in the 1990s and has been the scenario in many hotspots around the world throughout the last one hundred years. Terrible atroci- ties continue to be committed with seeming justification. There is no doubt that there exists the potential for terrible destruc- tiveness within the human psyche and that given certain conditions, for example a threat to territory and resources, people may commit atrocities at will. The human reaction to perceived hurt, real or otherwise, provokes a similar potential response. However, these responses cannot be resolved by the forceful suppression or repression of the individuals who act in this manner. Attempts must...

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