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Reconciliation in Bloodlands

Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe


Edited By Jacek Kurczewski

Central-Eastern Europe, in the mid-20 th century, was a scene of Holocaust, mass killings, war, deportations and forced resettlements under the competing totalitarian invasions and afterwards. It was also the area where churches, politicians and citizens were engaged in reconciliation between antagonized religions and nations. This book presents several attempts to heal relations between Poles, Jews, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians as well as between Catholics, Protestants and Mariavites. Re-conciliatory practices of John Paul II and other Catholic leaders as well as Protestant churches are analysed in the first part of the book. Most of the remaining studies are focused on particular localities in Upper Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, former Polish Livland and on the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. These detailed contributions combine sociological methods with anthropological insight and historical context. The authors are sociologists, psychologists and theologians and this leads to a fully interdisciplinary approach in the assessment of the recent state of inter-group relations in the region as well as in the proposed theory of peacebuilding and reconciliation.
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The Culture of Coexistence in the longue durée. On Practising the Ethos of the Borderland


The contemporary culture of co-existence cannot be built on lies, wishful thinking or other baseless attitudes and ideologies, especially if they are realised through one-off, short-term and media-friendly events. The power of its authenticity should draw from a firm grasp of reality and care for long-term effects, and should be organically grounded in the everyday life of the community. Hence, it is best not to speak about resolving conflicts, but rather about an ability to live with conflicts, and instead of removing borders, to think about crossing them.

We brought down the Berlin wall, we opened up our borders, we popularised the Internet, most of us live in multicultural metropolises. And yet, walls remain a familiar experience to the modern European. These are no longer walls running along national borders, between political systems or languages. The contemporary wall stands in the midst of society, on the same river bank, and it serves to divide confronting cultural identities. The ever-increasing proximity of the Alien, not outside of our world, but within the intimate space reserved for the familiar and the accepted, raises a new wall in which all our fears and inadequacies are sealed. We are realising ever more clearly that identity does not mean community and that in our battles to preserve the former we have lost much of the spirit of the latter. The problem of modern Europe, which increasingly resembles an archipelago of separate cultures, is not the presence of diversity and differences, but that which...

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