Entries from October 2020 ↓

Two passages by chairperson of South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Today is Tuesday 27 October 2020. This year I’ve been trying to post once a week.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report was presented to President Nelson Mandela on 29 October 1998. We’re coming up on an anniversary of that date. Might be worth learning more about the SATRC, then, yes?

Besides the anniversary, another reason the TRC is important is the objective of #OpDeathEaters. That’s to establish an independent, international, victim-led tribunal/inquiry into the pedosadist/trafficking industry. When I was first hearing about #OpDeathEaters, my mind was like, what on earth is an inquiry? I think inquiries have some similarities to truth and reconciliation commissions. Here’s what I wrote about all that on May 31:

There are examples of inquiries, or efforts toward them, on both the small family/community level and for entire countries and planetwide. For instance, in Finland, the Open Dialogue method, under experimentation for implementation in the United States, is getting the best documented results for first episode psychosis (mental health): 85+% of the people helped by Open Dialogue never have a psychotic break again and never need psychiatric drugs. In Open Dialogue, if a person acts bizarrely, say a teenager at a family home, the mental health professionals head over instantly (not: schedule a thousand-dollar appointment for two months later after the patient’s psych ward lockup and the professional’s ski trip). The Open Dialogue practitioners maybe given the teen a benzo for sleep. While he’s sleeping, his family or friends might say to the professionals: “Let me tell you what really happened.” In other words, control the narrative and cover up wrongdoing. The Open Dialogue professionals don’t permit this. No one can begin until everyone can participate. Then, once the person who was in an altered state wakes and is calmer thanks to sleep, everyone gathers to have a small-scale inquiry. What happened? Is the coach at the school abusive? Let’s get that coach present to hear what he says about the accusation of abuse. Is the food at home causing the teenager distress? What can we do differently, together? It’s the same on the country or global level. For example, consider the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which took place as apartheid was formally ending in that country. With varying degrees of success and failure, the South African TRC required human rights violators from both the white supremacist reactionaries and the revolutionary liberation movements to—on live television, on live radio, and with the victims’ families present and participating—confess their crimes in detail (while asking for limited amnesty). Inquiries and their similar cousin, truth and reconciliation commissions, existed prior to the South African TRC, but in studying and discussing how to set up such solutions, the South African TRC is a landmark people often start from.

Truth and reconciliation commissions are a way forward, but setting them up sounds complicated! So, start at a good beginning.

Vol. 1 Chapter 1, is the Chairperson’s forward. That’s Chairperson Desmond Tutu. I have been reading Volume 1 when able, and I marked two beautiful passages, one paragraph each, that I believe deserve a wider audience in the United States.

Both, paragraph 33 and paragraph 67, are from the Criticisms and Challenges section of Desmond Tutu’s forward. Here’s paragraph 33:

It would have been odd in the extreme if something as radical as this Commission had met with universal approval and acceptance. It would have been even more odd had we been infallible and made no mistakes as we undertook the delicate task of seeking to help heal the wounds of a sorely divided people.

I think multiple USians get really snobby and insist no solutions are possible when they have lost hope or feel too much emotional pain internally. The above passage serves as a balm.

Here’s paragraph 67:

It is to give substance to our cry from the heart that politicians should really stop playing ducks and drakes with our future – for the greatest sadness that we have encountered in the Commission has been the reluctance of white leaders to urge their followers to respond to the remarkable generosity of spirit shown by the victims. This reluctance, indeed this hostility, to the Commission has been like spitting in the face of the victims.

The reluctance of white leaders to urge their followers to respond to the victims’ generosity of spirit continues today.

Readers who want to know more about how to solve systemic injustice can study the South African TRC if they’re unfamiliar with it. Time to develop concepts like inquiries and determine how we might use them in this chewed-up world.