Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Sunday Night

with 3 comments

* Game of the night: Entanglement.

* The Declaration of Independence, in American.

When things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

* “Reconciliation” has become a darling of political theorists, journalists, and human-rights activists, especially as it pertains to the rebuilding of postwar and post-genocidal nations. Nowhere is this more so than in the case of Rwanda. Numerous books and articles on the topic—some, though not all, inspired by Christian teachings—pour forth. It can plausibly be argued, of course, that in Rwanda—and in other places, like Sierra Leone and the Balkans, where victims and perpetrators must live more or less together—reconciliation is a political necessity. Reconciliation has a moral resonance, too; certainly it is far better than endless, corpse-strewn cycles of revanchism and revenge. Yet there is sometimes a disturbing glibness when outsiders tout the wonders of reconciliation, as if they are leading the barbarians from darkness into light. Even worse, the phenomenological realities—the human truths—of the victims’ experiences are often ignored or, at best, treated as pathologies that should be “worked through” until the promised land of forgiveness is reached. This is not just a mistake but a dangerous one; for it is doubtful that any sustainable peace, and any sustainable politics, can be built without a better, which is to say a tragic, understanding of those truths.

* And how we nuked ourselves, 1945-1998.

3 Responses

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  1. My, do we ever need a current version of Mencken.

    Pete

    July 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

  2. My experience is very limited, but reconciliation seemed to be an important and necessary process when I was visiting Northern Ireland, and those involved in the process did not seem resentful of it at all. Granted, I had very limited contact with – and most of my information comes from one single source, a former IRA bodyguard – but from what I was able to gather, reconciliation was not some haughty process of NGOs lording it over IRA and RUC fighters. They don’t love one another, and there are still social problems, but I don’t think reconciliation is so terrible.

    Alex

    July 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm

  3. It’s the first time I think I’ve seen someone opposed to reconciliation. I found it an interesting point…

    gerrycanavan

    July 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm


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