Coming to Terms: South Africa's Search for Truth

Coming to Terms: South Africa's Search for Truth

Coming to Terms: South Africa's Search for Truth

Coming to Terms: South Africa's Search for Truth

Synopsis

Featuring a powerful essay by Pulitzer Prize & National Book Award winning author Tina Rosenberg. A singular account of the successes & failures of South Africa's Truth & Reconciliation Commission - & a penetrating look at how nations surmount legacies of violence.

Excerpt

In the past quarter-century, perhaps half the world's nations have undergone a transformation from dictatorship or war to democracy or peace. All have had to struggle with the crimes of a past regime, to decide whether and how to put repressive leaders on trial, uncover the truth about patterns and individual cases of crimes, keep the guilty from continuing in powerful posts, and give victims some redress. Their dilemmas have produced some of the great political, philosophical, and moral dramas of our time.

Should Argentina attempt to try military officers who committed forced disappearances in the Dirty War if it puts the new democracy at risk? Who is qualified to decide whether people on a list of secret-police informants in the Czech Republic should lose their government posts? What is the best way to dispel the myths of victimization that Serbs cling to, before they explode into yet another war? Can Polish General Wojciech Jaruzelski be convicted of treason for his political decision to crush Solidarity by calling martial law—if he believed it prevented a Soviet invasion? Are the efforts of Rwanda's justice system to prosecute 120,000 people for genocide themselves doing injustice? Does Spain, which chose to do nothing about the crimes of General Franco, now have the right to take that choice away from Chile? the line between whitewash and witch‐ hunt, amnesty and amnesia, justice and vengeance is not always clear.

Dealing with the past is often the first test of a new government . . .

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