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... Reconciliation in Sierra Leone Kateřina Werkman Charles University Prague.

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1 ... Reconciliation in Sierra Leone Kateřina Werkman Charles University Prague

2 Reconciliation Meaning of reconciliation may vary across the different national contexts and may even raise diverse expectations among the actors within the same society. In Sierra Leone much effort done since the war ended in 2002 to bring about reconciliation, at the national, community and individual levels

3 What is understood under reconciliation? “kol hart” - one's heart (as the center of feelings, thoughts and intentions) does not contain feelings of anger, resentment or grudge against the others “warm hart” - implies inability of a proper social relationship with the other(s) because of the feeling of anger or revenge “wan word” - understood as a collective “kol hart” (be it in a family or community) and is expressed through the community's ability to work or talk in unity

4 Reconciliation as unity “These are the things we look at as reconciliation among ourselves and having peace: coming together, greeting one and other, meeting one and other, knowing each other's problems, eating together, having unity among ourselves, those are the things.” (Mofindor, Women FG) “Reconciliation is coming together to be united. So that we can live as one.” (Feijia, Young Woman - Rape Victim) “A single tree cannot be a forest. So one person cannot promote or develop the community until others go with him, you go together, put things together, then you try to work for the better to develop this community. It is unity.” (Njagbahun, Chief)

5 Reconciliation and Development “Reconciliation is peace. If we are peaceful we will work towards development. But if we are not peaceful, there will be no development.” (Kogbotuma, Women FG) “Reconciliation is being united to bring development... for example here people work together to put up a structure where we can disuss issues.” (Feijia, Ex-Combatant) “It is because of reconciliation we are now able to develop our town, our community. Build mosques, churches and even work for ourselves and do community work.” (Kogbotuma, Youth FG)

6 Reconciliation, Confession, Forgiveness “To talk about the past again, to speak it out again... if that would be the case we always reflect it and make it exist back again. So instead we forget about it.” (Port Loko, Chief) “Noone should be pushed to confess, that wouldnt help in reconciliation. Confession would lead to more trouble. We asked anchestors to forgive all those that done wrong so could live like one family...” (Borbu, Chief) “Once we have taken an oath of making reconciliation... and everybody is happy with each other in the town, there is no need for someone to come and make a public confession as it will create new problems, the person better keep quiet about it.” (Mofindor, Women FG)

7 Reconciliation, Confession, Forgiveness “Because of the fear they [the ex-combatants] were having when they returned from the war, they were afraid to explain all their bad deeds, they were afraid to confess, so they would call on their immediate friends or brothers to explain all the deeds and then later those family members would go and tell that to the authorities or to the community.” (Njagbahun, Youth FG) “There is a law that whenever we go to the society shrine, if you have any hidden thing inside yourself, you have to confess. If you don't confess, you will not be fine...” (Senehun, Men FG)

8 Reconciliation and Reparations “We know that we will not regain what we have lost but at least let there be some sign of helping hand for the government and the NGOs – that will help us forget. Because they burnt our houses, if the government could provide zink for the roof, we would be very pleased.” (Gondama, Women FG) “Those that were having houses and those houses were burnt down, even if that person may have peace of mind, at any time he or she reflects back to the past – there will be no peace, perhaps because that person is old now and cannot afford to put up another house, so that is the problem now.” (Njagbahun, Youth FG)

9 What actually helped communities to achieve reconciliation? Pragmatism “ We have the believe that if you punish them, they will not be happy about it and revenge.” (Kogbotuma, Chief and Elders) “If you continue to mock those that return, they may change their mind again to do another thing.” (Senehun, Youth FG) “We have forgiven them. We have no other option.” (Gondama, Women FG)

10 ...  Pa Kabbah and the government “Kabbah called for peace and reconciliation in Sierra Leone... he said to accept those people that have done things in our homes, in these places, let's have peace and forget about it.” (Mofindor, Elderly Woman) “For the sake of the governement and Pa Kabbah, we just had to accept them. Not of our wish.” (Kogbotuma, Ex-combatant) “Government told us to forgive and forget so we did.” (Gondama, Chiefs)

11 ...  Chiefs “One of the first things we did when we returned was introducing by-laws that noone should point hands at anyone else and saying he or she belonged to this or that faction. If you say that to someone else and there are witnesses, they will take you to the chiefs...” (Ngiema, Youth FG) “When we were performing the ceremony, a law was introduced that noone should be pointing fingers, that it would be a crime and everybody said, lets get together and reconcile.” (Borbu, Women FG)

12 ... Traditional Ceremonies “We had a small ceremony... We asked the ancestors for protection and for nothing sinister to happen again... After we did the sacrificial activities, the whole village came together again and we made a collective sacrifice [a red bull]. We did this together to create unity / oneness.” (Kondeya, Women FG) “When we came back we had to do some sacrifice at our ancestral place... So all of us did it in order to ask the ancestors to really accept us as we have returned home from war. And now that we are together let's continue to experience peace and unity in the town, that nobody should be named in relation with this war - you did it, you did it, you did it... Let's all forget about that.” (Mofindor, Woman FG)

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