FOR RECONCILIATION -
towards justice and reconciliation
of the Report:
CIVILISATIONS – REPLACING DISTRUST WITH APPRECIATION
POLITICIANS’ ROUND TABLE
FROM VICTIM TO HEALER –
THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED MOST MAY HAVE MOST TO GIVE
COMING TO GRIPS WITH CORRUPTION
Fujita, Member of Parliament, Japan
Soon after the United Nations launched its Agendas for Peace
and Development, Caux launched the Agenda for Reconciliation.
We did so because peace and development depend on reconciliation.
In each stage of the peace process, there must be efforts towards
reconciliation. The warring parties need to see that people
of differing races and religions can learn to work together
for the common good. That is the aim of Caux.
Brunner, former Secretary of State, Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland
There is a great difference between stopping a conflict and
reconciling the warring parties. The first is far easier than
the second. I know of no political agenda that is dealing with
reconciliation. If we can add that dimension to the initiatives
aimed at restoring peace, this will be a big step towards creating
fraternity and interdependence between people in conflict.
This is the aim of the Agenda for Reconciliation, which brought
480 people from 60 countries to the Moral Re-Armament international
conference centre at Caux, Switzerland, in August 1999. This
report contains extracts from the proceedings.
– REPLACING DISTRUST WITH APPRECIATION
Will the future
will be characterised by the clash of civilisations? Or by
the growth of a constructive dialogue between them? The Agenda
for Reconciliation witnessed a wide range of cross-cultural
Douglas Graham, Minister for Treaty Negotiations, New Zealand
The Maori people came to New Zealand a thousand years ago.
Two hundred years ago, British settlers started to arrive.
The two peoples signed the Treaty of Waitangi, guaranteeing
the rights of the Maori under British sovereignty.
However, as the number of settlers increased, their demand
for land increased. Maoris grouped together to try and prevent
sales. That was deemed to be a rebellion. Troops were imported,
wars began, and Maori land was confiscated. Then we established
the native land court to break down communal ownership into
individual titles and make land sales easier.
By 1900 the
Maori people owned only 5% of the land of New Zealand and were
dying out, disheartened. They had no way of seeking redress
for their grievances.
In 1975, as a result of Maori protests, we established the
Waitangi Tribunal to hear the grievances. By 1990 there were
700 claims. At that point we decided that we would attempt
to address all the claims. We were not motivated by guilt,
because we were not alive when the wrong was done. But we have
an obligation to correct the wrong.
It fell to me as Minister to begin. I started with a blank
piece of paper. How do you value losses suffered a hundred
Well, we've tried. In the last 10 years we have settled claims
which cover a little over half of New Zealand. Maori people
now own more than half the commercial fishing in New Zealand.
It has cost the tax-payer about $700 million so far. The tribal
groups have invested these funds, and are able to provide their
own education scholarships, their own health care in their
will not be durable unless the negotiations are fair. So they
are unusual negotiations. They are not commercial. They are
spiritual. We begin each time with the Karakia, a prayer. We
sit around the table, not across. There are a lot of tears.
The burden is great on the Maori leaders. But they recognise
that to pass on the grievance to the next generation would
be unhealthy for Maori and for New Zealand.
have three parts. The first part is a formal apology from the
Crown, which details what happened; and an apology from the
Government on behalf of New Zealanders, which we will deliver
in person at the Marae. The second part is cultural redress
- the return of burial sites, the recognition of interests
in rivers and lakes and geothermal power and mountains. We
recognise the holistic way that Maori people view those resources
and the life force that they see in all of them. Thirdly there
is commercial redress, which we hope is enough to get people
started again financially.
It has been
ten years of hard work. There are moments when you get frustrated
and wonder whether it is going to work, and whether you can
take the population with you. You have the red necks on one
side and the radicals on the other, and you aim for the 80%
in between, and say to them, "The vision is there. Your sons, mine, our grandchildren, will live together in
greater harmony". You know that you are trying to bring justice for the betterment of New Zealand
and hopefully for all mankind.
have seen a renaissance of Maori culture. Maori elder and educator
Kuini Reddy explained how this has come about.
We were fed up that the prisons and welfare institutions were
full of Maori people. We realised that we had to return to
the values of our ancestors. Maori elders from all over New
Zealand came together at a national hui, and decided to focus
on the language. Language is the life force of a people. But
ours was dying fast after three generations of suppression.
We started at the grassroots, winning the support of our politicians
to the Kohango Reo movement, which establishes Maori kindergartens
for our children, so that they receive our culture and language
from an early age. Through the revival of the language we are
able to revive our soul, and this is restoring our culture.
Verwoerd, lecturer in philosophy, South Africa and grandson of former Prime Minister
Henrik Verwoerd, widely regarded as the architect of apartheid.
I grew up living
the seductive life of a white Afrikaner in the beautiful university
town of Stellenbosch. When I went to Europe as a student, I
was suddenly exposed to painful truth about South Africa. I
had been very proud of my Afrikaner identity; but when a Zambian
asked me, ‘Why do you Afrikaners try so hard to separate yourselves
from us Africans?’ I saw how much that identity was based on
fear. I began to see my grandfather through the eyes and tears
of South Africans in exile, and realised the huge difference
between their view and the picture with which I grew up.
Later I realised
that though I was committed to an equal partnership with my
wife, I had to overcome deeply engrained attitudes to sharing
the labour of the home, so that we could both be involved in
the public life of our country.
When we went
back to South Africa, I was like a tree without roots. I had
to find a place where I could be anchored again. One day I
went down to the beach. Huge waves were coming in. I wanted
to run away; but I sat for hours, facing those waves. I realised
that I needn’t be ashamed that I am a white Afrikaner Christian,
as long as I did something creative with these sources of myself.
That led me eventually to join the ANC. My father told me that
if I did this, I could not be a member of the family any more.
But because I found clarity of conviction, it was possible
to make that choice. Reconciliation is a costly business. But
it has brought Melanie and I to a point where we can feel alive,
excited and privileged to be part of shaping a new South Africa.
Verwoerd, ANC Member of Parliament, South Africa
Reconciliation does not come cheaply. It is the tortuous road
of a life-long commitment to the country and its people. It
requires, from each of us, a personal introspection. We need
to keep quiet and listen to our fellow South Africans, and
recognise the tears of those that have been so deeply hurt.
In this process, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has
played an important role. So many have come there to tell their
story – not out of revenge, but to seek reconciliation.
who inflicted the pain intended to do so is irrelevant. The
point is that someone was hurt. If that person shares the hurt
with you, and you turn your back, this causes further injury.
That is why it is crucial for those who were responsible to
apologise unconditionally. As Archbishop Tutu said, ‘Confession,
forgiveness and reconciliation are not airy-fairy religious
things. They are the stuff of practical politics.’
from the previously advantaged communities say: ‘Let bygones
be bygones.’ But the reality is that while the vast majority
of Africans still live with the consequences of apartheid,
whites enjoy the fruits of decades of racially-determined State
expenditure. The past is present in access to jobs and earnings,
in health care and education, in sport and recreation; and
these legacies of apartheid will endure stubbornly unless we
actively remove them.
It is therefore
important that the Government succeeds in the reconstruction
and development programme (RDP) of our nation. And social transformation
can not be separated from spiritual transformation. Both Nelson
Mandela and Thabo Mbeki have increasingly spoken about the
RDP of the soul. They recognise that we must ensure that our
history of dehumanisation and immorality does not spawn new
generations of people who find nothing wrong with corruption,
crime, the mindless pursuit of purely personal goals and profit,
and the manipulation of people towards these goals. It is is
a battle that we can and must win.
group of current and former parliamentarians and senior government
officials met during the agenda to discuss conflict situations
in several parts of the world. At the end of their sessions,
they issued the following appeal:
We are concerned
that events stemming from the Ethiopian/Eritrean war are not
given sufficient priority by the international community. We
sense the urgency needed in view of potential escalation and
the extent of human suffering. We undertake to appeal to our
respective governments to take immediate action.
and other areas of conflict
We felt that
with relation to events in Kosovo and Bosnia the example of
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa could
play a part in reconciling the deep divisions. Retributive
justice is not enough to heal the wounds and ensure a democratic
and pluralistic future. We recommend for Kosovo - and other
areas of conflict such as Rwanda - that the facilities of Caux
be made available to leaders and citizens to begin the processes
of reconciliation. We offer to support such dialogue processes.
There is a strong
consensus in support of debt relief for highly indebted poor
countries and of conditionality requiring significant reductions
in arms purchases by these countries. On a quite separate issue,
there is also concern that large sales of gold by certain central
banks is causing serious harm to several gold producing countries.
Former Ambassador, Somalia
Edouard Brunner, Former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,
Nidia Diaz, Member of Parliament, El Salvador
Yukihisa Fujita, Member, House of Representatives, Japan
Senator Avel Gordly, Oregon Senate, USA
Sir Douglas Graham, Attorney General, New Zealand
Dr Simi Johnson, Former Cabinet Minister, Nigeria
Hiroshi Kawauchi, Member, House of Representatives, Japan
Kim Tae-Zhee, Former Ambassador, Korea
Anatoly Krassikov, Adviser to Mikhail Men, MP, Russia
Joseph Lagu, Former Vice-President, Sudan
Dr Lao Mong Hay, Director, Khmer Institute for Democracy, Cambodia
Sir Jim Lester, Member of Parliament 1974-1997, United Kingdom
Lin Cho-Shui, Member of Parliament, Democratic Progressive
Archie Mackenzie, Former Ambassador, United Kingdom
François Loeb, Member of Parliament, Switzerland
Georges Mesmin, Member of National Assembly 19..-19.., France
Eduardo Molina, Former Member of Parliament, El Salvador
The Duke of Montrose, House of Lords, United Kingdom
Joe Montville, Director of Preventive Diplomacy, Center for
Strategic and International Studies, Washington, USA
Hideo Nakajima, Former Director, representing Kazuo Tanikawa
Osman Jama Ali, Former Cabinet Minister, Somalia
Johannes Østtveit, Former Member of Parliament, Norway
Senator Pierre Paupe, Member, Council of State, Switzerland
Anitra Rasmussen, Member, Oregon House of Representatives,
Melanie Verwoerd, ANC Member of National Parliament, South
Helmut Wegner, Former Ambassador, Germany
Mammo Wudneh, President, Ethiopian Writers’ Association, Ethiopia
Adrien Zeller, Former Cabinet Minister, Chairman Regional Council
of Alsace, France
Zhou Shiqin, Council Member, Chinese Association for Friendship
and International Understanding, Beijing
Monsignor Dr. Mato Zovkic, Vicar-General, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzagovina
in the Round Table spoke publicly at the end of their deliberations.
Diaz, Member of Parliament, El Salvador. As a guerrilla commander she was a signatory
of the Peace Agreement that ended the civil war.
We had civil
war for 36 years. The indigenous people, who form 60% of the
population, have suffered especially. We have not learnt to
respect their right to be different. I am a teacher, and I
believe we will only solve this through changing the way we
educate our students. I have worked alongside indigenous teachers.
They were great colleagues, equal to me yet with differences
which enrich our society. My commitment is to work for a new
humility among my people. We need the indigenous people's forgiveness,
and we need to forgive them. Only when that happens will we
unite our country.
Emir of Kano
staggering sums have disappeared from Government treasuries,
and our society is full of glaring inequalities. There is an
endemic sense of helplessness.
The return of
democracy to Nigeria is a cause for hope. It is invigorating
our powerful press to challenge corruption. The new Government
has immediately placed a strong anti-corruption bill before
the Federal Parliament. This will strengthen the resolve of
the general public.
a mainly Muslim North, and a mainly Christian South. In the
recent elections, the Northern electorates asked all political
parties to include Christian candidates. Even the Muslim-dominated
All People’s Party included a Christian candidate from a southern-based
political party. By this arrangement, no-one felt disenfranchised,
wherever he lived in the country. This action generated a lot
and chauvinism remain dangers to Nigeria, as to the world.
We need a universal moral rallying point. That, to me, is MRA.
There is great strength in the synthesis of man’s struggle
to establish a moral order through the divine inspiration of
Judaism, Christianity and Islam and through secular ethics.
Man’s moral nature will raise him to the lofty heights of humanity
if he accepts responsibility; and to debasement if he succumbs
to his lower desires.
Tae-Zhee, former Ambassador to Japan, Korea
This year at
Caux, people from two parts of China were able to have dialogue.
We hope the day will come when South Koreans will meet North
Koreans here, and seek peace.
In 1849, the
Oregon Territorial Assembly passed legislation excluding African
Americans from the State. This year, 150 years later, the Oregon
Legislature held a Day of Acknowledgement, when the House and
Senate acknowledged this history, recognised people of all
races who have worked over the years for positive change, and
called for ongoing dialogue and action. ‘On that day, the galleries
were packed with 600 people of all ages, dress, colours; and
the Speaker invited them to join us on the floor of the House,’
said House of Representatives Member Nitra Rasmussen, an initiator
of the Day. Another initiator, Senator Avel Gordly described
her feelings. ‘I still find it fearful to stand and speak in
the face of lifelong messages that say, you are not worthy,
we don’t expect much from you - because you are not white,’ she said. ‘Though there are many people
struggling to embrace inclusivity, white supremacy is still
the foundation of our American institutions. That is why the
Day of Acknowledgement was a powerful statement to our nation.’
VICTIM TO HEALER – THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED MOST MAY HAVE MOST
Two years ago
my wife had a difficult pregnancy. With our free health system
crumbling, we decided to pay an experienced doctor to perform
the delivery. When the moment came, the doctor was too drunk.
We could only rush to the hospital and leave matters to the
doctor on duty.
A few weeks
later the neuropathologist told us that our daughter had suffered
spinal or brain trauma at birth, would not walk until she was
four, and would have a serious limp. For us, that started a
time of intense pain and fear. We were angry at the doctors,
the corruption, our helplessness. We sought compensation, but
soon realised that the lawyers only wanted our money.
I tried to be
a neutral non-victim, but simply became a passive, quietly
angry victim. Here at Caux, people talked about forgiveness.
It sounded wonderful. The problem was that I had to be the
agent of reconciliation. That was hard. I couldn't do it by
My wife and
I saw that this wasn’t just a personal matter. We had to help
break the post-Soviet approach to ethics in our country. So
we have decided to take five steps. We fervently ask God to
remove all bitterness. In my work as a teacher, I am trying
to be the best I can be, refusing all bribes. We are doing
everything possible to treat our child. My wife is a music
graduate; but she has decided to train in nursing instead.
And we are supporting the pregnant women we know, helping them
get the fruit, vitamins, and other things they need.
In the past
days, a great change has happened in my daughter. At the age
of 17 months, she has begun to walk.
On this side
of the Holocaust, the bottom line lesson for most survivors
is, 'Never again'. Does that mean just us, or does it mean
to be in solidarity with every people anywhere in the face
of genocide? Having met Rwandans here, I feel a very strong
affinity to them, and I am very grateful for our new relationship.
Since 1948 we
Jews in Israel have been tested by political and military empowerment,
something we could only dream about for two millenia. The challenge
for us is, 'Will our State remain faithful to the primary values
of our heritage - justice and compassion?' We have an obsession
with security. What are we to choose? The Golden Rule? Or the
pre-emptive strike mentality - 'Do unto others before they
get a chance to do it worse unto you' - which keeps us trapped
in a cycle of violence and retaliation?
I feel that
I must apologise to the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the Egyptians,
the Syrians, the Jordanians. They are victims of our fear.
Our security requires more goodwill and forgiveness, rather
than state-of-the-art weapons or policies that humiliate others.
Hopefully, with God's help, we can listen compassionately to
each other, and work together to heal the wounds of our shared
For a decade
we Albanians have endured violence, discrimination, war and
many cruelties. I appeal to all my people - do not take revenge.
We have a saying: "Braver is he who forgives and reconciles than he who kills." There are Albanians who have reached out in reconciliation to the Serbian people.
There are Serbians who have helped Albanians. I believe that
we can all work for reconciliation between our peoples. For
ten years the University of Kosovo was closed to Albanian students.
Now they have returned, and Serbian students have been moved
out. I appeal to the Albanian students to invite their Serbian
colleagues back so that they can continue their studies together.
Let us together build our society in the Balkans.
Mukahabe Shiwara, Rwanda
unionist and human rights activist
After the genocide
of 1994, I was traumatised by hate. But God removed it from
me. We brought together women of every background to help the
prisoners awaiting trial. We collect food, cook it and take
it to them. The group has grown until now 75 women are taking
part. At first, the prisoners were amazed that widows of genocide
were bringing them food. They were scared of being poisoned.
But with time, they understood that our motivation was compassion.
When they realised that, they started to cry, and to ask forgiveness.
Now I must ask
forgiveness. We Rwandans have hated the international community,
accusing you of leaving us unassisted when our children were
being massacred. Please forgive us.
I am a member
of the stolen generations of the Australian Aboriginals – children
of mixed Aboriginal and European descent who were removed from
their families to be assimilated into white Australian society.
Acknowledging that we have been victimised is well and good.
But I realised that while I viewed myself as a victim, I could
not rise above my experiences. They kept me weak, they helped
me to stay angry, full of shame, blaming others, mistrusting
and resentful. It has been a long and difficult road to recognise
myself not as a victim but as a survivor. But I believe that
we will not accomplish reconciliation in Australia until the
Aboriginal people make peace in our own hearts and with each
other. This year I have been a national committee member for
the Journey of Healing, which has enlisted tens of thousands of Australians of all races in initiatives
aimed at healing the wounds created by the assimilation policies.
Hagi Hassan, Somalia
In Somalia we
have no government, no police, no courts. I live in the capital,
Mogadishu, where two factions fought each other fiercely. I
belonged to one faction; and lived for revenge against those
who killed my people and looted my property. Five years ago
I realised that my hatred was victimising myself. Others had
suffered more than me. I began to forgive. I decided to go
to the women of the other faction, and invite them to set up
a market together. The UN helped with a grant which build 50
small kiosks, and we offered 25 of them to each faction. Our
aim was not to make money but to bring together those who had
been killing each other. Now the market has grown to 150 kiosks,
and the kiosk owners have established a kindergarten for all
their children together.
At the end of
a workshop on Russia, a Czech stood up and challenged the workshop
leaders. His father had been killed, he told them, when the
Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. ‘I want to forgive
the Russian people,’ he said. ‘But I have never heard anyone
apologise.’ Andrei Mironov, (any words to describe him?), responded
with a sincere apology, adding that he had served a jail sentence,
in part for speaking out against the invasion. The two men
shook hands and talked together (pictured above, Mironov on
left). The next evening, when the Czechs sang folks songs they
ended with the classic Russian song Kalinka, ‘in honour of
our Russian friends’.
to grips with corruption
Lester, former Member of Parliament, UK, and member of Foreign Affairs Select Committee
There was a
time when we didn’t talk about corruption. Now it is out in
the open. It has forced the resignation of the whole European
Commission. The World Bank and IMF have come out fighting.
Recently I helped draft a handbook for parliamentarians worldwide
detailing methods of creating a clean parliamentary assembly.
This year there have been specific workshops in different regions.
The IMF have been much braver in not paying loans to countries
whose Governments have done little to deal with corruption.
In Kenya and Nigeria we have seen amazing change. The OECD
has drafted legislation making bribery an offence. In the annual
reports of companies, we are seeing much more attention paid
to their ‘corporate social responsibilities’ – which usually
means their programme to eliminate bribery.
see corruption as a reason not to transfer resources. We should
be wary of that argument. Stopping aid does not affect the
national leaders. It affects schools and hospitals. We need
to try to deal with corruption, but never use it as an excuse
to avoid helping countries in need.
Many Kenyans are unhappy about bad governance. But we lack
the moral authority and spiritual strength to work for good
ago, MRA launched a Clean Election Campaign (CEC). Hundreds
of thousands of leaflets, outlining the qualities of a good
leader, and showing how everyone can help curb corruption,
were distributed across the country by churches, mosques and
community organisations. A pledge form was attached, enabling
the recipient to pledge that they would not participate in
corruption or election violence. Nearly 50,000 signed pledges
were received by the CEC organising committee.
As a result,
corruption became a live issue in the election campaign. Many
people refused the bribes which politicians hand out. In some
areas people urged women and men of integrity to stand for
parliament, and raised money to pay their nomination fees.
The new parliament has seen a much more searching debate on
issues of corruption.
Since the election,
over 7,000 Kenyans have written to the CEC, urging that the
momentum be maintained. Thus was born the Clean Kenya Campaign.
The first leaflets of the campaign have just come out. Requests
are coming in from all over Kenya for campaign launches in
with CEC challenged me to look at myself. Before I could demand
honesty of my leaders, I saw I needed to be honest with my
pupils and my colleagues, and straighten out my relationship
with my parents and some friends.
Vannath, President of the Centre for Social Development, Cambodia.
Like many countries,
we face tragic issues of corruption, such as the traffic in
children and in drugs. For five years our Centre has been drafting
anti-corruption laws and arranging visits by Government officials
to countries where such laws are in place. However, the Government
has set aside our legislation. We have concluded that we cannot
fight corruption purely through legislation. We are now mobilising
the people. We need to give them a vision of a transformed
society. To this end, I have been printing and distributing
the MRA book, ‘Which Way Cambodia?’ We also need international
help, and we are about to become an affiliate of Transparency
International. We do not expect quick results. But the more
we do, the more we will keep corruption under control.
AfR by John Bond