Thursday, November 23, 2006

Truth as Compassion

Mirsad Tokaca has contributed an article to the Pulse Democracy website, which is a wonderful site by the way.
I'm glad Mr. Tokaca realizes that the South African model would not work for Bosnia. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Desmond Tutu and for the reconciliation commision he helped organize in South Africa, but as Tokaca points out, there are too many differences, both in the conflict and culturally that would allow a South African version to translate successfully to Bosnia.

When we say truth, we must think about what truth means to us. Is it just an individual perception of objective reality, as some have defined it? Is it the complete and all-inclusive recognition of the past, ie is it an absolute category? Or is it truth uncovered to such an extent as to make forging events and their consequences impossible? The truth cannot abide compromise and artificial balance, it cannot tolerate equalisation, it cannot bear my version and your version or perception or interpretation of the facts. And the refusal to accept evident facts is a famous Balkan speciality.

I think Tokaca makes another good point here as well. How should the "truth" be defined? Is the purpose of the Truth Commission to allow everyone, victims, perpetrators, witnesses and bystanders to speak their version of the truth; or is the purpose to come to a concensus about what the truth is?

ETA: It would be helpful if I included a link to the article: Article


Yzerfontein said...

I don't think Desmond Tutu's truth commission brought absolute truth, but it brought us closer to it and was therapeutic in allowing people to talk about what had happened, rather than bottling it all up inside.

Shaina said...

Good point. I do think one of the benefits of the truth comission is that it, at the very least, allows people to speak about the pain they've experienced. How exactly it should be organized to fit the specific situation that occured in Bosnia, as well in a much harder question to answer.

igor said...

I didn't have time to read this article about Nationalism, violence and reconciliation (in Bosnia, South Africa and other places) but it might interest you.