9 January 2012
In class, we talked about forgiveness. Its so strange how such a vague concept can be so powerful. I found a quote earlier this week after our first talking circle by an unknown author, "The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest." While I believe the first two are true on a personal and social level, I don't necessary think that forgetting makes one happy. I think that taking this quote and applying it to South Africa and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, especially the portion about forgiving and apologizing, rings true. While I love living in the US, I think that a lot has been lost by our "amnesia" of the past; things, such as health care, that South Africa is succeeding at that are considered basic needs are lacking in populations within US. I think that South Africa's ability to say "Look, we as a nation fucked up, but we can only move forward from here," has really helped the nation heal and the formation of the TRC played a huge role in that.
The ideals behind the
TRC, as I see it, are hugely rooted in Ubuntu. I am me because of you. South
Africa wouldn't be able to continue to be a nation post-apartheid if its people
hadn't embraced the Ubuntu belief. The
idea that one person influences, or is influenced, by everyone else is
phenomenal. The fact that this concept
can be held throughout the apartheid system is even more amazing. So, as I said, I think the TRC as a concept
is rooted in Ubuntu, but when put into practice, it was taken advantage
When people like the brigadier, whose name was not important, applied for amnesty for 40+ cases put before the TRC, I think something like TRC can't even help. He even admitted he wasn't sorry. He was doing his job. His job got put before his morals and his values and can't apologize for that. It doesn't make sense to me why he would be able to even apply for amnesty...Okay, well I can see why he would be able to apply for it, but realistically, I'm wondering, did he really think that he would be granted amnesty on all of the cases? I was appalled...but then I found the above quote later that day that got me thinking about the brigadier, and others from the video. Where would South African people be with the concept of Ubuntu if these people (mainly men) were not granted the same rights that others were? Lost.