As genocide continues, does reconciliation wait for peace?

Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.
– Desmond Tutu

Genocide in Darfur, a decade on, continues.

A recent New York Times article, New Strife in Darfur Leaves Many Seeking Refuge, tells us that by no means are things getting better with “fighting since the beginning of the year… displacing nearly 300,000 people, more than in the last two years combined….”

In a recent interview, former UN senior official, Mukesh Kapila, talks about its beginning in 2003. Here is part of his answer when asked about the moment he knew he had to go outside of UN channels:

I filed my reports to HQ in New York, I shared my information with the diplomatic community in Khartoum, I made representations to the Sudanese authorities. Nobody was interested in taking much notice. It was in the ‘unwelcome news’ category, and the excuse was we don’t want to antagonize Khartoum. We just need to get a good north-south peace agreement, the land will flow with milk and honey and the problems will end. But I knew John Garang, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (the rebel group in neighbouring South Sudan), was going to delay signing until Darfur was sorted out. He told me to travel the world and tell people that.

Then a representative in the office of the Sudanese president told me they were working on “the final solution in Darfur.” This was the government admitting they were embarking on a genocidal policy in Darfur. So I said OK, I need to discuss this with policy-makers. I got briefings in London and New York, where I saw satellite images confirming everything we suspected. I said, “You know more than I do — why are you not doing anything?” They said, “It’s not a good time. Get humanitarian aid in — concentrate on that.” I said, “Are you kidding? They are talking about final solutions, we need a political process here.”

It’s really an incredible piece, well worth reading in its entirety, Darfur after 10 years: ‘My job is not done’, says Mukesh Kapila.

As a genocide continues into the long-term, does the reconciliation effort have to wait for peace to begin? Or does it need to begin in order for peace to occur? Read more of this post

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“In Darfur, People Still Laugh”

Evil is real and rampant…but in the midst of evil…the human spirit often shines brightest…after the Holocaust, people forgave…in Darfur, people still laugh.

Those words were spoken this week by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Tutu emphasized that a person should be healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually – acknowledging that one finds well-being in “human rights, justice, and love”. “Much disease and heartbreak is preventable” when peace prevails.

Tutu also expressed gratitude for aid workers around the world “making whole that which was alienated and hurting”.

The body-mind-spirit interconnectedness is interesting to think about.

Consider those in Darfur who have experienced such great suffering. Along with heavy hearts, they must also deal with countless health concerns such as disease and malnutrition. Emotional pain combined with physical pain can make days almost unbearable. Yet the people of Darfur continue to hold their heads high and continue to hope.

They have not given up – let us do the same.

Desmond Tutu talks Darfur (and forgiveness) with Craig Ferguson

Nobel prize winner, Desmond Tutu had a long chat about Darfur, human rights and forgiveness on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. (March 4 2009)

Part 1

Watch parts 2 and 3