In recent years there has been increased discussion regarding the role of forgiveness in post-conflict reconciliation. Revenge, if mentioned within this discussion, has often been treated as a separate issue and as the antithesis of forgiveness and reconciliation. In this analysis, reconciliation is viewed as both a short and long term process. This article describes a basic interactive framework, derived from research, that identifies key issues and offers an alternative view of examining old problems and reorganizing priorities to more effectively address sensitive issues underlying the process of political cooperation in post-conflict environments.
Once dismissed as an irrelevant religious concept in a political world, the concept of forgiveness has begun to be increasingly associated with highly secular post conflict reconstruction. As the post Cold War world has splintered into violent wars and persistent low level conflict, its potential for healing civil society has begun to be explored in media, popular, and academic analysis. Despite this increased profile, forgiveness may be one of the least understood and yet potentially necessary acts required for a society to fully break a cycle of violence. The mere fact that it is being considered or discussed implies that extreme suffering has occurred. Given that the most horrendous acts of spiritual, emotional, and physical violence have taken place between the same persons attempting to rebuild a society after conflict, it is logical to ask, how is forgiveness possible? Is it necessary for reconciliation? And most importantly, how do former enemies find a way to live together once again?
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