Articles
Article by: Babalo Ndenze and Malavika Jagannathan Cape Times: Monday 19 April 2004 VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE, WAR AND TERROR MEET TO HEAL THEIR WOUNDS A vietnam bomb victim describing her relationship with a war veteran; a man who lot his older brother in the September 11 World Trade Centre attack; a priest who lost both hands in an apartheid-era letter bomb and a Senegalese women who was genitally mutilated. These four people were among 200 victims and relatives of victims maimed or killed during wars, political repression and terror attacks around the globe in the past 40 years, who gathered on Robben Island to share their experiences and help each other understand their ordeals. The four-day Journey Towards Healing and Wholeness Conference ended on Saturday. It was organised by the Institute for Healing of Memories in partnership with the Desmond Tutu Leadership Academy to enable participants from different parts of …
Searching for Peace and Healing in Burundi Fr Michael Lapsley,SSM “All people are capable of being both perpetrators and victims – and sometimes both.” What do you say in a country which is drenched in layers of blood where neighbour has killed neighbour purely because of their ethnic identity. We came from the Institute for Healing of Memories not with the answers to Burundi’s problems – but to acknowledge the pain of the people, the depth of their trauma, to listen and to learn from them and to share with them what we had learnt in South Africa as we combatted a crime against humanity. The night before travelling to Burundi I took a look at what the international reknowned tourist guide: Lonely Planet had to say about Burundi. The one page description is quite chilling although already dated with recent new victories in the process of negotiations. (see below)…
Their cry goes up How long? before the night of weeping shall be the morn of song? ?We are witnessing the death of Zimbabwe. We Zimbabweans are socialised to internalise pain. South Africans would not put up with what we are enduring? Together with my colleague, Mongezi Mngese, I visited Zimbabwe for 12 days in mid February. From the moment of our arrival we were confronted by the crisis facing the country. Everybody speaks incessantly about ?the situation?. Visually the first impact is the sight of endless queues of cars waiting for petrol often with no signs of their drivers. Much more disturbing were the long queues of people hoping to buy basic foodstuffs like bread, mealie meal, cooking oil and sugar. Recently the government has fixed the prices of certain basic commodities at the point of sale. Because the prices are not fixed throughout the process of production it…
The Burden of History in Germany Fr Michael Lapsley, SSM From October 29 to November 12, 2002 I was in Hanover and then in Hamburg in Germany. The first engagement was to speak at a Symposium on Violence and Reconciliation. I had been invited by Dr. Christina Kayales of VELKD. Most of the speakers were German academic theologians. I could not help coming to the conclusion that German academic theology attempts to answer questions that nobody is asking. After the first weekend we spent a week in Hamburg hosted by P. Michael Dülge of the Haus am Schüberg. This included addressing meetings with pastors, meeting those involved with the anti-apartheid movement. I also spoke at a small public meeting at a memorial site that used to be a Jewish school, organised by Jens Michelsen. Finally we held a small but successful Healing of memories workshop – the first on German…
Struggling to Abolish the Death Penalty, Healing and Signs of new Life in Uganda. “Please ask Nelson Mandela to speak to President Museveni of Uganda to abolish the Death Penalty” Fr. Michael Lapsley, SSM Kampala Uganda 14.12.2002 Over a year ago, a friend of mine in Cape Town, Fatima Swartz, was doing a course in conflict resolution in the United Kingdom. Fatima spoke to one of her fellow participants, a certain Joseph Sirrah from Uganda about the work of the Institute for Healing of Memories. Joseph wrote to me and told me about the National Reconciliation Aid Foundation. NAREAF’s has a multi-sectoral approach to tackling the issues of ex-combatants and other conflict affected groups. They emphasize the need for such people to be given the opportunity to share their stories, views, feelings, truth and their suggestions towards achieving genuine dialogue and hence reconciliation. NAREAF also co-operated with Friends of Hope…
So much pain – so much hope. Together for 3 days we told and embodied the stories of the depth of human degradation and the heights of beauty, which characterise the human family. We included Palestinian and Israeli; black and white South Africans; a Rwandese political exile, native, African and white US citizens, a Bosnian married to a Guatemalan; a former child soldier from Cambodia; a second generation survivor of the holocaust and a former member of the Hitler youth, an Eritrean Ethiopian; a cardiologist turned writer from Sarajevo, peace activists from both communities in Northern Ireland. After the first two or three people had introduced themselves, said what compassion and social healing meant to them, and laid on the table a personal symbol of compassion, I felt it was enough to digest – but there were still three days to go. Whilst we met and sought to encourage the…
Reflections on a visit to Germany from June 20 to June 30, 2002Fr. Michael Lapsley, SSMI was invited to speak at the annual mission festival of the Northelbian Evangelical Lutheran Church on June 22, 2002. On the theme of healing of memories as a contribution to overcoming violence. Barry Bekebeke accompanied me. The festival took place in the small village of Breklum about an hour's drive out of Hamburg. I was the keynote speaker at the festival. Before I spoke I became aware that a number of people at the festival, particularly a group of women, had played a significant role in the boycott movement during the apartheid years. Also present was Bishop Barbel Wartenberg-Potter accompanied by her husband Dr Philip Potter, former general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Dr Potter had visited me in an Australian hospital when I was recovering from a letter bomb attack in 1990.…
Fr Michael Lapsley,S.S.M., The Institute for Healing of Memories Karin Chubb, Black SashMoral arguments for reparations in South AfricaThe Truth and Reconciliation Commission came into being as part of a negotiated settlement to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy in South Africa. It was a moral response to the evil of apartheid. The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of May 1995 gave a mandate to the TRC to, inter alia., make recommendations for reparations to victims of human rights violations.To put the full mandate into effect, three committees were established: 1. The Human Rights Violations Committee which held hearings throughout the country and before which more than 20 000 people gave evidence in their individual capacity. 2. The Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee which formulated the recommendations required under the Act but which could only make recommendations to Parliament. 3. The Amnesty Committee which investigated and heard applications for…

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