A Dance of Shadows and Fires: Conceptual and practical challenges of inter-generational healing after mass atrocity

Brandon Hamber, Ingrid Palmary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract


The legacy of mass atrocity – including colonialism, slavery or specific manifestations such as apartheid – continue long after their demise. Applying a temporal inter-generational lens adds complications. We argue that mass atrocity creates for subsequent generations a deep psychological rupture akin to witnessing past atrocities. This creates a moral liability in the present. Healing is a process dependent on the authenticity (evident in discourse and action) with which we address contemporary problems. A further overriding task is to open social and political space for divergent voices. Acknowledgement of mass atrocity requires more than one-off events or institutional responses (the grand apology, the truth commission). Rather acknowledgement has to become a lived social, cultural and political reality. Without this acknowledgement, healing, either collectively or individually, is stymied. Healing after mass atrocity is as much about political action (addressing inequalities and racism) as an act of re-imaging created through constant and contested re-writing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGenocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Jun 2021

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