It is only Africans who promote phony ideals of “unity” and “reconciliation” without demanding true justice for the victims of injustice, and above all else, REPARATIONS from the perpetrators of injustice on African victims.
While unity and reconciliation are undoubtedly essential elements for social harmony, peace and all that, and above all, part of conflict resolution mechanisms in conflict-torn sociopolitical environments; they should not come at the expense of– and certainly aren’t substitute for–justice.
It has become apparent, almost as expected course of sociopolitical action, by [from] most post-conflict African countries (societies) and the administrations (governments) that come after conflicts (have been) settled, to quickly embark on the policy of, and thus strictly demand for, “unity” and “reconciliation“.
Unity and reconciliation should not replace demands for justice for the victims of social and political injustice committed by those who, for the most part, are in position to ensure injustice does not happen; that no one is victimised by injustice by the abusive powerful: the perpetual and chronic power abusers who often control the means of violence and are often in government and other positions of power.
When unity and reconciliation becomes an official policy, over and above demands for justice – some might emphasise, “true” justice – whatever that means; then justice too, is victimised by that policy as are the victims of injustice. It’s a double whammy on both justice and victims of injustice. The perpetrators are rewarded, maybe inadvertently, but the reward is given nonetheless. This is predominantly the political thinking and phenomenon in post-conflict countries in Africa, particularly where emphasis on “unity and reconciliation” informs and guides government policy.
There’s a fundamental flaw in this policy and mindset.
Firstly, unity and reconciliation cannot be legislated and enforced by laws, whether written, explicit or implied – through social pressure and manipulation. That approach may work for sometime but it has its own limitations. If unity and reconciliation is enforced, then by logic, legislated enforcement or socially manipulated and exerted unity and reconciliation contradicts the very fundamental essence of unity and reconciliation. It’s not and is no longer voluntary while in essence, true unity and/or reconciliation, should be voluntary.
Secondly, when unity and reconciliation is demanded over and above justice for the victims, punishment for the injustice perpetrators and reparations for the victims; injustice is not only ignored and normalised but it is also rewarded.
This partly or possibly and majorly, explains why injustice prevails despite socially engineered and therefore [en]forced unity and reconciliation in such societies. True social unity and reconciliation is voluntary, not forced. If it is voluntary, it is predicated on forgiveness; and true forgiveness, i.e, voluntary forgiveness, cannot be feigned because it comes from within the soul, on the logic and deep conviction of the conscience.
It is impossible to have true, i.e, voluntary unity and reconciliation without true, i.e, voluntary forgiveness; and voluntary forgiveness is not and should not be confused for blind forgiveness. True forgiveness, while it’s voluntary, it demands and expects genuine commitment to justice, to correcting wrongs and reparations for the victims of injustice.
This is why, while we are willing to truly forgive those who wrong us, who wantonly mete injustice on us, and we do forgive for our own sake, to have peace of mind and move on; we don’t and aren’t willing to forget. Because to forget those who are unjust to us and behave or act unjustly towards us; is to erase the memory of injustice and that greatly rewards injustice and the perpetrators and their injustice. This goes for and applies to all kinds of injustice, socioeconomic as well as political injustice.
What is quite apparent is that the phony [ideals of] unity and reconciliation, particularly in post-conflict African countries (societies) is big money business. Not based on and/or influenced by social-moral values or guided by the conscience, to correct wrongs and see to it that injustice is not rewarded but reparations for injustice are duly provided.
In such countries (societies), especially where unity and reconciliation is heavily funded and dependent on foreign sources (funds), and is not strictly [en]forced by law and through other coercive social and political means, it has either completely failed or is in shambles when foreign funds and commitment to it are scaled down. The hypocrisy of it only exposed by the social tensions and continued socioeconomic and political injustice and inequality.