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Shaking the hand with blood on it

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After the end of apartheid in South Africa, they didn't have a big trial to punish those guilty of crimes in that era. They had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Victims could tell their story there. Perpetrators, too could come forward and even request amnesty in return. This amnesty was granted when the crimes in question were politically motivated and that person had told the entire truth. (More information here.)

Now the chairman of that commission, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is doing more or less the same in Northern Ireland. This time it's a tv show called Facing the Truth, aired by the BBC. Killers meet the families of people they killed, or even people they wounded. They tell their stories, from their point of view and there is a number of mediators to ask the difficult questions - why did they do it? do they regret what they did? etc. It's a lot less official than in South Africa and the political situation is also different. In S.A. apartheid was definitely over. In Northern Ireland, the IRA may have officially disarmed, but the Loyalists and Unionists haven't and don't trust the IRA to have either. And both sides still have a (criminal) stranglehold on the population. Is this a good idea? Will it give people a confirmation that, yes, the troubles are truly over? Or will it open old wounds?


(Disclaimer: I didn't see all of it, since they scheduled it right up against the Premier League :P )

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