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Nordiska Afrikainstitutet | Uppsala

What does it mean to be human in the aftermath of mass trauma and violence? When victims and perpetrators of gross human rights violations live in the same country, and sometimes as neighbours, what strategies can help individuals and communities deal with trauma in a way that restores dignity to victims and enables perpetrators to be accountable for their crimes? This essay explores these questions. Examples that illustrate attempts to create sites for listening, for moral reflection and for initiating the difficult process of dialogue at community and individual levels after mass trauma and violence are discussed. It is argued that in the aftermath of historical trauma, restoring human bonds requires a new vocabulary of re-humanization. This new mode of being human calls for a “reparative humanism” that opens towards a horizon of an ethics of care for the sake of a transformed society.


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