- Showing 6 posts filed under: Country:South Africa [–], National Reconciliation [–] [Show all]
Stefaans Coetzee is the face of restorative justice
from the article by Bobby Jordan in The Sunday Times:
....Today is no ordinary day for the 33-year-old who grew up in an orphanage in Winburg in the Free State. Head slightly bowed, he looks up at two imams who have finally been allowed to visit him at Pretoria Central Prison. Their two previous attempts failed. The imams are from Rustenburg, where some of their congregation were nearly blown up by two Wit Wolwe bombs outside their mosque.
Now they want to ask Coetzee what it was all about.
A humanist defence and critique of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
....In order to build more authentic truth and reconciliation commissions in the future, it is also important to acknowledge the largely inauthentic, instrumentalist political foundations of the TRC project.
Coetzee does not talk about his childhood. He speaks about the planning that went into the bombing, how he was chosen for his excellent military skills, the years he has spent in prison. He asks for their questions, and the group responds. How did he learn to hate black people? How did he unlearn this hatred? How does he spend his days now? Is he sorry? And if he is so sorry, what can he give them? Coetzee admits he has nothing material to give the world except the leather belt that holds up his overalls. But, he says, God willing, if he gets out of jail, he can begin to attempt to compensate for what he has done. "There are children now in South Africa," he says, "children without parents. They might be tempted to get into violent gangs, to follow anger instead of love." He says, "I can show them that the first life you have to change is your own."
Amy Biehl, South Africa and restorative justice
from the UAF news release:
Linda Biehl, co-founder and director of the Amy Biehl Foundation, will give a free lecture at University of Alaska Fairbanks, Wednesday, Sept. 16.
“Restorative Justice” is the topic of the speech. Biehl will talk about her daughter Amy Biehl, who was a Fulbright Scholar studying the role of women and gender rights during South Africa’s transition from its apartheid regime to a free multiracial democracy. Amy was killed in an act of political violence in South Africa in 1993....
Forgiveness and the state
There are so many shootings in major urban areas these days that most have ceased to garner any public attention. An exception occurred last year when an 11 year-old boy taking a piano lesson on a school-day afternoon was shot and paralyzed by a stray bullet from a gas station hold-up attempt across the street—an accident so arbitrary and a victim so clearly innocent that it captured the hearts and attention of the entire Bay Area community. The trial for that crime has just ended here in Oakland, the gunman sentenced to 70 years to life in prison, with the young victim, Christopher Rodriguez, telling him “I forgive you.”
At the Independent Institute’s Gala for Liberty last fall, attendees were entranced listening to Archbishop Desmond Tutu describe South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s trials for the horrific violence conducted under apartheid. At the trials, perpetrators were given the opportunity to stand before their victims (or their survivors) to confess their crimes and ask for forgiveness. As the Archbishop explained, though criticized by some for letting criminals off without “punishment,” the commission in fact delivered “restorative justice:”
South Africa's whites and restorative justice
We hear a lot in the news about racial conflict, and a lot less about racial reconciliation. But from South Africa to South Central Los Angeles, there are communities engaging in what experts call “restorative justice" to resolve the wrongs of the past and present.