In the last day or so two news items have cropped up about countries I don't really know a lot about, making me wonder if these two go together or have to be gained separately. (As far as countries with a turbulent history go.) The bit about Ireland was just an ad for a radio or television programme and said something like "Will Ireland have to have reconciliation without truth? and I don't know how the argument was going to proceed. The second was an article about Rwanda, talking to author and journalist David Belton who spent time there in the 90s. He says that while things were dreadfully bad there twenty years ago there are still problems with human rights abuses and people disappearing. He described Rwanda in the 1990s as desolate, a wasteland with nothing connecting anyone - "Even somewhere completely alien you latch onto things that give it normalcy - a taxi goes past, a man stands outside his shop and yells at you to buy something, a good-looking woman walks past. There's a human dimension. In Rwanda there was none of that., There was a vacancy to the country...a complete lack of purpose, a drifting aimlessness to it."
He said that now the cost of growth comes at the expense of free discussion. There is a prohibition on all of Hutu and Tutsi, displaced by a single national identity: Rwanda. Locals can face imprisonment for using the banned language. Belton even described one Westener resorting to code: "Hondas" and "Toyotas".
That seemed to me an example of have reconciliation without being to face the truth yet, and I wondered if this was a natural phase for countries with civil war. But I don't know that that was the case in South Africa. (Though their crime rate is shocking and perhaps indicates reconciliation has not been complete.) In NZ, too, the latest attempts at reconciliation between Maori and Pakeha seem to have been kick-started in the 1970s by a National Party (Tory) politician putting forth the truth to his colleagues about land-grabs by the government off Maori in the late 19th century.
What do you think, and what have been the situations in other strife-torn countries, after the strife has died down a bit?