English PeaceNews June 17 Edition
We are glad that this month our Muslims brothers and sisters are celebrating Ramadhan and Eid Al-Fitri. In Indonesia it is very common that the greeting for Eid A-Fitri is to apology (Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin). This religious and social practice has become more urgent to act in times of the intense conflict nowadays. This is a practiced that not only done once a year and only by Muslims, but by all peoples throughout the year.
Apology, forgiveness and reconciliation as taught practiced in YIPC in every Peace Camp, is a very important elements in peacebuilding. According to Miroslav Volf, the process of reconciliation has five basic elements: remember, forgive, apologize, repair, and embrace.
Remember rightly is important, because “some ways of remembering keep resentments and hatreds alive and provide justification for further violence.” Memory of the past is very important to be recalled in order to be healed. Volf adds, without remembering rightly, the victim of wrongdoing often will be pushed to be perpetrators on others. Because of past victimization, they feel justified to commit the same to others.
If remember truthfully is the first element, according to Volf, forgiveness is the central element of reconciliation. The victims usually are urged for revenge. But revenge is self-defeating because the victims will be the perpetrators and will be caught in the cycle of violence that even worse. Volf believes that forgiveness is the only way out. Forgiveness, Volf defines, is “to give the wrong doers the gift of not counting the wrong doing.”
Forgiveness is an unconditional gift that should be given even before the perpetrators ask for it. However, somebody have to receive the gift to be effective. That is repentance and apology. Volf adds, for the perpetrators “to repent is to receive that gift already given; not to repent is to not receive it or to reject it. The way wrongdoers receive forgiveness is through apology and reparation”
Volf defines apology as “to say to the person we have wronged that we are sorry – sorry not that we have been caught, sorry not merely that the other person has been wronged, but sorry that we have committed wrongdoing – and sorry not so much for our guilt and shame as for the suffering we have wrongly caused.” Further, this sorry (confession of the mouth) has to be accompanied by repentance: a contrition of the heart and a commitment to act otherwise in the future.
A wrongdoing is not only a disrespect to someone, some damages may be occurred too. Those damages, if it is possible, ought to be repaired. Without repairing the damage, wrongdoer’s apology does not show sincere and serious intention. Reparation is to bring the states of wrongdoings and apology equal to no wrongdoing and not apology which is the original state.
Embrace, according to Volf, is done in a condition that ready to begin a new relationship toward the future, a peaceful relationship. What have been done through previous elements are acts of liberation for the perpetrators from guilt and victims from resentment. Volf uses “embrace” as a metaphor of the reconciled relationship.
We are glad that soon we will have the 2nd International Youth Interfaith Peace Camp in Kaliurang from 12 to 15 July 2017. From about 100 participants who signed up for this Camp, finally 28 participants are selected. Please remember this event in your prayer!