Friday, February 18, 2005

Crabwalk by Günter Grass

I recently read Crabwalk by Günter Grass, the Nobel Prize winner. This book once again grapples with Germany's past and is superb. The book focuses on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945, a German cruise ship used as a refugee carrier. Some 9,000 people were killed in the attack by a Russian sub. In addition, to telling the story of this disaster, the book focuses on the lives of people affected by it in modern day Germany. The book essentially focuses on cycles of 'victimhood' and the way victimisation (or perceived victimisation) turns into violence decades later. A compelling book that delves into the heart of contemporary Germany and the contradictions within it. I think it is a must for anyone interested in how countries deal with their past and how contemporary problems arise when this process is not properly completed. For more information on the book link directly to it at Amazon US UK CA SA

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Healing Through Remembering: Dealing with the past

On the 12th of March the Corrymeela Group will hosting a conference in London entitled Healing Through Remembering: Dealing with the past. I will be speaking at it focusing on the South African and Northern Ireland and mechanisms for dealing with the past. It will be held at St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. More information and flyers can be found in the Corrymeela site.

Monday, February 7, 2005

What is reconciliation?

The "Community Reconciliation in Northern Ireland", a Democratic Dialogue project, explores how the term 'reconciliation' is conceptualised within a range of community organisations and local authorities and how this understanding is translated into practical strategies for action in engaging various sectors of Northern Ireland society. We have just started to publish some of the papers from the project. They may be of general interest as myself and Grainne Kelly have attempted to define reconciliation in them. The papers are available on the Project Section of the site. Or you can download the paper, A Working Definition of Reconciliation, directly by clicking here. Longer reports are due in the coming months.