Supported by the UNESCO Slave Route Project, the GHFP has completed a Desk Review aimed at mapping meaningful approaches to healing the wounds of slavery.
The Desk Review draws on a conception of healing wounds that perceives the wound of trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery as systematic dehumanisation. This in turn highlights the imperative of healing as addressing dehumanisation through four processes:
- Process One is directed at dehumanising acts per se;
- Process Two is directed at the traumatic effects of being dehumanised;
- Process Three is directed at the dehumanising relationships; and
- Process Four is directed at the structural conditions that enable and have enabled institutionalised dehumanisation.
In reviewing the relevant literature and case studies, the Desk Review has mapped out some of the key practical approaches to healing. Understanding the significance of collective healing and taking practical steps towards healing are amongst the most powerful ways to eradicate racism.
Collective and community initiatives can empower those suffering from the wounds of a violent past to collaborate towards mutual healing, thus creating new possibilities for peace.
To better understand the significance of these community-rooted collective healing endeavours, the GHFP and the UNESCO Slave Route Project hosted a one-day International Symposium, at the Royal Society for the Arts in London.
The event brought together practitioners and scholars who have experiences and expertise in the field of communal and collective healing of mass traumas, for an intimate dialogue focused around three core questions:
- What are the typical psychological and social symptoms encountered in communities resulting from the experience and legacies of past atrocities?
- What might constitute collective healing in these situations?
- How do community-based processes and practices contribute to collective healing? (And how would the community evaluate collective healing? What are the relevant indicators that some healing has taken place?)
Presentations included the Australia’s journey of healing through the Sorry Day marches, the Healing the Wounds of History programme in Lebanon, Foresee Research Group’s restorative healing approaches in Hungary, critical reflection on the structural conditions of healing from the perspectives of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation, the Initiatives of Change International’s Trustbuilding in the communities programme, and the Peace Charter of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
Read here the Collective_Healing_of_Trauma_Concept_Note.
Please return soon for updates on the Symposium’s participants, their bios, and presentations, and conclusions.
According to a New York Times, “Belgium apologized on Thursday for the kidnapping, segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during its colonial rule of Burundi, Congo and Rwanda.”
The question is: Does an official apology counts as in part healing the wounds of history?
Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/04/world/europe/belgium-kidnapping-congo-rwanda-burundi.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR0lPbTc8_k0V1HmJzO–qbNy8eLCrHyMd-HqmuM9eIdWrTfMh46P-TKMcg
Louis Menand writes in New Yorker February 4th 2019 issue:
“institutional racism” or “structural racism”—is much harder to address. It requires more of people than just striking down a law.
Read the full article entitled: “The Supreme Court Case That Enshrined White Supremacy in Law How Plessy v. Ferguson shaped the history of racial discrimination in America.”
General Assembly 73rd Session: 38th Plenary Meeting, 21 Nov 2018
Commemoration of the abolition of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Speakers Call for Greater Awareness‑Raising about Dangers of Racism, Prejudice, as General Assembly Reviews Education Programme on Transatlantic Slave Trade – Agenda Item 121.