Truth or Justice first?

A couple of days ago, I was reading an article on the Rwanda Genocide and came across an interesting quote by Yolande Mulugasana, a genocide survivor. She said, “There will be no humanity without forgiveness.  There will be no forgiveness without justice.  There will be no justice without humanity.” The second sentence struck my attention in particular to my work in Sierra Leone.
Truth or Justice is a big debate in reconciliation, at least with the communities I work with. At Fambul Tok, we believe the reconciliation journey comprises of four components — truth, justice, mercy, and peace. Each has to be addressed (and in no particular order) before reconciliation is achieved.
During our trainings, there is one activity we do to highlight Ms. Yolande’s second sentence. We ask participants to choose one of the four components and describe its importance to reconciliation. A high percentage select justice or truth. Why not mercy or peace? I understand the importance of the truth and justice before reconciliation, but why not initiate peace first? How about if the truth or justice does not satisfy your needs?

Do you have any thoughts on the quote or my questions?

Three Chiefdoms in Moyamaba District establish trade fairs

Three chiefdom’s in Moyamba District — Bagruwa, Timidale, and Kargboro — have united to initiate weekly Fambul Tok trade fairs. How about that for community ownership? Community leaders and Fambul Tok community structures established the trade fairs to bring people together to trade goods, foods, and to continue to support reconciliation activities in the districts.

Every week communities, in collaboration with Fambul Tok community structures, select an avenue and a reconciliation theme to promote.

The first fair took place at Foya village, Mye Section, TImidale chiefdom. A traditional leader who participated at the first fair said, “the reason for the fair is to bring people together and enhance the peace process in the three chiefdoms and all of Salone.” He also stated communities are now using Fambul Tok structures to settle disputes in communities.

Written by Solomon Yarjoh, Fambul Tok Communication Manager

We’re Back!

I am back! Sorry for the hiatus, I have been helping the staff and communities move forward with Fambul Tok. However, it’s no excuse for not keeping you guys up to date. Your part of the Fambul! Before I move forward with the latest developments, I want to take you a few steps back.

The week of July 12th, 2009 Kailahun District hosted a three day Mano-River football event for Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea (Not Ivory Coast — political addition to the Mano-River Union). Each country was represented by a male/female under-15 team and each played the respective countries once. Over hundreds of people from the three countries were present at the event. It was full of excitement and patriotism. Kailahun Executive Committee and Fambul Tok staff ensured the teams and bystanders the event was to promote reconciliation in the three countries. Conflict simultaneously affects all three countries and it was evident when Liberia and Sierra Leone went through their civil wars.  Below are pictures from the event:

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From June 10th – 15th, Fambul Tok National Secretariat hosted Regional Civil Society Roundtables for organizations working on reconciliation or have the potential to work on reconciliation. Also included were representatives from the Council of Paramount Chiefs (traditional stakeholders in each district). The roundtables were held in Kenema (East), Bo (South), and Makeni (North).

The National Secretariat realized more organizations are facilitating reconciliation in communities with an ineffective approach. So Fambul Tok realized it was important to create space for a coordinated national reconciliation conversation. There was a total buy-in from all the organizations present on Fambul Tok’s approach to reconciliation. The National Secretariat, traditional leaders, and civil society are still in discussion on how to move the conversation forward. Below are some pics from the roundtables:

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Recently, the National Secretariat handed over the Kailahun Fambul Tok activities to the Kailahun Executive Committee (KEC). The District staff are still working hand and hand with the KEC until the staff deem they are ready to undertake their own activities. Nonetheless communities in Kailahun District are undertaking their own ceremonies without the assistance of Fambul Tok. The development highlights the way Fambul Tok works. We create the space for communities to own the process.

More to come….