In No Future Without Forgiveness I focused on chapter 4 “What About Justice?”. The chapter focused on the amnesty granted to those who committed injustices during the apartheid. The TRC allowed perpetrators to be free of blame for committing crimes if they came forward as guilty and told everything that happened. This did not cover people that “killed because of personal greed, but they did qualify if they committed the act in response to an order by, or on the behalf of, a political organization”. At first glance many did not see this as fit because it did not take if they felt remorse into consideration, it seemed crazy that people could have no punishments and not even need to apologize to their victims.
Tutu recognizes issues with this system but finds there are positives for the reconciliation in South Africa. There were trials for those who committed crimes that were vastly disturbing which drew attention to all the things that had happened, often family members did not even know about the horrible things their loved ones committed. Tutu believed that the TRC method actually did encourage accountability with people coming forward and acknowledging what they did. Some were apologetic both in coming forward and speaking to their victims. The restoration through the traditional African method allowed both the victim and the perpetrators to have a chance to renew relations and reintegrate into the community also occurred. The TRC decided on the blank slate method because for a peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy the nation needed the victims to allow the process for the smoothest transition.
I thought that Tutu’s views were fair. He thought about the big picture including the victims, the transition and the perpetrators.
I think he thought that he could forgive people who truly felt sorry like the policeman,
“I wish I had the power to make these people whole again. I wish I could wipe the old South Africa out of everyone’s past.”
Even in the title of the book you can see that the only way to move forward is to forgive and have a mutual understanding. Reconciliation is still not complete and it will not be until there are more opportunities for the black population and everyone moves forward.