Social Healing, Trauma and the Law

SCLG2623 Sociology of Terror Major Essay
What is the difference between individual and social healing in post-conflict societies?   Discuss contrasting the kinds of strategies that have been pursued in relation to memory, trauma, reconciliation, justice and rights.
3,000 Words
Forgiving is difficult. The very idea of it can be offensive after horrible events like the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, or the genocidal violence in Tibet.   Even to people outside the victim group, the idea that survivors should forgive following genocide is an affront, an athema.   It is inconceivable to them and incomprehensible how victims or anyone else would or should forgive the perpetrators…Nonetheless, forgiving is necessary and desirable.   It paves the way for reconciliation and furthers the healing, thereby making a better future possible.
-Ervin Staub and Laurie Anne Pearlman (Cited By Jeffrey, 2008: 179)

Society is underpinned by standards and expectations as to what social worlds should resemble and how they should operate.   But when the very foundations of that world are rocky and open to misuse and abuse, the society is left in a destabilized position.   What remains is the question of how these worlds are tolerated in this destabilized form?   Can they continue indefinitely in such a way?   This place of discomfort is the abject, that which is contrary to everyday harmony.   Often the locus of the abject can be expressed in violence.   In the case of the Holocaust the abject impacted the individual Jewish people and the wider community of Europe.   The meaning that was derived to spark the violence and the meaning that remains are in stark contrast.   Another more recent example is that of the war in the former Yugoslavia, and the atrocities that were committed on all sides against one another.   Both are instances where a seemingly stable life has turned on its inhabitant’s heads and suddenly rights are removed and suddenly friends and neigbours become the abject.   How...