DOI: 10.5176/2382-5677_PYTT14.04

Authors: Dr. Christine Schliesser

Abstract:

Abstract—“The duty of memory is the duty to do justice.” Ricoeur’s famous statement will serve as a guideline to explore the relationship between memory and justice, remembrance and reconciliation. My thesis is that remembering and forgetting – in their individual and collective dimensions – serve as a normative bridge connecting the past, present, and future. Due to this function, their significance for reconciliation processes is as fundamental as it is neglected. A key element in reconciliation processes is the concept of justice underlying them. I will argue that reconciliation processes benefit from a transformative concept of justice as supplement to a concept of justice as iustitia retributiva. It is my conviction that philosophical and ethical thought are not self-serving, but rather by means of their rational investigation seek to make a contribution to the problems they pertain to. As a “Sitz im Leben” of my deliberation, I have chosen a context in dire need of reconciliation and justice: Rwanda. Twenty years after the genocide, the questions surrounding memory and justice, remembrance and reconciliation are as virulent today as ever before. I am aware of the limitations of my discipline, which is ethics, and my culture, which is Western. I therefore draw on several other disciplines as well, including cultural, social and literary sciences, the arts, and theology.
My paper is structured into three parts. I will first offer some thoughts on individual as well as collective remembering and forgetting, before I will explore the meaning of reconciliation and justice. In a third part, I will test the relevance of what my discussion has yielded against the reality of post-genocide Rwanda.

Keywords: remembrance, reconciliation, memory, justice, Ricoeur, Rwanda

Price: $4.99

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