IMAGINE SPENDING almost 30 years in jails of one of the most murderous and inhuman political regimes in history and then-

Choosing not vengeance but reconciliation after finally testing freedom.

Nelson Mandela did it, and then spent the rest of his life urging Black South Africans to forgive the  White supremacists that had killed and maimed hundreds of thousands-

 Of ordinary blacks under the guise of barbaric system called apartheid.

Reconciliation with centuries-old oppressors is an extremely difficult thing to do. It requires political leadership that is courageous and far-sighted; it is often far easier to react to hate with hate.

IN PAKISTAN, In recent times a popular movement of young Pakhtuns has started calling for truth and reconciliation commission in this regions of the northwest.

On the one hand the rhetoric of these young upstarts sounds incendiary, but in demanding truth and reconciliation, they are actively displacing the politics of hate.

Our state is still a colonial apparatus and its essential impulse to control has reinforced deep divisions in society.

Yet a politics of transformation require the bare truths of our history to be acknowledged so that we can someday, and eventually move on.

Excavating the truth in a country where, to borrow the words of K.K. Aziz, history has been murdered, is itself a profound political matter.

Uncovering the truth about any state, our state, and the social forces that have visited untold violence upon innocents is something we must do collectively.

We must all return to the roots, and establish which of them have been based on oppression and hate. There is no way around the process, if we are serious about building a viable state and a social peace.

So, in the global perspective :

Could Bosnians forgive the Serbs? Will there coma a day when Kashmiris are able to move on from the violence that has been visited upon them by the Indian state?

Will the Rohingyas living out their lives as  refugees ever be able to reconcile with the Burmese that pushed them onto the abyss of statelessness?   

Have the indigenous people everywhere moved on from the horrors of colonialism?

Why insist then that Pakistan is under the siege from the 'other', when in fact the calls for reconciliation are growing and coming from within?

The World Students Society thanks, author Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, who teaches at the Quaid-i. Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.


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