“I Forgive to Forget”: Implications for Community Restoration and Unity in Northern Uganda
Forgiveness, co-existence, reconciliation, memory, peacebuilding, relationships, unity
As the people in northern Uganda begin to rebuild their lives after the devastating war that lasted more than twenty years, reconciliation and community restoration becomes paramount. Forgiveness of wrongs committed and past hurts is an important vehicle to achieve reconciliation and co-existence in a society that is wrought with past social upheavals, fragile relationships and painful memories. This study aimed at exploring and understanding the ‘local’ meanings and notions of forgiveness and its importance in re-cementing a ‘broken’ Acholi society. Personal accounts of wrongs committed and processes of forgiveness were recorded, edited and shared with the public in Awach sub-County, Gulu District. The significance of this study is that among other things it has had a rippling effect and inspired other people to tell their own accounts and share their experiences of forgiveness and what it means for them. The findings illustrate that forgiveness is “personal” and aids ‘repair’ of not only inter-personal but intra-personal broken relationships as it fosters healing, personal freedom, the lifting of heavy burdens from the heart, rebuilding of trust between people and giving individuals a second chance at life’s pursuits. Furthermore, forgiveness is important for co-existence and unity because for many, it has helped them to live with their former tormenters by accepting tormentors’ ‘humanness’ especially when they have owned up to their past mistakes. In conclusion forgiveness has an important place in rebuilding northern Uganda by harnessing people’s ability to, move past the wrong and draw strength from the memories that haunt them and yet are vital in shaping a lasting peace for the future.
Obika, Julaina A. and Ovuga, Emilio
"“I Forgive to Forget”: Implications for Community Restoration and Unity in Northern Uganda,"
Journal of African Conflicts and Peace Studies:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/jacaps/vol4/iss1/5