A Source of Inspiration for Conflict Resolution
This chapter illustrates what can be learned from Bougainville, one of the few recent successful cases of postconflict state-building. It clarifies and elaborates on a ‘road to sustainable peace’: a mode of reconciliation that carefully involves emotion and incorporates everyone, including ancestral spirits. This process must resist instrumental and short-term temptations, developing instead a sustainable long-term, step-by-step engagement with different layers of problems. Time is crucial in this approach, which revolves around finding out when exactly which people are ready for which step in the reconciliation process. Reconciliation on Bougainville is thus seen as an ongoing process that involves entwined relationships and contains spiritual and ritual dimensions. The latter are, in fact, an integral and indispensable element of conflict resolution, rather than simply aspects of ceremonial functions.
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