Last night, a group of local young Bermudians referred to as Youth on the Move held a second of a series of movie and discussion nights being held to facilitate discussion along the theme of Truth and Reconciliation. The purpose of the movie night being to provide opportunities for continued discussion along the theme of the Truth and Reconciliation forums so that it may filter out to a wider audience of the Bermudian public.
Last night’s featured movie was “In My Country”, which told the story of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation commission hearings from the perspective of a pair of journalists. Showcasing scenes from commission hearings and the stories told by the truths that came out of them.
The greater idea exposed by this movie was how the commission hearings were held to hold tribunals that would hopefully expose secrets and provide some means of reconciliation for those still suffering from the events. By offering amnesty to those who committed abuses during the apartheid era (as long as they were politically motivated, proportionate, and there was full disclosure), the tribunals gained testimony that could be used to expose greater crimes committed and evidence for convicting those responsible.
Was the price of amnesty granted to 849 people who stepped forward to expose hidden truths worth the convictions of 5392 others and the truths exposed? Admittedly the truths exposed would not instantly reconcile past conflicts but did they achieve first steps in the direction of true reconciliation and a lessening of the divide of black from white.
Are there hidden truths here in Bermuda that have yet to be exposed? If so, how do we learn from South Africa’s efforts to take steps towards our own reconciliation?