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“Healing the Dead”: Exhumation and Reburial as Truth-Telling and Peace- Building Activities in Rural Zimbabwe

Eppel, Shari
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In, Tristan Anne Borer, editor, Telling the Truths: Truth Telling and Peace Building in Post- Conflict Societies. Notre Dame: University Of Notre Dame Press. pp.259-288

We have seen how facilitating a process of exhumations and reburials can act as a catalyst to begin transforming the lives of families and restoring the social and cultural fabric that has been devastated by two consecutive civil wars. Public witnessing of exhumations and attendance at community meetings also have resulted in requests for help in dealing with serious problems left by violence that are not linked directly to graves, including sexual torture and social marginalization of so-called political sellouts. Exhumations and memorials have proven to be a powerful route into the community to discuss multiple violence-related issues through – in a very real and concrete way – “digging up the past” in order to witness its truth together and to mourn with the dignity before laying the past once more to rest in the place and manner that the community agrees will allow healing for both the living and the dead. (excerpt)


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