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“Trading truth for justice?”

Linfield, Susie.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Boston Review 25 (Summer).

Linfield considers the relationship between truth and justice as presented by the purpose and work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Following the demise of apartheid, this commission promised amnesty to any person who came before it and told the truth about his or her own acts committed during the apartheid period. With respect to this amnesty promised by the commission in exchange for truth, the author asks what the relationship is between truth and justice. Among other key matters, she discusses the nature of apartheid, racism, torture, truth-telling, lying, remorse, psychological healing, ‘closure’, memory, forgiveness, and reconciliation. In the end she raises hard questions about the commission’s exchange of justice for truth and about the relationship between justice and truth, especially in a situation like that of South Africa during and following apartheid.


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