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Title: Traumatised communities : on the way towards reconciliation : a case study on Guatemala with special emphasis on churches in Guatemala
Author: Weiand, Marcus
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates the connection between community trauma and reconciliation. Based on a case study about how Guatemalans dealt with traumatic events, the thesis focuses in particular on the role of the churches in Guatemala. One of the main challenges that traumatised communities face is dealing with the sufferings of the past. Notably the churches will need to think about their understanding of forgiveness and reconciliation within a traumatised community. All too often forgiveness is either denied because of the magnitude of the crimes committed or forgiveness is granted without asking for repentance and restoration. Consequently, communities tend to either disapprove of reconciliation or support a hasty peace process without sufficiently dealing with the victims’ needs. The investigation was based on literature review and on qualitative expert interviews conducted in Guatemala. The interviewees were partly from organisations with a church background and partly from a non-church background. The results suggest that within the Guatemalan context more emphasis should be given to an approach that tries to actively involve the perpetrators when dealing with the past. In addition, bystanders should be encouraged to acknowledge their role within the conflict. Also, the churches should be prepared to help overcome communal trauma by encouraging ecumenical relationships and by actively supporting their members’ spiritual growth in order to assist in the process of reconciliation. External intervention is important after traumatic events, yet it needs to take into account the spiritual landscape. And finally, love has to be considered as a core factor in trauma recovery. The results of this thesis make clear that reconciliation depends on the way former enemies shape their relationships. It is important that the parties within a conflict act with humility and with a preparedness to change, basing their behaviour and decision-making on their spiritual beliefs about love, non-violence, and peace.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available