Dealing with the Past


On March the 30th, 2010. the Parliament of Serbia adopted the Declaration on condemning the crime in Srebrenica.

After a long debate in the Parliament, when we could hear fascist statements from the members of Radical party, Democratic party of Serbia and Serbian Progressive party, the members of the Parliament adopted the Declaration on condemning the crimes in Srebrenica.

"Disappearances" for political or ethnical reasons do not occur by chance. During periods of violence they occur as an institutional practice carried out by the state, armed groups, paramilitaries or other kinds of legal or illegal associations. Why are people made to disappear? What are some of the methods used to make people disappear? What is the impact these disappearances have at individual, family, community, country and international levels? Who is responsible for them? Why are they covered by an apparent silence?

The last day of the seminar was devoted to the programme, Dealing With the Past, organized by programme staff person Roberta Bacic.


Roberta presented some of the theoretical concepts we have been developing around the experiences we have been looking into.

Dealing with the past of war and violence

Some reflections on what we mean by dealing with the past

If we are war resisters and do strongly believe that war is a crime against humanity, then we have no alternative but to approach the issues, dilemmas, pain and c

Dr Ruby Osorio

Thirty years after the military coup in Chile, one of its principal "humanitarian legacies" continues to be the task of working out the pain of the unforgettable memories left by the merciless disappearances. Much has been written and is known about the devastating impact that someone's disappearance can have on an individual, a family and a community.

by Roberta Bacic, March 2004ArticlesAssisting survivors of war and atrocity Derek Summerfield published in Development in Practice, Volume 5, number 4, 1995What are Truth Commissions? Roberta Bacic in Peace News 2438, pages 16/17Mental health and political repression viewed from a social and cultural perspective Pau Perez, Teresa Duran, Roberta Bacic in Journal of the International Society for Health and Human Rights, Volume l, number l, 1998, pages 25/34Dealing

Tony Kempster

APF is an organisation whose members are pledged ‘to renounce war and the preparation to wage war, and to work for the construction of Christian peace in the world'. It has members in some 30 countries around the world some of which are experiencing military conflict. The latest (October issue) of its newsletter, The Anglican Peacemaker focuses on the ongoing conflicts in Africa which are of real concern to some APF's members.

Dealing with the past

Placheolder image

The WRI Statement of Principles reminds us that “War is an avoidable form of organized violence. However, its roots go deep. WRI seeks to address these roots, including by changing processes of socialisation, and by transforming the patterns of domination that affect every aspect of life, both within society and between societies.”

Roberta Bacic

The past shapes the present and the future. This is even more true after war or dictatorship. How we deal with this past determines our future. Working with the relatives of victims of political repression, and having lived it personally, has led me to conclude that dealing with the past means ‘ learning to live / cope / struggle with it in the present.

Roberta Bacic

WRI had already visited Sri Lanka and had been in Batticaloa in March 2003. As a follow up of this we decided to accompany the process of dealing with the past with war affected women. Rajan Iruthayanathan organised the workshop with local organisers and activists who know well the people, history and politics of the area. The women came from two villages, where almost each family has lost somebody during the war.

We wrote in our proposal:

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