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Reconstruction in the Aftermath Period


By Rutagengwa Claude Shema

Regional Coordinator

Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI)



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Any conflict normally leads to a certain level of destruction,either physically or psychologically.The impacts of that destruction vary, and differ from one case to another.It depends on the dimension, parties, environment, causes, external influences, etc..

In any case, the last and crucial episode of conflict is escalation with some level of violence, where many things are likely to be destroyed.


Many examples can be varied, and on different dimensions, just like individuals, community, society, mega- or large-scale level etc., but let's start with simple but essential ones:


  1. According to the Bible, in the Garden of Eden, the conflict exploded when God realised that Adam and Eve - the first human creatures - had committed a sin (still not a crime) by eating a forbidden fruit ( see Genesis, Chapter 3). The anger of God went far, up to a truly severe punishement, until the snake (Satan) got a worse punishment - being cursed - and probably, there is no reconciliation as of now between Satan and God, although there has been reconciliation between God and his human creatures until now. Some people say that that reconciliation happened through Jesus Christ Emmanuel, while others say through different sacriffices, or simply straight through individual and personnal repentence on the part of human beings, due to forgiveness from God. Then human race get more strenght, and more hope, from their Almighty God, becoming physically and spiritually/psychologically rebuilt through that spiritual reconstruction. That's fine!
  2.  In old Rwandese traditions, in terms of local fair reconciliation and reconstruction, there was a simple principle called"Icyiru," which means "Compensention," from the victimizer's side to the victim(s) in a bid for peace and sustainable reconciliation and durable recontruction. That Icyiru which normally uses to be done through "Kunga" - to reconciliate - a process, could be just something which is not beyond the possibilities of the perpetrator(s), like re-constructing the destroyed house,etc., and it used to come from a strong willingness of the convicted and convinced pledged guilty person, with also the remarkable  involvement of both side's family members. And in aftermath of the genocide of Tutsi in 1994,Rwandese regime used the french acronym T.I.G (Travaux d'Intereret General) or community service in order to help in reconstruction of Rwandese society.The impact of T.I.G would be the a good example in the case of positive results or success towards a sustainable reconciliation through reconstruction.
  3. The Iraq war has been the most violent war of our era. It would be a shame to end it without reconstruction to every single distroyed property in Iraq, or to all Iraqi victims of that war, even worse without remarkable compensation to the family's victims and relatives of coalition soldiers who died or became handicapped by that war, because in any case, without reconstruction, reconciliation will be still impossible, and the hatred and anger will grow up and again reach the peak of de-escalation, and even more victims.



Any reconstruction must focus on different matters, but the most important in this regard is to emphasize basic needs of victims like health and self reconstruction and social and economic infrastructures - in short, medium- and long-term, with involvement and enough contribution by consent of the destroyer(s), working a lot on durability, self-sufficiency and sustainability and prevention of any new conflict.