The ghosts of reconciliation

by Mia Couto

Poorest nation, richest nation (Issue III+IV/2018)


And ghosts have played a singular role in events of the recent past: During the civil war between 1977 to 1993, a million people were killed in Mozambique. The line between friend and foe was not clear and many families had members fighting on both sides. But there was a purification ritual, part of the traditional religion here, that helped locals to deal with the crimes committed during this time.

Men who may have taken part in war crimes returned to their villages. It was believed that when they did these terrible things, the men were not themselves: They had been possessed by ghosts. The spirits were driven out of the humans and community life could go on. On a local scale, this purification ritual really worked in the villages because people believed in it. But we still need to find something similarly useful at the national level. I believe that literature can also help with this; Through our stories we invite people to deal consciously with those traumatic times.



similar articles

Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Ungovernable

by Josué Kanabo

Why the Central African Republic's weak government is one of its biggest problems.

more


Fear of women (How I became me)

Finally, no longer stateless

By Mohammad El-Hassan

Civil war, nightly air raids and a lack of water: there was no future for Mohammad El-Hassan in Lebanon. That’s why he fled to Berlin in 2003. Today he works as a cook in Prenzlauer Berg.

more


The hunters and the hunted (Books)

The end of the uprising

By Amira El Ahl

Ten years ago, the world watched the Arab Spring with bated breath. In his new book, journalist Jörg Armbruster chronicles what is left of the revolution.

more


Nonstop (Books)

Trapped in Sarajevo

by Doris Akrap

Damir Ovcina‘s novel forces the reader to bear witness to the Bosnian genocide.

more


Une Grande Nation (Books)

One bright afternoon during a time of darkness

by Stephanie von Hayek

The poignant debut novel by Anuk Arudpragasam recalls the turmoil of civil war in Sri Lanka.

more


Guilt (Topic: Guilt)

Acting with the enemy

by Marcelo Vallejo

How Argentinian and British veterans of the Falkland War created an onstage drama about their experiences – from both sides of the battlefield.

more