Nelson Mandela, freed from prison after twenty-seven years, found himself leading a country where the victims of apartheid now live side by side with their oppressors. How could the new South Africa survive? Mandela decided a truth commission would ...
be the first step towards reconciliation, and, in 1995, he set government investigators to work examining the horrors perpetrated on both sides in the name of apartheid or equality. In Unspeakable Truths,Priscilla Hayner delivers a profound, definitive exploration of past truth commissions, and the anguish, the injustice, and the legacy of hate they are meant to absolve. She examines the twenty major truth commissions established around the world, paying special attention to South Africa, El Salvador, Argentina, Chile, and Guatemala, where official investigations into the atrocities of the past seemed like the only medicine available to cure the symptoms developed under years of tyranny. As she explores the inner workings of these tribunals, Hayner finds that victims are torn between the need to remember and the need to forget. In the new post-Cold War order, the future of democracy and peace may rest on this debate. For those concerned with the fate of democracy and freedom on the international stage, Unspeakable Truths is essential reading.