Reconciliation Ceremony Held By Solomons Communities

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Guadalcanal event hailed as ‘true reconciliation’

By Ednal Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 26, 2013) – A reconciliation ceremony held in Solomon Islands’ Central Guadalcanal has been described as a breakthrough.

A chief and vice president of the Ghaobata council of chiefs, Bartholomew Vavana said the reconciliation which eventuated on July 28 last month was the result of the work of Solomon Islands Peace and Traumatic Counseling Centre (SIPTCC).

"Our communities had been in silent rivalry after the ethnic conflict and no one would want to acknowledge that.

"No one also understands how else we could ever resolve our differences," Mr. Vavana explained.

He said after SIPTCC visited their communities and held a peace and traumatic counseling workshop for people at Tutupa, a committee was set up referred to as Peace and Good Order Committee, with the help of SIPTCC.

"Using what was learnt from the training, were break down all the differences.

"We have been trying to reconcile and it has taken us two years [and] eight months.

"Methods used by SIPTCC were very touching and it did an excellent job in bringing a true reconciliation."

Mr. Vavana said the committee worked with seven communities involved from three different tribes.

"After just months, everybody wholeheartedly decided to come together and forgive and forget our differences.

"This reconciliation involved no money. It was truly a reconciliation that comes from the hearts of members of the communities and tribes.

"People did not ask for anything. We just bring food and sit together in prayer with the help of a pastor and our differences were over."

Mr. Vavana said it was a huge victory for people who joined hands once again in a celebration got many in tears.

He said the many reconciliations planned by the government will never be genuine.

"This is the type of reconciliation that comes from people themselves and really heals.

"We cannot involve thousands of dollars and force people to shake hands.

"You cannot start from the top down."

Chairman of SIPTCC Ishmael Idu said they initially seek assistance from the Government to help them in their search for reconciliation.

"The Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs did not respond to us, so I told members of the community that no assistance or help from the Government does not mean you cannot reconcile.

"True reconciliation comes from you. Peace must prevail."

Mr. Vavana said people usually think reconciliation comes with compensation "but that was not how SIPTCC and we see it now, it comes from the heart".

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