Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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 Eppel

Healing a Community's Trauma: Exhumation and Ritual in Zimbabwe; Conversation with Shari Eppel, Human Rights Activist; 4/24/01 by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation With History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest is Shari Eppel, who is a human rights activist and director of the Matebeland Chapter of the Amani Trust in Zimbabwe.

  1. Background ... influence of parents ... liberal family in racist society ... comprehending racism ... reading English literature ... national identity ... mentors ... sources of courage ... commitment to truth ... education
  2. Doing Human Rights Work ... political conflict in Zimbabwe after independence ... atrocities committed by the Mugabe government ... shock of finding the truth ... scope of the violence ... communicating the truth: human rights report
  3. Rehabilitation and Healing among the Victims ... figuring out the next step ... recovery from trauma ... violence as political control ... long-term consequences of violence ... need to confront the past ... listening to the community ... importance of ancestral spirits ... exhumation for community healing ... denial of the dead as a component of terror
  4. Case Studies ... Israh and Ben ... repression of emotions leads to community dysfunction ... linking the healing process to development ... culturally specific healing processes ... case of the perpetrators who came forward
  5. The Role of DNA in Exhumation and Identification ... waiting for a change in government ... truth and reconciliation commissions ... no cultural obstacles to DNA identification ... when exhumation perpetuates denial ... need to heal is paramount
  6. Lessons Learned ... emotional support ... writing poetry ... satisfaction of the work

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