Exploration 4A: Extension Activities

Echoes of Silence

Read “A look at societal silence after violations,” and then find an example of a country that has chosen to forget past abuses.

Write an essay in response to these words of the human rights activist Aryeh Neier:

Peaceful coexistence seems much less likely if those who were victimized see no one called to account for their suffering.

Does the experience of the country that you chose support or refute Neier’s statement?


Who, in your country’s history, has been accused of inhumane behaviour in armed conflict? What was done about it? What was the outcome?

Is it too late?

Using the section titled “A public debate in France” in “Is it too late?”, prepare a short essay in response to these questions:
  • After so much time has elapsed, what can be done about the violations in this situation? What would the purpose be?

Then, from the “Voices” section of “Is it too late?” choose the quotation that best reflects your views on the subject.

Present your essay, and explain how your proposals would help prevent future violations, promote the healing process for the victims and benefit both France and Algeria.

Compare your ideas with those of others.

What's the difference?

Consider the following statements:

Once a civil war is over, one must forgive and forget.

- Paul Thibaud, essayist

Too much forgiving and forgetting stops the wound from healing.

- Louis Joinet, magistrate and UN Special Rapporteur on impunity

Choose the point of view you wish to advocate, and prepare arguments in favour of it. Include your thoughts on the following questions in your presentation.
  • What does forgetting mean?
  • If not forgetting involves taking some action, what might such action entail?
  • What does forgiving mean?
  • What are the possible consequences of forgiving? Of not forgiving?
  • What does each man recommend?
  • How would their words apply to an example you have studied or know of?