Protesting the upcoming removal of a Robert E. Lee statue (the commanding officer of the Confederacy in the 19th–
century U.S. Civil War) turned out to be a primary reason for the white supremacist gathering. Earlier in February 2017, the Charlottesville City Council had voted 3-2 for removal. However, the city was sued to prevent that from happening. The statue advocates gathered in Charlottesville on that fateful August weekend to publicly show their support and to “affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests.” In fact, one of the event flyers declared: “A pivotal moment for the pro-white movement in America.” Fortunately, counter-protesters showed up that day as well. A large number were Charlottesville residents who visibly showed their contempt for the white supremacist groups. Solidarity Cville, a Charlottesville-based network of activists and ministers, brought attention to the pro-white rally and urged people to “show opposition.” Other counter-protesters self-identified as anti-fascists. In this context, James Fields murdered Heather Dyer, the two state troopers lost their lives, and over 30 people were injured.
Cyprus, Europe: Healing through the Bones
A different type of marker or a “marking” of past violence continues to unfold as we speak in Europe. For almost 25 years (1950-1974), a deep divide arose in the country of Cyprus because of a violent conflict between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. The rupture continues into the present day. During the violence, many persons on both sides went missing. Once the official ceasefire took hold, a huge need remained—for citizens to know about and receive closure regarding their loved ones who went missing during the two and a half decades of conflict. In response to resolutions from the United Nations (UN), Cyprus formed the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in 1981. The organization started their investigative work in 1984. This process marked a critical juncture in the nation’s and their citizens’ healing.
[R]ecognizing that one of the tragic results of armed conflicts is the lack of information on persons – civilians as well as combatants—who are missing in armed conflicts,…. the desire to know the fate of loved ones lost in armed conflicts is a basic human need … and that provision should not be delayed because of other issues pending.”
This research suggests that this study’s participants’ experiences, perceptions and expertise indicates that the process of exhumations is necessary to forge a sustainable and lasting peace in Cyprus. Further, this unique process of the recovery, identification, and reunification of the Missing with their loved ones is a process of empowerment and healing for the relatives of the disappeared” (p. 150).
In addition, lynching – and other forms of racial terrorism – inflicted deep traumatic and psychological wounds on survivors, witnesses, family members, and the entire African American community. Whites who participated in or witnessed gruesome lynchings and socialized their children in this culture of violence also were psychologically damaged. And state officials’ indifference to and complicity in lynchings created enduring national and institutional wounds that we have not yet confronted or begun to heal.