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Reflections in Truth and Reconciliation

When ‘the civilization’ imposed itself on yours, the othered

Your language became undesirable ‘vernacular’ to be criminalized

Your world views and social systems, primitive

Your cuisine, smelly and objectionable

Your skin colour, a burden

Your names, gibberish


Your status, on the negative of the binaries

You’re coloured, black or other but not white

You’re sub-human, not human

You’re bad and not good

You’re a burden requiring the benevolence of others for salvation

You’re a mistake in creation to be managed by the benevolent

You’re supposed to be grateful not ungrateful in residential schools of civilization

 In truth, the fundamentals are wrong, have always been

‘The civilization’ needed to meet other civilizations

In respect, not imposition

In equality and humility, not in arrogance

In humble exchange of mutual ignorance for the pursuit of truth

In appreciation of one another’s strengths and values

In optimization of robust benefits of pluralism

In constant self-reflection

In full consciousness of harms done, and harms not to do


It took five centuries of damages done and truth suppressed

It’d take much more for reconciliation

It’d take ‘the civilization’ reconcile to being ‘a civilization’

It’d take civilizations co-existing, not ‘the civilization’ presiding

It’d take harnessing the best of the universe of common humanity

In Truth and In Reconciliation

©Oguamanam 2022 (out of the rules poetry)

Dr. Chidi Oguamanam is the Principal Investigator at ABS Canada. He is a Full Professor affiliated with the Centre for Law, Technology, and Society, the Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability, and the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa.

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