International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Reconciliation and Humor?

The article linked below concerns reconciliation on the Ivory Coast where a traditional practice called Toukpe is being used to ease ethnic tensions. The practice of Toukpe incorporates humor where cultural and ethnic groups  joke and make fun of each other. Thus the tensions are trivialized and expelled, restoring moral values and behavior towards one another. Because this is a tradition along the Ivory Coast, it is becoming and effective practice for reconciliation. Although part of the reason this practice is working is because of it’s traditional roots, I wonder if humor can be used in other countries that are seeking reconciliation. Despite the gravity of crimes that TRCs deal with, complete emphasis on the tragedy poses the risk of being paralyzed within that state which only breeds and preserves resentment. Humor does have the ability to make things seem less serious, and that uplift may make it easier for people to enter into a more honest dialogue. In fact, the presence of humor would serve as an indicator that communities are in fact healing, and moving away from a violent and destructive past.  Do you think that humor could be a gateway in reconciliation beyond the cultural norms of  the Ivory Coast?



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