TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
R & R WORKSHOP
HELD AT: JOHANNESBURG
DATE: 18 FEBRUARY 1998
CHAIRPERSON: I apologise for the spelling mistakes on the first sheet but thatís my fault, no anybody elseís. My name if Faizel Randera, Iím a Commissioner in this office and on the National Commission as well. This is a very important workshop. We are coming really to the end and having used that word end, let me say that weíre finding it very difficult to accommodate to that thought ourselves because this Commission has become so integral to our lives in the last two years that itís suddenly difficult to realise that in a few monthsí time, the Commission as such will be at an end but the work that we have initiated will be there to continue for all of us, particularly this area that we are looking at today which is really looking at how we take recommendations forward on the trauma that people have experienced, what areas do we clearly recommend to Government on how we remember this period because that is a question that many people ask, so what, the Commission has taken place, the Commission has accumulated a body of knowledge that is undeniable, acknowledgement to an extent, I donít think itís complete, has happened, but where do we go from here and I think hopefully you will help us and our international speaker today and contributor will bring her wealth of experience from America as well as the holocaust period and will, I hope, to these discussions. So let me stop there and ask Hlengiwe to introduce our international speaker and then continue with the proceedings. Thank you very much.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you colleague. I would also like to greet all of you. Colleagues and friends we are really grateful that you have managed to come and spend the next three days with us, examining issues which are central to our work. I will just make a few comments before introducing Dr Yael Daniel. I will say a few things about where the committee is and some of the issues that we are struggling with in finalising, formulating, we have formulated policy proposals but in finalising our recommendations. Maybe itís important, especially for those of you who are part of Victim Support Group to understand that we are holding this workshop at the time when the Reparations Committee is like a woman in labour, anxiously awaiting the outcome. As you have picked up from the media, time and again, the Minister of Justice is at the point where we hope they will at any time now be announcing the promulgation of Regulations which will guide the implementation of our policy proposals, thatís the reparations plan. Having said that, I need to say something about some of the problems we have had as a Committee. I will start off by quoting one of the top psychologist, but itís in relation to our work where he says what the history of flashback tells, is therefore a history that literally has no place, neither in the past in which it was not fully experienced nor in the present in which itís precise images and enactments are not fully understood. In itís repeated imposition as both image and amnesia, the trauma thus seems to evoke the difficult truth of the history that is constituted by the very incomprehensibility of itís occurrence. Just to explain why I thought of this Commission is because we have been looking at our data base, trying to look at the ...(indistinct) of our witnesses and wanting to make sense of what they said with an aim of assisting with the reparations policy. But this captures the struggle which we think people had, the difficulty in remembering what they went through and actually saying it. If one doesnít appreciate the struggle that they went through in terms of their memory, in some instances you might think, oh, a gross human rights violation didnít have an impact because people say very little in some instances. As you know, we have held quite a number of workshops and you will agree with - and we have also been part of the Human Rights Violations Hearings and you will also agree with it that most people who appeared before the Commission, they tend to get caught in some instances in a trap where they want to say something, also there is a wish not to say the things which will hurt them the most. I went to our data base office and I picked up Lacoochebaís statement. He was the first witness when we had the hearings in Reginamunti. Most of you, you will remember him, heís now a member of Parliament. His experiences of torture, detention and imprisonment as far back as the Ď60ís but you could see he had suffered. He was breaking down in tears but in terms of memory, what he could clearly remember was only one part that he hated the part when he crumbled, he cried before the perpetrators. And again, if at face value we do not know how to make sense of that, we might think he didnít suffer much but as we were face to face with him, we realised how much he suffered. But no matter how much we pushed him to articulate what was on his mind, the only thing he could say, "when I look back, the only thing I think about a lot and which I hate the most is, when I asked for apology or I cried before my tormentors". Iím just scanning through what Iíve said here. Really what we have begun to think and to believe is that the manifested trauma that you have all witnessed through the media really indicates repositories for notions of self worth and humanity that are either denied or under estimated in every day dialogues and representation of history.
And again I picked up one quotation from the same person where he says, "show us our earliest years, not as they were, but as they appeared at the later periods when the memories were around. Memories did not, as people are accustomed to say, emerge, they were formed at the time and a number of motives with no concern for historical accuracy had a part in forming them as well as in the selection of the memories themselves". Iíve gone on and on in really looking at each and every case and showing how, what we know and what we are dealing with is what is often referred to as green memories, what people are prepared to construct at any one time. So partly this gives the context of this workshop. In this country we had an opportunity of interacting with many of you, bringing your own experiences of exposure to human rights violations. Some of you coming here because you work with victims on daily basis. Some of you being specialist in your own fields. But having done that, it has been like in our proposed policies there is a missing gap and in the process of doing a search we are fortunate because one of the consultants in this country went to an international conference and came back with the name of Dr Yael Daniel. Some of us we knew her work but given the fact that we hit the ground running when we started, we just didnít think of any outside specialist but we are privileged to have Dr Yael Daniel in our midst. She has, over the years worked with holocaust survivors. It is our belief that experienced gained in her work we will enrich our thinking.
I will just say something briefly about her. Hopefully you will get to know and understand who she is as we interact with her over the next three days. A brief introduction is that Dr Yael Daniel is a Director of the group project for holocaust survivors and their children. She founded this project in New York as far back as 1975. There is also something, most of you have her résumé in your files but I thought itís important to say, she is a founding Director of the International Society for Traumatic Studies. She was itís President from 1988 to 1989 and continued as itís international co-ordinator. The initial report of her presidential task force on curriculum education and training for professionals working with victim survivors was also adopted by the U.N. That was as far back as 1990 an implementing instrument for the United Nations Declaration mentioned above.
She also has been the senior representative to the United Nations headquarters of the World Federation for Mental Health and of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the past Vice Chair of the executive committee of non governmental organisations associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information and Chair of itís Publications Committee. I can really go on and on but she is remarkable and well respected within the field as it is we canít cope with requests for invitations, people wanting her to come and formally address their organisations or to meet with them as individuals and what Iíve seen I should think itís a challenge for us that if this three day workshops is of use in this country, we will all have to come together and see how we mobilise whatever resources and make sure that this begins, this is a beginning of a long term relationship. With those few remarks, I should think Faizel and myself we are finished our task and will hand over to Dr Yael Daniel to - I donít think she will still introduce herself but she will begin to interact with you. Thank you. Maybe letís just give her a warm welcome.
DR DANIEL: Since I came here all the way from the United States, I would like to be closer to you, so maybe you can move the chairs a little closer and maybe form more of a circle so we can see each other closer. And try to form a circle. Hlengiwe why donít you come closer. Thatís much better. This way, so we can - the ideal situation is that we see each other. All of us see each other. I tried to structure it so everybody sees everybody else. You canít see anybody else the way you sit except for me. So make it more of a circle. Ideally everyone should see everyone else so try to situate yourself that way. And we will begin actually not with a formal talk. What we will do is start the training as we started elsewhere. As we said the first part is an experiential part and for that I will need each one of you to have a large page in front of you so you can write on it and do other things with it. Actually create space for yourself so you are comfortable. You will need to be able to write so do you have enough pages to do that? Are you all comfortable? Not yet, okay. Oh good I see there is help there with pages. Here. In this first part there are other people who need pages here. This first part will be between you and yourself really. So if you get comfortable because - sort of create internal space, you can even close your eyes. So you can focus inward. And for this first phase the conversation is, the dialogue is internal, itís between you and yourself. Okay, so focus in. Take a deep breath too, to come in. And the first thing I would like you to do is to focus in on the most meaningful trauma to you. The most meaningful trauma to you. And when you have, would you please draw everything that comes to mind, any image that comes to mind of that trauma. Take your time. Itís really important that we go together through this process so you may start. Anything that comes to mind, any image. And take all the time you need. Let me just repeat that for you, to gain from this experience, itís good to do everything that Iím asking you to do. If youíve just about completed this part, you can turn the page and please write down, just jot down freely every word that comes to mind, every word that comes to mind. Doesnít have to be in any order. Every word that comes to mind about this experience. Just about finished this task, draw a line underneath the words and close your eyes for a moment. Sort of roam around your mind. Are there any other words that come to mind, when you just let your mind roam freely into any corner, every corner. Are you missing any words that say would describe for you or articulate for you this experience. Particularly emotional words, you know, words of feelings. Take your time and add those if you find them. The first time you ever heard of this trauma or ever encountered it. Can you remember the very first time, again you can close your eyes. I think it helps to sort of focus in. Can you visualise the very first time? Can you imagine yourself in that situation? How, in that situation try to get into that. How do you hear about it or how did you see it or whatís your first encounter? What is it like for you, in that memory? If itís a matter of hearing about it, who did you hear it from? If itís a matter of seeing, what are you seeing? How old are you in that memory? Where are you? Are you at home, in the street, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the living room, in class, in a movie, in the park? Are you alone or with other people, your parents, your family, friends, strangers? You can start writing it down for yourself. What are you feeling in the memory? Do you remember any particular physical sensation? What are you thinking? While you are still in the memory, are you making any choices? For example, about life. Do you say something like, because this happened therefore life is - or about people because this happened people are or the world is. What are you telling yourself in that memory? Are you coming to any conclusions? This is extremely important so try to remember any thought like that. Now think of yourself today. Look sort of back at that situation. Are you still holding the choices? Do you still believe what you concluded then? Would you say this is still me? Or this is not me anymore. Do you still have these beliefs? If they changed, what is the difference? What changed and why?
If at any point Iím rushing you, stop me, okay, say I need more time. I need that from you. Who did you talk to if you did? Both in the past and now. What was your reaction to their reaction? Letís try to examine the other side. Secrets. Not sharing with others. Is there anything about this that you have not told anyone that you decided is not to be talked about? That itís like, unspeakable. Is there any area in it that you feel is totally your secret, that you dealt with all along and kept to yourself? If there is, put it into words, you can even say to use words like, I havenít shared it because - or Iím very hesitant to share it because -
Now this is very very important so take your time and if you can also mention the particular people with whom you wonít share it and why. Do you personally know survivors of this experience? If itís you, that means other survivors and if you do, do you know them as family or friends, neighbours, colleagues? Now there are secrets that we keep from others to protect either ourselves or them and there are secrets that are self secrets. Now this is extremely important. You can again close your eyes. Imagine the situation of the very first time you ever heard or experienced anything about it. And roam inside your mind. I know it could be scary but itís important to do it. Is there anything about it that you have never talked to yourself about? A secret that you have kept from yourself. An area that youíve sort of pushed away and kept away from yourself. Or about which you said to yourself, I can handle that. Why is it the one thing that was too much for you? What havenít you put into words yet. That is still sort of lurking in the corner of your mind. You havenít looked at it yet. Take your time and we are here together so even if it scares you, we are together. Will you please write down what is your personal relationship to the trauma. Some of you chose your own, some of you chose others, right, so. What is your personal relationship to the trauma that you chose? And please write it down, it really makes a difference whether you write it down or not. Weíll see it later. Did your place of birth figure in your relationship to the trauma? That is, where you were born. Does your age, hold you are or you were, does that figure in your relationship to this trauma? What about your religion? Will you go through a few dimensions like these now, right and weíll ask ourselves, with each one of these identity dimensions how do they figure in your relationship to the trauma which means and the choices that you make about it right. Whether these dimensions influenced your experience.
So letís go one by one, your religion. Your ethnic identity. Your cultural identity. Your political identity. Your racial identity. Your gender. Your sexual orientation. Let us move now to your professional self. If we were to use it for research Iíd ask you to note your professional discipline and itís a good idea to do. What is your professional discipline? How long have you been working in it? What is your professional relationship to the trauma you chose? As I mentioned before it is really good to write it down. Within your professional practice, have you seen survivors of this trauma or their children or their family members? How many? Now if youíre a mental health professional, answer it from the point of view of mental health. Now or any other orientation. What therapeutic modality or any other have you employed? Thatís for mental health professionals. Was it emergency or crises intervention, short term, long term, individual, family, group therapy?
Those of you who are not mental health professionals try to answer these questions from your perspective. For mental health professionals, has it been in patient or out patient basis? Or in an institution or out, whether itís prison or any other. What modality have you found or would find most useful and why? That is if you were - even as a non mental health professional, if you were to work or if you intend to work or you have worked with people with that trauma, what do you think is the best set up? Is this the only victim survivor population you have worked with professionally? And our very last question in this phase. Have you ever been trained to work with victim survivors of trauma? If you have, was it in school or on the job? And if you were trained, what have you found to be the crucial element of your training? Without which you will not feel prepared to do the job. As itís easier for you to figure out, your relationship to the trauma is the most important element in training in my perspective.
Now we will move to the sharing phase. You can take a deep breath and come back to us. So everybody sees everybody, so you donít talk to peopleís backs. This is getting to be much nicer. Thereís a free chair here for anybody who looks at backs. Thereís a chair here. And letís - youíre very far away, come closer. Come join us, donít be outsiders. And this phase of our work, conceptually I call processing event counter transference, which Iíll explain to you, it sounds technical, itís not that technical. For those of you who are not in the mental health professions. Letís make a deal that anything you donít understand, you ask me immediately, okay. Because I donít want you to leave without getting everything you can. And Iíll do the same with you. We have plenty of microphones all over the place, so each one of you can speak to it so everybody hears.
Let me just explain what I mean by event counter transference quickly and then weíll get into the sharing. In my research and thatís where we call it processing the conspiracy of silence. Let me share with you a little bit how Iíve got into this field because you are going to share yours and you should know some about me. When I was a doctoral student in psychology, I actually chose to do my dissitation on the psychology of hope. And I interviewed many many people. I was also teaching at a university at the time and my students interviewed people in the thousand and the idea was to explore the internal experience of hope, okay. It was an experiential study of hope. You see that I believe in experiential things as the best mode of learning. And what we tried to explore is from the minimal challenge to hope, like missing a bus. Or the seemingly minimal challenge to hope because missing a bus if you have a job interview could be a real trauma, you know, so we learn that itís only seemingly that we think things are of small proportions. Thatís one of the things we learn.
But from the minimal to the most oppressive challenge to hope and in those extremes we were interviewing at the time, this is in the Ď60ís okay, itís 30 years ago, itís hard to believe. We were interviewing holocaust survivors, POWís, prisoners of war. Those people who, again seemingly there hopes were totally challenged, okay. And I forgot a major category which was the terminally ill and their families. You remember, this is 30 years ago, none of this was talked about, remember. Those of you who will look at my age, you remember, people didnít talk about "bad things". Life was supposed to be pleasant. Well, and people told me, in fact when I would tell, theyíll say well survivors donít talk. They donít want to talk. Well my experience was rather different. I took upon myself the tough extremes, I didnít want my students to deal with that. It turned out to be a wonderful project because, for example, disabled people took upon themselves to interview these disabled people so all my students got very involved in different aspects. Well, it was when I talked to holocaust survivors that people told me, donít talk to anybody. But actually they wouldnít stop talking. Iíd come to their homes. I believe in working with people in their own homes. Iíd come to their homes, thinking for an hour and Iíd end up staying overnight. They couldnít stop talking. It was as if theyíd been waiting all these years to talk. And in fact, totally uniformly, they said to me that nobody would listen. And in fact, even if people sort of tried to listen, they wouldnít understand. And they sort of concluded to themselves, itís a phrase that I heard so many times I canít tell you, that the only people who can understand me are people who went through the same experience. Iím sure I can see some of you nodding your heads. You know, through my career, you know the more work Iíve done and the more people like you Iíve met, you know it seems like we talk the same language almost, you know, itís quite amazing. Even if the experiences are vastly different. And what hurt me the most at the time, what got me into total outrage - sorry, I talk with my hands, thatís what happened. I was an idealistic graduate student, I believed in the ideals of the profession, helping people and I learned that listening is the most important aspect. But here survivors of, then the worst atrocities that human beings inflicted on others, were telling me that nobody would listen. And in fact, even worse to me that when they went to therapy for any reasons, no necessarily related to the holocaust, in fact they didnít even know, as many of you know, they didnít even know that having been through that had any effects on them. They didnít know that there was a connection. But they told me that even those who went to therapy found that therapy as well wouldnít listen. Now to me that was, I was really hurt, right. I mean these were - this was my profession. I was outraged. And this is because you see the difference between just anyone in society listening to the hurt of others. That makes us good human beings, thatís what kindness is about, right. Moral kindness.
But in addition to moral kindness, when we are professionals, we have a contractual obligation to listen, donít we? When we donít listen we cannot help, we cannot understand, we cannot intervene in a meaningful or helpful way. So in effect, when, as professionals we donít listen, we betray our professional contract, not only our moral or societal contract. That got me totally outraged and what does a young scientist do with outrage, research. So I changed my dissertation from the psychology of hope, I came back to it later on when I did everything else first to the conspiracy of silence. It was trying to learn, to try to understand what is that about.
And at the time, I interviewed all therapists I heard about around the world, in depth, to ask their understanding as to how come this phenomenon happened. What happens to you when you donít listen? What happens inside? Right. What leads you to not listen, to not being able to listen because itís not a moral issue only? I very quickly understood that, gee, itís real hard to listen. Right. So it was not only that. It wasnít like youíre bad people, try to explain to me what badness is happening to you. But how does it happen inside that you start listening, right. What do you do to shut the person up really, right? Like do you change subjects? All kinds of strategy, what happens. All of these people were very highly trained people with experience from five to forty years in the profession. Those of you who are mental health professionals will know the word psycho analytically trained, they went through own training analysis supposedly, they were trained at looking at themselves, right, at introspecting. So I chose to study them because I figured they would be the most skilful at looking at themselves and understanding whatís happening to them inside and help me understand, right, how they participate in the conspiracy of silence and that I believed also that that would shed light on the general conspiracy of silence, right, between survivors and society and children of survivors in society at large. It took a long time and I learned a great deal. I will share with you this afternoon what I have learned in a more systematic way than telling you the story. One of the findings - I found 49 ways in which therapists manage not to listen. We are good at it. And I will share them with you later and also itís been published so - and we have copies so Iím sure that Hlengiwe can help make copies for people who are interested in that research. If I volunteer you wrongly - tell me, or you make copies - in other ways. Confronting the unimaginable, but I need it. I need it now, afterwards. But above and beyond finding that those 49 ways or what we call technically counter transference reactions. I found something else that was very very illuminating, really like, blew my mind so to speak. And that was that people shut their minds off, not necessarily to this particular person that sat in front of them telling the story but their reactions, those reactions, right of dissociating, pushing the things that you are listening away, that the reactions were not so much the person or the persons behaviour as is the original definition of counter transferring. How many of you know what counter transference means? Let me define it. Counter transference was a term coined by Freud, he coined most of the terms in psycho-analysis.
It started really from his concept of transference. Now transference is the ways that the patient or the client, right, relates to the therapist, okay. Now what Freud said is, that person, and it doesnít only, itís not only in the therapeutic situation, okay, itís the way we relate to people, that is not based on the reality of the situation now or on the rational, whatever that means, situation now. But, that those reactions are unconscious, right, they come from our unconscious, they started or they were decided by us in our childhood towards people in our childhood, significant people, primarily our parents, our siblings etc., our caretakers, right, our significant others that we call them. So really what it means is to relate to a person in the here and now, like today as if we were in the then and there and with another person. So, for example, I can relate to you as if you were my mother or my father or my brother in our childhood so it would mean that I am inappropriate today, wouldnít it? Well, counter transference or not so much necessarily inappropriate but Iíll sort of like be off, you know, Iíll be in another place, in another time with another person.
Now, counter transference is the therapists reaction to the patient transferences okay, the therapist is, by the way a human being for anybody who doesnít know and the therapists have the same human tendencies, right. They behave also sometimes as if they were children, with their own parents or sisters or brothers, in another time. But counter transference supposedly originally theoretically made that it was those reactions of the therapist to the transferences of the patient, got it? Okay, I hope you did, itís a little, you know, abstract but I think if we took, if we did examples right now, youíd know exactly what I mean, right.
How many of you have said you know Iím not your mother, stop talking to me like a father, you know. So itís common sense really, except when you put it in technical terms. Okay, so I had those definitions. But when I did the research what I found was that really the therapists were not responding to the persons but the response of not listening was to the story, to the trauma story, okay. So the bad news was that the therapist really neglected the unique individual sitting in front of them. The good news was that I found a way to help train therapists, not at the expense of the patient but ahead of time. What we did this morning, right, is a result of many years of supervision and training. We have tried to find a way for you, for any therapist, but of course itís not only therapists, right to do, to process what I then called event counter transference because if the reaction is to the event, not to the person, is it? Itís to the story of the event, itís to the story of the trauma. Are you with me, do you understand what Iím saying? And I devised this, of course we can improve on it, anybody who has suggestions, I continuously try to improve. I found this to be a very good way to confront our own reactions, right, and to process them to the trauma, prior to going and working with somebody and not listening to them. And what weíve done this morning really is try to come in touch with how each one of us, and by the way I do this very often. Every time Iím stuck, every time I find myself, my mind is wandering or I canít stand hearing or at an impasse, I do this exercise with myself. It opens you up. One of my students said itís like an inner shower, you know, you clean up inside. You open all the veins inside again to listen, you open the ears or the heart or the head, wherever it is that you say, please, I donít want to hear this, this is too much for me etc. And of course the assumption is that our inability to listen or our not listening is contingent on who we are, at any particular point in time. In fact, if we did the same exercise, Friday afternoon, after our workshop, youíll see that you respond differently. Youíll write differently, youíll draw differently. You may choose another trauma. Okay.
So this is not where - you may be stuck on this one today but at different times you may choose something else and respond to it differently. So this is where the training exercise is at now. We called it today, right, the conspiracy of silence and of course the conspiracy of silence, as I mentioned exists between survivors in society, itís exists within the survivorsí families as weíll discuss tomorrow and what we began with is the internal or psychological conspiracy of silence, right, between you and yourself, within ourselves. The next phase is sharing with each other.
Just to explain before I open the floor to all of you so that you are with me on this, the way I chose the sequence to do it, right, from the drawing to the words, to then place it in the memory, right, and then place it in inter personal relationship between you and others, right, and then inside between you and yourself, right, and then to analyse the different dimensions, how the different dimensions, the identity dimensions effect our relationship to the trauma, right. And only the last was your professional self. Did you follow that?
In some ways, what Iíve done, what weíve done this morning was to traumatise you, isnít it? That is to re-live through a trauma. And I know, Iíve seen, you know, some of you were in pain and when I do that of course we are touching on painful areas of ourself. But you see, so I apologise for that. And of course, the idea here for training rather than to inflict harm and we are sharing and we are in a group, so weíll be able to see how to work through that. But of course if you think of yourself in a clinical situation or as a care giver of any kind, that is what the patientís story does to you, doesnít it? It traumatises you, whether you know it or not. He or she described events so you see them, right, thatís the imagery. You are listening to words, you are seeing by the reactions, right. So isnít it better to do it this way rather than to sit with a patient and not be able to listen? And it makes the point indeed, that trauma work is painful. And when we come to the professional issues of course a lot of us have chosen trauma work because we were traumatised. In some ways having been traumatised trained us the best way to work with trauma. In some other ways it crippled us from working unless we integrate our trauma, right, unless we know what to do with it internally, we canít really help anybody else. We can say what I call me too, me too, me too, me too. I call it the "me too" phase. But thatís just the beginning of things, right, to really integrate trauma, thereís a lot more involved. So letís now do it together. How about sharing.
There is no particular order here so, go ahead. I see you sizing up each other here. Thatís exactly what trauma victims do when they come to therapy, they first size you up. Okay, so letís size each other first. So thatís the part of the conspiracy of silence from the point of view of the sharer, right. Youíre not speaking. You want to talk about why youíre not speaking first? Come on.
SPEAKER 1: There are two things, maybe thereís a .....
DR DANIEL: I think if you say at least your first name, you all know my name so itís unfair. Go ahead.
DOUGLAS: Iím Douglas. Maybe there are two reasons. One is, thereís a vulnerability about it, I donít know half the people, they donít know me. Thereís a couple of people I may know and then I think in a big group itís always very very difficult to know that youíre safe and youíre secure and thereís a third reason, I feel that my personal trauma is perhaps a lot less significant than other peoplesí trauma.
DR DANIEL: Thanks. Anybody, go ahead, speak to the mike. The mikes are all over the place so just grab them.
MS MANGELE MKWASA: I think one of the reasons is that having re-experienced and re-lived the trauma just a few minutes ago, you get into a state where you feel you want to protect yourself from further vulnerability, you know, it's still too painful to start sharing it and you don't want to be overcome by the feelings, especially in a group of this size. So in a way it's protective, that's the way.
JOHANNA: Most of my trauma is sort of secondary trauma but that doesn't make it any less traumatic, I think. But I think what also happens if you see, I'm a psychologist so I see a lot of trauma. What happens is that somehow, I find it goes to a very deep place and to drag is out from there and the conspiracy of silence is not only between the client and the helper but also between the helper and their environment. So I've become used to not talking about it, that it's actually gone into a very deep place and I don't know if I can or want to get it out.
GEOFF: I think, aside from the purely psychological issues that are going on here, this particular context, political context, we come from a history of silence essentially. We come from a history of several decades, probably more than that where people have not been able to express themselves publicly, where people have not felt safe. So I think there's a sort of a cloud hanging over this whole gathering which derives from the sort of political background from which we all come and which I think has had an incredible influence on South Africans in general, of all persuasions, of all colours, of all ethnic groups, so the psychological aspects are not operating by themselves here. There is this tremendous cloud of denial. I mean, whites, for decades in order to get up in the morning and look themselves in the mirror had to deny a lot of the reality around them just to kind of get through the day without acknowledging what was going on around them or the basis of the lives and the same applies on the black side and I think that's a big factor that operates here as well. And I don't know how one takes that into account but I have that feeling that that's a strong element here.
DR DANIEL: That's just remember that psychology is a psychological aspect is never in isolation, it's always related to the rest of the dimensions of the person. That's why we went through all of those dimensions, right. Absolutely.
MS MKHIZE: Well, personally I'm quiet because somehow the exercise scared me. I don't know why. I was prepared. I saw yesterday the - everything, I knew in my mind that this is how you're going to start but I just got scared. When you said we should write, I noted I just found myself saying nothing. There were things which came, experiences which came to my mind but I just said nothing and I sort of went on to say, it's unnecessary for people to suffer but somehow my mind just refused to articulate a specific traumatic experience but they were there in my mind, so my silence is out of fear, which I can't explain.
HEATHER: I think one of the aspects to my conspiracy of silence with the exercise in the beginning actually going through it was that, just to go back to areas of pain in my life and what if I burst out into uncontrollable sobs while we were doing it and how would I contain myself and would it be stupid because everyone else looked so together while doing it. So I think that was something that added to the conspiracy of silence.
PATRICK: I think that to me that my silence comes from a deep feeling of denial that though these things happened, I don't really want to talk about them. I don't want to face my past. I want to shut out a lot of things, you know. From myself and of course for the group too, I mean I don't want the group, you know, to even to know about those areas that I'm not quite comfortable about.
DR DANIEL: Why?
PATRICK: I don't know, it's that denial that I'm talking about.
DR DANIEL: Could you ask yourselves what your fantasy about ... we've heard some it, you know the fear that if I start crying, it will be forever, if I start screaming, you know, this room will be shattered or the more, as I call it the polite stuff, you know, being afraid and people will think I'm stupid or this or that. Let's try to put that away at least because that's the silly stuff, right. You know, it's like, people will think I'm stupid, doesn't quite belong in this discussion because there's nothing that can be stupid here. Could you have other fantasies about what will happen if you shared.
PATRICK: I don't really know how others will receive my story.
DR DANIEL: How do ....
PATRICK: Well they may say, well this is stupid.
DR DANIEL: Is this a South African thing, to call everything stupid?
PATRICK: Ya, and you see the other thing is this that we really come- it is true what somebody said, you know, what Geoff said, we really come from a tradition, I mean when I grew up, I mean I would be doing something perhaps naughty or something like that and a lot of us come from a tradition where you know, if you were given a slap by your mother or something like that, the next thing is "shut up", you have your tears running down, then you have to shut up, right. And then secondly, it's also from, I mean my Dad used to say, okay, you are a man, it's going to be okay, you know, sort of thing, you know. We don't talk about these things, okay.
DR DANIEL: Thank you. You see, already we have a social dimension. This stupid business. We have the transference dimension. My mother said that and therefore, she's still here in the room doing that. All your mothers are here and your fathers. And all the political figures and the oppression and apartheid is in the room. And rightly so. See silence is a vehicle of oppression, isn't it? and it's in the room with us. The oppression is still in the room with us. We are still keeping it going. We are keeping the oppression here in this room with us. So even though apartheid or whatever other trauma you chose is over, we are keeping it up. Very important, that's how we hang on. So while we say we are afraid of something, that something is .. we keep with us. And that's why, for example when we talk and we talk about treatment throughout, right, the three days. But that's how we perpetuate the trauma, okay. So please keep that in mind. That actually everything you've said, perpetuates the trauma. Silence is an integral part of the trauma. Particularly, the trauma that many of you have experienced, okay. So let's just be aware of that and that we are still getting into that really. Please ...
MS KOSI: My name is Kosi. Suffering in silence, it's terrible. When I wanted to tell about the torture I received. It was that being the victim, those who tortured me would laugh at me and feel so big that they managed to destroy me. Now half the time I can't just express myself because I felt so humiliated, especially when at one stage I had a stroke and a heart attack and I was - even when I was released I depended on my people and there are quite a lot of things which comes to my mind whenever and I can't understand why a human being can go that far, especially that I was detained with a baby of two years and I was tortured in front of her.
DR DANIEL: Have you talked to people about it? You're saying the silence is torture itself, right? That the suffering in silence is terrible. Have you shared? What is your experience of that?
MS KOSI: I do share. I have been sharing it for the last fifteen years. When I became better. I had to learn to walk and talk. I had to share it with my husband who also underwent the same thing but up to, to date, my daughter, she suffers from that trauma because I only met her when she was three years old. Every time, every year, between October and November even at school, she suffers a lot, it's psychological because she can't explain why.
DR DANIEL: What happened between October and November?
MS KOSI: It is when I was detained with her and they took her away from me. After four days.
DR DANIEL: Go ahead.
MS KOSI: Excuse me. It is another thing again is that my husband was also detained. The whole family was sort of destroyed. Every now and then, it becomes too much and I feel ....
DR DANIEL: How?
MS KOSI: Especially when - seeing that I'm back home now after being in exile all this time. I look at everybody, especially white people, although I haven't been able to reconcile myself to the whole thing, you know, whenever, just as one would, and I feel so terrible about it.
DR DANIEL: Reconcile yourself to what, exactly?
MS KOSI: That everything is over. That apartheid is dead or something like that.
DR DANIEL: Can you say more about that?
KOSI: What worries me is that why so many atrocities were committed and that today everything is over and most people behave as if nothing has happened.
DR DANIEL: I'm wondering what the rest of you feel about what we just heard. ...(Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: I just had an automatic response to what I shared. There was just an automatic response which maybe it's important to share. The sharing we've just had for some of us who hear people time and again I find myself just getting over involved in what has been shared.
DR DANIEL: What is over involved?
UNKNOWN: Somehow in my mind, getting into the ...(inaudible), struggling with the issues that he is raising.
DR DANIEL: And how do you feel?
UNKNOWN: Feeling, getting angry and just - I was sharing about a dream I had recently that I found myself being the only one who had been reconciled and the whole country has reconciled ...(inaudible).
DR DANIEL: It looks like a lot of people find that funny. How many of you think that the whole country is reconciled? Look around will you please. Please turn and look around. If anybody raised their hand. It's very important, isn't it? That each one of you maybe walking around thinking that everybody else has reconciled but you. And that's part of what the conspiracy of silence does. It keeps you lonely. It keeps you lonely and isolated. I don't think you're the only one who felt your anger. Go ahead please.
MR KHUMALO: When you say, it keeps you lonely. Maybe I don't understand you or our interpretation is not the same. Why I'm saying this is because, a person who have been traumatised, he's no more at easy with the world and then he even fail to trust another human being and then ....
DR DANIEL: Which is also part of the loneliness and perpetuates the conspiracy of silence. You're totally right.
MR KHUMALO: Okay. And then the lady was talking about something which happened something like fifteen years back. But talking about it, it's so fresh, it's like something which happened yesterday.
DR DANIEL: That's correct. When we don't integrate the trauma it keeps with us as if it happened yesterday or today. It's absolutely right. Those areas of ourselves that we have not healed. That we have not integrated, feel to us as if they're still with us, totally fresh, it is exactly what you said.
MR KHUMALO: Yes. We do not. Let me say personally. I do want to do away with them but it's so difficult. And then I have tried the best and the means, I have tried several times to deal with the trauma.
DR DANIEL: How?
MR KHUMALO: I'm still under a clinical psychology.
DR DANIEL: Wonderful.
MR KHUMALO: It's more than six years now. And I have tried other means too.
DR DANIEL: Like?
MR KHUMALO: A group counselling. Where we talk about our past. But what happens is this, you might feel at ease after talking but when you leave the place. It comes back again. Starts afresh. And then I have read some of the books, like Mans Search for Meaning and the other one by Primo Levy. At the end Primo Levy, end of committing society. And I said to myself, even a person of his kind, he committed society, what about me. Those are the questions which still bothers me. Thank you.
DR DANIEL: A line of the questions that you are bringing up, we will deal with throughout the three days, okay. So don't feel that if we don't give answers immediately, we won't confront them, we absolutely will. And if we don't, you force me to, okay? I just want to say, I'm very moved that you have read Mans Search for Meaning and ...(inaudible) Levy's book. Makes me feel closer to you. I knew both of them. Both Victor Frankel and Primo Levy. Victor Frankel just died two weeks ago. At a very ripe old age. Go ahead.
MR SONTORI: I'm from a farm. One other thing is lack of confidence and self esteem. Ya, the reason why I'm saying that, this, it is because, particularly on the black side, the past regime made us to believe, actually we were labelled, you'll hear words like stupid kaffir. And then the person who is saying that is the person who is having an authority. Now having said that, I mean, I understand myself as a black person that I have nothing maybe to say or anything that I'm doing it could not be taken into consideration because of, you know, such word and the way we were made to believe. The way we were labelled. Then that actually evolved something which we called inferiority complex. Then in most cases it kept me for quite a long time to be silenced. Thank you very much.
DR DANIEL: And as long as you keep those voices with you and as long as you let them keep you down, you are maintaining them. You see what Iím saying. We are in control of what happens inside ourselves, nobody else is. Sometimes because of terrible conditions, such as apartheid or other oppressive conditions, right, or because we are helpless as little children. As little children we are dependant and helpless. We canít go fetch food if we are hungry. Or other things. Then those voices keep us down, right. They have power over us and we internalise those voices, they become part of who we are. So you no longer say, well, this person said that to me. As he was listening too. Does he really have the authority or just because he is white, you see, what makes for an authority, you see, that condition you donít question. So you take in those voices and they sit there and keep you down and as long as we maintain those voices inside and keep giving them the power, they still do. But part of why we did the exercise between you and yourself, is to say that whatever is inside, is up to you. Itís easy to say, I know, itís harder to really believe it and really work like that and live like that. But try to keep that in mind. And thereís always the question about every trauma. Why is it that we hold onto it too? And we will touch upon that throughout these three days because we also hang onto the traumas. And it serves us, it serves our self esteem sometimes to hang onto the trauma. Weíll talk about that. This is very serious and complicated. Go ahead please Geoff.
MS NONGYEBO: The exercise that we have gone through this morning brought back some kind of memories that I never thought are still with me today. As a teenager in the Ď76, I lost a boyfriend. Due to cultural kind of situation I couldnít share this with my parents or my grandmother. I shared a lot with my friends. But affirming this conspiracy of silence, looking back at my experience it does come back in one way or another. Because as a student I found myself writing things that were my deep pain and some of which I couldnít defend, when I had to account why you wrote this kind of essay, you know, somewhere along the line I will write how I feel about Afrikaans, which contributed to this to a point where I lost this person. So I want to affirm that some cultural aspect does inhibit, does contribute towards this conspiracy of silence. But I think with me, much as I didnít talk much about it as I was growing up but I was somehow motivated to do a lot of things. When I look back through this experience that we have done, I think a lot of it I could attribute to that kind of silence I kept with myself.
MR DAWETI: I would like to ask, in your field of study on an international level if there is any indication that the people that were oppressive to other people in America against the Indians, in Australia against the Aborigines, and in Europe in the days of slavery at the early turn of the century, in Germany recently with the second world war against the Jews, having gone through the activities and the evil activities that were perpetrated against whomsoever, whether it was Jewish people or whether it was Africans or whether it was the Indians and so on and so forth and having made peace with themselves and Iím talking specifically the Germans against the Jews which is a current thing, have the German people, as a nation, as a society come to terms with their evil activities of the holocaust to the extent that those terms of reconciliation have been accepted by the German people at large, not just the individual Adolf Hitler and company but the society, the people, the ordinary people and I ask this because the feeling that is general here in South Africa is that perhaps the reconciliation is being done on a one sided basis by people whoíve been victims who have suffered a lot of personal and a lot of societal and family and national losses and values to the point where their lives are destroyed without any hope of bringing it back and the feeling is that the people who were the oppressors, largely the Afrikaners primarily couldnít give a damn even today as we speak as a society, as a nation. They donít see why they should give an allegiance to the new South Africa and itís cause and all that it stands for, regardless of the fact that they also benefit because in retrospect they also were freed from the psychological oppression that that obtained. So that therefore, the situation at hand now is that you will find at various Truth and Reconciliation Hearings throughout the country, you will find various individuals whoíll own up and say yes, I was a bad policeman, yes, I did this, yes, I did that, Iím terribly sorry, please forgive me. But if you go beyond that, in the work places currently, you will find that ordinary Afrikaans people, ordinary English speaking South Africans basically couldnít give a damn. Their attitude is such that, I donít owe you anything, this is my life and what happened, happened. Therefore on a National basis, how can your experience draw these people into a situation where the African people who have borne the brunt of all the suffering can see on a National level that the white people are now humble. They now see themselves as African, in Africa and they now see themselves as part of the solution to a humble co-existence and they do not have an arrogant attitude that says, "I have nothing to give to these people and/or, I have nothing to kind of pay for the past and basically what happened, happened and cíest la vie". Thank you.
DR DANIEL: Iím a little torn because this is the part of the sharing, the exercise and you raised questions that really more belong, in terms of substance, to our discussions this afternoon and the next two days. But I donít want just to say ... I donít want to leave you totally hanging because I know that your question represents many other people. So just very briefly, the Germans have only recently begun to truly confront the past. There have been attempts here and there for years after the war, high school books did not include anything about the holocaust. History books I mean. Hitler was described as the person who built the ?????. So the conspiracy of silence existed throughout the world and most deeply in Germany, in fact thereís a good book that came, by mental health professionals, that came out in the last few years, itís called - remind me tomorrow, Iíll tell you okay, when we talk about the inter generational transmission of trauma we will touch upon it. In fact my next book thatís coming out in three months or so is called, International Hand Book of Multi Generational Legacies of Trauma and it covers thirty two different societies, different societies that underwent similar trauma. So, and there are many complex issues that come up. I donít even want to say answers. But I think if you expect, I think thereís a way in which the word reconciliation took on a life of itís own here. Time for tea. Weíve discussed this a little bit in the last few days, you see, so what I said is the word reconciliation somehow took on an image of itís own. In fact we can do our exercise on the word reconciliation for you to draw, what do you think reconciliation means. Because Iím sure that half this room means totally different things than the other half when you say reconciliation. It has a life of itís own. But it also has a magic in a sense thatís really false. Somehow you think and I think thatís ..... what is your name again, remind me?
MS KOSI: Kosi.
DR DANIEL: What Kosi said, you know, everybody is reconciled but I donít feel reconciled. I think she spoke very well. Reconciliation is a process, itís not an outcome. Reconciliation is not a fact, itís a process that we keep working at. Okay, please remember that. Fifty years after World War 2, we are still coming up with new findings about what the Germans did to the Jewish people and what others did as well. So if your expectation, which is totally understandable, right, letís be over with, it was terrible, I want to start a new life and to do a good life etc. Itís very understandable the wish, but itís - as a wish itís understandable. As a process it gets you into trouble because you have to respect the process of healing. You know I often say to the people I work with, you know I have a lot of clients in my house, I need like, live things around and I always say, you know, if you beat up this plant to grow faster, what will happen to it, it will die. When you raise plants you have the respect to take the time to grow, to give the right kind of water, the right kind - right, sunshine, you place it the right way. You have to have the same respect for the growth of you and of your country and there are many elements involved in the process. Weíll talk about it, okay. But donít get yourself stuck saying, well this reconciliation has to be now, it canít.
MR DAWETI: Inaudible
DR DANIEL: Weíve talked about that. See, you want a quick answer. What I can say to you is, with goodwill and with hard work, there is hope. Thatís really your bottom line question, is there hope out of this? And if not in one generation then in the next. People try a whole lot of things and, but as long as you maintain the conspiracy of silence thereíll be no movement. For example, we have groups of children of Nazis and children of survivors. In fact, one of the people ...(inaudible) who started it, about 15 years ago, only 15 years ago, 35 years later, came to this country and in fact heís trying to create something similar here. Okay, so, but again, itís about talking to each other. Itís about sharing with each other and itís about confronting all the pain and the mourning that both have to go through, okay. Drink tea and come back.
DR DANIEL: - view weíre sharing, during the break I saw that and so I think we deprived the group as a whole from the sharing that was going on. During the break, I forgot to tell you not to discuss it during the breaks, itís my fault but I think itís also, I sort of figured you wanted to do that anyhow. So would you just share with us some of what youíve shared with each other outside so we will all be wiser for it because the idea of sharing everything with the group is so that everybody learns from everyone else, right. So please whatever it is, your thoughts during the break and things you wanted to add to us please, so everybody can learn. Go ahead Geoff.
GEOFF: I just wanted to say something which sprang from what two people have said, that was Kosi, earlier on and then somebody back here. It seems that if one talks ....
DR DANIEL: May I suggest that you repeat your names because I donít want this room to be somebody. So, what was your name?
MR DAWETI: Vusele.
GEOFF: Vusele and Kosi. It seems that in any trauma situation, healing can take place possibly in two different ways or both, possibly they both have to happen. One is alone, with oneself or sharing with other people. The other one is somehow with the perpetrator. And I think it touches on a very important issue which Kosi raised some time ago about the difficulty of understanding that people could have done something like that to her and this incredible sort of puzzle in oneís mind about how could people behave like this and most, if one looks certainly at the Jewish religion or most religions in fact would say that reconciliation can only take place truly when the perpetrator comes to the victim in some way and thereís an acknowledgement, whatever form it takes and a recognition that something was done here which was horrific or whatever it was. And I think, something that disturbs me tremendously and I get the sense that itís very clear amongst the people here, people have referred to it. Thereís a, there isnít a - that reconciliation in this country is a one-sided process. Thereís the sense in this country that itís a one-sided process. The white people of this country have not answered in kind and I can certainly confirm that around the dinner tables where I sit, you know, generally thereís a feeling, oh, come on, letís just get on with life, whatís done is done, the past is the past. There isnít even a recognition that something horrific was done or that people have some sort of personal responsibility here. So I donít know what Iím trying to - Iím not trying to say anything specific really but the role of the perpetrator in the process of healing, to me seems crucial and until somebody can look you in the eye and say, you know, I did this horrific thing and I suppose what Iím trying to ask is in the absence of that, what are the possibilities for healing. In the absence of the perpetrators in some way coming forward with an acknowledgement of what had happened with some reaching out of the hand. What are the possibilities of healing and I suppose the Jewish experience, to some extent, provides some illustrations because the German people as a whole did not, as you pointed out for 35 years or more come forward with that, in any grand sense but itís complex, so the point Iím just asking or raising really, what is the role of the perpetrator, what is the necessary role of the perpetrator in the process of healing?
DR DANIEL: Friday, we will talk about restitution, reparation, rehabilitation and we will touch upon those issues directly okay, so I donít want to jump the gun and I donít want, as I said to create the impression that thereís anything easy about this. There isnít. The German people, while they didnít confront, in a full way what they have done, they did pay a great deal of reparations to the Jewish people and the Jewish State, now itís true, it was the allies agreement, the master plan, it was not the Germans willing, saying please take to feel better. But the Germans concurred. Perhaps at the beginning because they had no choice and later I think they wanted to atone in some ways. I think they did something else. They created one of the strongest democracies in the world. So one thing is - you see I get upset when I talk about that. So, as you see already, there are two different things, right, one is the reparation agreements and changing their own country to a democracy and they keep to it extremely sensitively and very responsibly. They are extremely sensitive to any signs of the return, any neo nazi signs or any right signs of oppression, new oppressions. I donít want to make it sound like theyíve done the job, they havenít, these are just different attempts at tackling it. For years I used to say to them and to others that the Jews, we cannot do the whole integration as long as the Germans donít explain to us the holocaust. We cannot explain it, they did it. So when you ask about the perpetrator, youíre right. The victims do not get it unless they have lived with the perpetrators long enough as some of you have and you do get it because you know them. So as long as the Germans donít explain to us how they gave rise to Nazis and did what they did, the holocaust would not be understandable.
I totally agree then with Geoff that the explanation has to come from the perpetrator and the full understanding of the effect must be mutual. Itís a long process guys, see, if Iím giving you any message is, donít expect it to happen in a day. How long was apartheid?
AUDIENCE: More than fifty years.
DR DANIEL: More than fifty years, well, three hundred years. I mean the blacks in America say, you know, slavery was 400 years. What do you expect in two years to get over it? Start to become more compassionate and more kind with yourself. Just as you would be with that plant, that I said before. You have to take your time do it right. And it wonít be easy. And itís - and donít for a moment think that because the perpetrator perpetrated, the perpetrator has an easy understanding. They have to learn themselves a whole lot to truly understand how they did, what they did, how they could. Right, you said, how could they, right? I am absolutely certain that they couldnít explain it easily. So letís keep that you know, as an open question for us to keep asking, okay. Did I answer any of your questions? So, yes, Kosi, speak to the mike. Not close, just ....
KOSI: I donít know, itís just a thought that it was a bit better in a way between the Germans and the Jews that they didnít remain in Germany. They have got a State now, they are very far from these people. I am here, they are here, for ever and ever. So everyday, just like the other time, I got very ill when I came back here. I was admitted in hospital. My heart works one side and the other side and I had pneumonia, I was critically ill and then the day I was discharged, my husband came for me. We were walking slowly towards the bus stop. Suddenly there were cars moving the same way where we were getting to a bus stop.
One time there was a Volkswagen, there was such a big bang and I went down and my husband kept going, he said mm, ...(inaudible) also. So, and then I heard something passing next to my head where I was. If I didnít do this, only to discover that it was a bullet which struck a wall and then when I looked back only to find that there is nobody behind us and there was this car moving slowly and there was such laughter and there was the gun pointing out of the window. They were laughing at us the way I got a shock. Now all these things because Iím here and these people are here. They havenít changed. I mean, the difference is just there that at least the Jews went back to Israel or whatever, whoever Jew is still in Germany, it became better and these people ......
DR DANIEL: Victims groups always do that, everybody else is better, you know. You are the only one and the one who suffers most and in a personal sense and you make sense, itís true, your suffering is totally unique and itís yours and because thatís the suffering you suffer, it looks much bigger than anybody elseís. So itís perfectly understandable. I will spend time in those kind of competitions, they just make you feel worse really, right.
But, let me correct some of your impressions, well, bottom line, you are right in effect, the Jews couldnít find, couldnít find a place in Europe that was the place that they were murdered and everyone betrayed them. So itís not that they had this wonderful opportunity, you know, nobody wanted them anyhow. But they did find their own land. There was Jews who did remain in Europe though and some remained in Germany. You are right in the long term that in effect when people were compared in different countries, those who remained in Germany which was the country of the perpetrators suffered more, longer term. So I appreciate very much what youíre saying. However there are other peoples who are in their own lands. Your struggle is different, your struggle is to have a mutual land together, right. So itís a different struggle, itís not better or worse. Itís a different struggle and in that you are more similar for example to the blacks in the United States, right. Who after slavery had to create mutual ways of living together. And to other countries with internal strife, that tried to come to terms with living together. Itís funny for me that you all laughed, you know, some of you laughed when you said that, you know, it would be wonderful just to get rid of the problem, wouldnít it? Itís one ...(inaudible), you know, if we only separate it, we wonít have this problem. Easy solutions, I have news for ya, doesnít work really. If you have any idea that because Jews left Europe or Germany, got rid of their sense of victimisation or of their dramatic past, or didnít have to struggle with a traumatic past and attempt to integrate it, donít have any such illusions. I work with people who struggle on a daily basis with that and not only them but their children and their grandchildren. So, yes, we are dealing with different fantasies as to how easy, fix, you know, if we only left the country, if they only left the country, if we only - we wouldnít have to confront this, no, itís inside. And the real struggle is inside.
KOSI: If only they can reconcile with us, it seems as if itís one sided.
DR DANIEL: I understand your feeling and many survivors felt that for years of the holocaust, ya. Itís not going to be easy and itís not going to be quick. See, so when you say, if only, and what I hear is, please fast. Doesnít happen that way, it simply doesnít. You see what - you were physically - if we broke a leg today. How long will you expect it to take to heal? What would you do about it? Come on, you know how to deal with a broken leg. Would you be able to run? Would you be able to dance, tonight, next week? It takes time. Will the pain go away right away, no. Can you put it in the closet and go dance with your other leg? See, try to be kinder. In a sense, when you say that, if they only just left, you know ...... Being a refugee is not easy either you know. Resettlement is not easy either. Moving to a country where you donít know the language, where you donít know the culture, that may not like you either, Iím talking about us, those people you envy. So keep all of that, please. You can put it on the table, I think it will work.
SPEAKER 2: My feeling is that what Kosi is highlighting for me is the fear and feeling of being betrayed and re-violated by the same people who have done it to you before. Resulting in secondary trauma that doesnít stop as long as you have the people around you and they continue to violate you even at the point where you open yourself to reconciliation, you feel betrayed time and again, again. I think thatís even much more painful than the initial trauma and violation. I hear you highlighting the point as well that as long as people are here, as long as they are not prepared to reconcile, as long as they engage in the same activities they did last time, the victims will have this perpetual sadly of re-violating ....... ...(inaudible)
DR DANIEL: I agree and I totally empathise with that. I still believe, I still believe, Kosi, I still believe that internal work must be done no matter what the outside does, okay. So please remember that and donít give that up because nobody will grow, do the job of growing for you. With or without them around. Nobody will do the job of growing for you. Itís a very personal choice. Itís a very internal one and I think itís very easy to fall because it was such a multi dimensional trauma, right. It touched on every dimension of life, didnít it? Right. Do you follow what Iím saying? It touched every aspect of life. Itís so complex that itís easy to just try to put it all on one dimension on or another, you know, if, only on the political or only on the social or only on the individual. All of them have to be worked on, okay. And one doesnít replace the other. The political work does not replace the personal work or the family work or the community work, okay and the other way round too. And that I agree with you totally. The internal work does not replace the political change, the social change. All of them are necessary, okay. So letís keep that in mind. Itís a very complex, very complex job we have. Life is complicated in general. Okay. So letís just not substitute one for the other, letís remember that the whole thing has to be taken care of and Friday you will see, Iíll sort of share with you the system of incorporating all of these dimensions together. Weíll sort of do it as a process as weíre doing it. Please, what is your name? Do you have one of those, ya?
EDDIE: In 1985, on a project that was called "Confronting the Past in Justice", ten South Africans, across the spectrum of South African society, predominantly ..........
DR DANIEL: Itís wonderful to see how much interaction is going on here. Who is here that spoke to me at lunch and I made him promise that he will, thatís what I get, I get promises and then the person doesnít come. Well, were you the one? No. Okay, why wonít we continue?
SPEAKER 3: I just want to know if there is any Jew member is at the house? If there are, I want to know whether there are Jews who benefited out of what happened during the holocaust and concentration camp.
DR DANIEL: Benefited how?
SPEAKER 3: In this sense. You see our situation in South Africa is different. We are all oppressed. But out of the oppression, some economically managed to benefit out of it. Letís say, for an example, there was a police, his name, Mr Rama, what is his name now? The most known who kills the people. Mammasela. And then, we talk of reconciliation and the most of the victims, economically they are nowhere to be counted but in his pocket heís having more than R600 000.00 which he benefited during the negotiations. So it was an example of Mamasela. To some ordinary people in the past when we talk about apartheid, you are an enemy. Same black people and then letís come to the issue of school kids. They were always told that they should not be friends with such and such a people Ďcause look whatís happened to Mandela, heís in jail. You also want to rot in jail. So it divided us, this thing and then while some were suffering ........
DR DANIEL: You talking within the black community?
SPEAKER 3: Yes, in the black community. While some were in jail, some were in exile, some were carrying on with their education, life was normal for them. We came back home, those who never took part in the whole process, they are above now and then it brings so much division among the blacks because those who suffered are a joke today to some people because they went to exile, they went to jail but they came back still empty handed. But well, at times we do have to give a national a first priority but the situation here is more difficult which brings more painful to the victims because itís so painful for the victims to relate their stories to the people who donít know nothing about pain or suffering. And then if you relate your story to such a person, you wonít repeat your story ten times, he will be tired of you. And he will avoid you wherever you want to relate your stories. I donít know whether you are with me. So the situation with the Jews, they were all persecuted, all, none. So we have two different situation here. I donít know whether you understand me.
DR DANIEL: Iím not sure. Youíre saying that part of your situation is that you had different factions and itís difficult to communicate between the different factions in your own community.
SPEAKER 3: Iím saying those who participated. And those who believed that, who believed in the white man. Who once said, you will never throw out the white government here, in this country. There are those people who used to believe in that sense. So there are those who suffered, some lost breadwinners and then they are still neighbours with those who benefited out of apartheid. Today, those who suffered, they are a joke because there isnít much contribution to their families for what they have done or their children have done.
SPEAKER 4: I think here weíll come with a problem because now in South Africa people are pinpointing each other, saying that you benefited and you didnít benefit. According to my experience no - all the South Africans suffered during the apartheid system. Even those who never toyi- toyied or those who never went to exile or those whose families or one of the family member was not killed, was killed or not killed.
Iíll make you an example, my father said to me last, we were just talking about the past and he said, you donít know my child the humiliation that we went through when we went to take the pass. He said to me they would go there and then one or - the males and then they were supposed to be naked and he said there were 30 year olds and the 15 year olds and the 30 year olds or itís a doctor or what, heíll put the injection. I donít know what the injection was on their bums and then theyíll go and register and with their trousers, their pants on their hands and then the next thing theyíll go and put on their pants and go somewhere else. And all that process was a humiliation for them and because he was black and he was a South African I donít think just because he never went to exile then nothing happened to him and according to my experience at schools, the tear gas, the education that we got, now Iím a black woman, Iím not driving a Porsche car, Iím not as, what word can I use, Iím not, I donít have everything that a white woman of my age has got because Iím black and this is what I always say when I go to places and I suffer, I say, just because Iím black, the past is still behind me, itís still following me, Iím suffering wherever I go and now when you say that nobody ever suffered I think youíre getting it wrong in that sense because all South Africans, every South African suffered.
Now if youíre saying that I will say Bishop Tutu took his kids to America, now it means he didnít suffer, his kids got a better education and we will be busy pinpointing at each other, saying you benefited because of one, two three. ...(inaudible) South Africans have suffered like the Jews.
SPEAKER 2: Thank you, but I wish to differ with you. I made an example with Mamasela. Now, letís say, to be fair and honest, why Mamasela canít take some of his money and give it to the poor. He made, if I can make an example, he made the kids to kill themself. He gave them a booby trapped hand grenade so that immediately they took the pin out, it should just bomb immediately. And then some are crippled, as I said, he is earning something like 600 000 why canít he benefit for the future of those children. Like the whites, turning around, who benefited out of apartheid? Why canít they help us to take our kids to school. To show a remorse that really we are sorry about the situation. Because most people are saying, we didnít know. Some were bystanders. And then my own opinion, I hate bystanders more than the perpetrators, thatís how I view things because thereís nothing like people didnít know what was happening in the country, see. Iím sorry. We wonít be the same. We are unique. So I wonít change my standpoint. Thank you.
DR DANIEL: You didnít really need the answer about the Jewish people, right? Because what we are talking about is the situation here and how you feel. But you are right, it was different. We were all up for extermination and the people who had more strength were simply doing work until they couldnít any more and they were killed too. But I think, as I said before, thereís something very interesting going on and itís all over the world, really. People are, itís not so much, the matter of pointing fingers, itís more competing for the place or maybe trying to find the place, okay in the big picture of things. Where do I stand in this? So you suffered less, you suffered more, you know. You find that between the sexual abuse survivors and the battered wives and you find that between different groups and within the groups. And I think part of the issue is that there is so much anger that, thereís so much anger on one hand and the perpetrators, so to speak are not there to be angry at. So some of the anger goes inside within the community against each other within families.
And that really leads me to that comment at lunch that - I canít find him - he made a good point and then he left. He spoke about what does reconciliation really mean and the way he was speaking about reconciliation, does it mean really that we just close the door on all these feelings that are going on. And I think what is going on is a lot of rancour in part and I think we should attend to it. But tomorrow, I promise you Iíll quote you "unknown" who is a holocaust survivor about bystanders. Go ahead.
KOSI: I just wanted to share with you how it came about that I am, this situation today. More specially to try and meet brother Eddie over there. When I was detained, it wasnít the first time. Ď77 I was detained with a 4 year old when so many things happened but, 1981 when I was detained, atrocities were taking another form. It was worse than before. At first I reached 4 stages. The first stage was the fear, the fright, I was so terrified, what is going to happen to me. What is going to happen to my baby? What is going to happen to my husband? And my other kids whom I didnít know where they were, whether they were still alive because we had heard how they were detained and buried somewhere in all the borders of South Africa. I was so frightened, itís beyond understanding. The fear was, "whatís going to happen to me"? Iíd seen people who were detained, broken, others, you know, beyond recognition. Now what is going to happen to me? Am I going to confess and tell lies? Am I going to get mad? Am I going to die? What is to die? Will I go to hell? Will I go to heaven? Will I, you know, do things which are not me? That fright is terrible and then I past that stage. I came to the second stage which is self pity. I think once we have reached that stage of self pity, itís so terrible because you feel, I was even saying, "please God," in solitary confinement, "please Lord I have been such a good girl throughout my life, I have seen all my life, all my mistakes, all the good part. I have never killed anybody" and all that but so and so here, Eddie has killed somebodyís anything which is dirty, "why me Lord when Iím such a good girl". You feel you are better than the next person which is a very terrible thing really when you come to think of it. At that stage I said, "please Lord," Iíve heard some time that when a murderer before he murders somebody he wishes he could never be found out when he commits murder or when he steals or he does some criminal act somewhere, he asks assent from you that he must be protected and get over with what he is going to do. "Please Lord, give me this one little chance of leaving this dark hole, getting outside", - I see any white child, any white person, I have to kill those people with my bear small hands because 1976 I have seen policemen or soldiers who were opening mouths of small kids and shooting them with tear gas and you see a child disintegrating. Iíve been to the police stations when I was looking for my daughter who was missing. Stacks and stacks of children and adults of course, looking for my daughter, trying to remember what kind of dress did she put on and I went even to the Government Mortuary where I saw a terrible thing when I saw a lady, a mother who was there, she was rolling on the - you know, half fainting. I wanted to know from her, I mean all those - I have to tell about this. "Whatís wrong?" She told me, "in that mortuary, you go in there, thereís a child, I heard somebody calling me, auntie, auntie, please come and help me. Come and help me. I want to go and tell my mother, to come and fetch me", and she told me she ran out of there, the mortuary because she didnít know whether it was a ghost or something like that and then that is why she was fainting over there. She hardly had strength to go - so I just got hold of her next to the wall to make her sit and then I rushed into that, in the Government Mortuary, right down next to ...(inaudible). When I got in there, itís dark and so many bodies, I went and I heard the voice again, "auntie, auntie, please come this way, come and help me, go and tell my mother Iím here". You know without thinking I walked on those - I still have nightmares about that, walked over those bodies. When I got next to her, I said, "well come on, stand up then, letís go". She says, "I canít, I canít, I donít know why I canít move". So when I tried to pull her up the police came or the soldiers because they were in camouflage. Itís then that I donít know what stopped them killing me, so they started beating me with their gun butts, "get out, get out" and you know hurling insults to me, "fucking bloody stinking kaffir woman, what do you want here." They kicked me, they pulled me out. I still have scars with those gun butts. So I went out. Look, I mean at that stage when that hate came, which overcame me. It was through all those things were going over my head and when I took some children, my house is next to the main road, I took some children to Baragwanath Hospital. When we got there, the white doctors were standing one side and black doctors and the nurses one side. The soldiers made the white doctors to extract bullets from these short kids and they would take these big bullets, like that into their pockets, "gaan vrek, go and tell ...(inaudible), the student leader who has put you here, go and rot somewhere." I mean, things like that, so, now "please Lord give me the strength, that when I go out, Iím going to kill every white person I see before they kill me."
Moreover, they were busy taunting me in the cell, that they have killed my husband. We were detained, we were three of us, my two year old, my husband and myself. The other kids were already out. And then for three days they didnít give me food after taking my baby away, forcing me, beating me against, my head against the wall and I was fighting but it was useless. I used my teeth trying to fight these eight white men who were beating me up, taking my baby away. And then they used to come and taunt me that, seeing that I havenít eaten food, they have taken my baby to a prison for communist babies where they are going to disembowel her and come and feed me with her insides and then they telling me how what they did to my husband. They cut his private parts and fed him until he died and how he messed himself up. You know, trying to torture me in such a way. So now that anger, that hate, it just overcame me. I was praying and praying, you know, crying and being so angry and then, later on I realised, hey man, what is this? Why am I hurting myself like this? These people who come here, they are human being you know, I donít think that when they leave, after giving me torture they go back to their wives, their families and tell them what theyíve done, their job, what kind of job do they do. So Iím just ...(inaudible) myself, Iím just destroying myself and hate doesnít benefit and then I started looking at myself. I said well I have to get through with this hate. I came to the fourth stage which is very important. I said to myself, what have I done, why all this, do I deserve this. I started some soul searching. Perhaps Iím responsible for this anger, this terrible thing happening to me. But I realised, hey no man. At least I know all my faults, my shortcomings. What about these people who are doing this. These are ordinary members of any society, any family. Is this people who have got distorted minds who are angry, who are ... they belong to a certain class. So now, why Lord, Iím still alive, my family has perished. My whole family has perished, has vanished, they have been got rid of. Iím still alive. Body and soul is still together. Thatís when I reconciled myself to my maker, thatís when my faith came in. I said, "Lord, please forgive me for all these thoughts because itís a useless fight. Help me. Take me away from this muck. Put me up here. Let me look at all these, because Iím not the only one here." Itís a holocaust, if you can call it that. Anybody who is black suffers from this. Never mind these ones, my brother here is talking about people who gained from this horrible thing. They are all the same. They are also victims. Some people are weak, their egos and everything else. "Lord, if you can only take me out of this, body and soul is still together. So let me try and leave and see what happens. Take my life into your hands. You do your will. Once you pick me up from there." I must pity these people who, itís not every white person.
Now I started enumerating my friends, people who have helped me at a very deep end, like Beyers Naude, for instance. That man who sort of stripped himself naked for the truth. That man is one of the many people, some very very close relatives, my auntie has got, got married secretly to a white family. Iíve got coloured relatives and white people who are my - itís not white people who are bad or black people who are good. Itís a human nature, there are very very bad people like Mamasela and there are - itís true and there are very very bad white people like De Kock, people who just kill without even thinking. He can kill here and make a braaivleis here, meanwhile we are busy sizzling over there. So itís human nature. So, Lord, if everybody has to die in this manner, you have got your own plans. Brothers and sisters this is how I have survived.
Up to this date so many terrible things have happened and after that, even when I had a stroke and a heart attack of which I nearly died, I saw two kosies, the other kosi was there, the other was there and I mean it is quite an experience of some kind. And from that day henceforth I stopped fearing death. I stopped really. When Iím sick, right now my heart works one side, this side it doesnít work. Iíve got a big scar which is a fatal scar which kills a heart attack victim but for the mere fact that today I can communicate, although Iím not very perfect, there are some words I canít pronounce and the, Iíve got a similar for everything else but Iím so happy and thankful that Iím still alive although up to date Iíve never seen my children growing, up to to date Iíve got only two are back in South Africa. Otherwise the rest are still outside.
My brothers and sisters Iím just sharing this, that whatever happens, although I get angry sometimes like when I was missed by a bullet. I just get angry and then I tell myself, hey, itís useless, those people are just laughing it off the way they would have killed me, I and my husband, nobody would have known and passing with a car and itís us alone, itís not me alone. Everybody has suffered on this. I just wanted to share with you this. Thank you.
DR DANIEL: Thanks.
MS PATEWE: Thank you very much. But I would like to go back to the gentleman, whatís your name, Eddie, Duma. I would like to say that I think one of the important things is to acknowledge as I heard you talk is that quite a number of people have been traumatised. There are degrees of traumatisation. Some of the people have felt that they have not been acknowledged. What I heard you say was thereís this lack of acknowledgement for whatever traumatic experiences we have. I donít think we can dismiss that really. And secondly what I heard you say was that related to the dimensions we mentioned that we all have different dimensions which we can relate to trauma. And the dimension we are bringing in was the dimension of the lack of self affirming experiences. We have been traumatised and on top of that there is nothing which is affirming you in life. Probably due to socio economic conditions and other situations. In that case it becomes unique to you and I really wanted to say I acknowledge what you say and it makes sense to me because you are not the only one who finds yourself in that situation.
DR DANIEL: You are also not the only one who is looking for ways to have people express their remorse by helping the future and thatís very important to examine as well.
MR KHOLEMANI: Especially Iím not referring to myself, Iím working with a group of survivors and then what happened to me when I see some of the people ... what happened to some of the people, mine itís nothing compared to what I see and then they always saying, we feel at home being among ourselves because we have been rejected by the society and when they give examples, you find that itís true. As I said .....
DR DANIEL: Rejected by society, do you mean by apartheid or by the conspiracy of silence afterwards?
MR KHOLEMANI: Maybe both.
DR DANIEL: Both.
MR KHOLEMANI: Maybe both. We were supposed, if we talk of reconciliations. We should be all involved in this. Churches, many institutions were supposed to come forward and help those people who were in need, who need help. But rather than do those, some of the things which we think they are important, we take another direction. Today, somewhere, some how, not to say Iím justifying the issue, through the media they have been saying the members of the MK or PAC are involved in some of the bank robberies, all these kind of things. Somewhere I do justify there. When I went to jail, personally, I could not even harm a fly but due to what I saw happening while there, somewhere I can kill if I got to. Not to say I want to kill. And my trauma was more extended after my release in jail. In 1995 I think I was the first person who said, who was against the TRC. When they were still talking because certain Doctor among the Commissioners once said, "the TRC is not a money box Dr. O." I was anger, angry about that and I decided to go and make a sit-in at ...(inaudible) police station for 31 days, 16 days without food and they decided to take me to Court and in Court, the Chief Prosecutor said to me "why donít I go to State President Office because we fought for him." It was an insult to me, you see and then there was a fight. I broke some of the things and I was arrested. I was in jail again for something like 3 weeks until the Roman Catholic Church paid the bail. Itís an extension of a trauma. And then I was found guilty. Again I was supposed to go and stay in prison but some people who represented me, they pleaded on my behalf so I can get an outside sentence. Today I am working but always what comes to my mind is those who are not working. Thatís one of the reason which pushed me to go and work with those who are not working because I donít want them to go to an extent of doing what I have done, see. And then, we are trying the best we can but there is a fear in me, thatís why Iím saying, it seems, the society is rejecting those kind of people. Yes, sitting with them, you will see they are mad. But because people once said I am also mad, I understand the situation. This thing of a trauma, to me it got two ways. Some were things which happened to me. They are a joke today. I do laugh at them even though they are painful. But some of the things which I saw happening to other people are the most painful to me. Other than what happened to me, what I saw happening is the most painful thing. At times, I said at the beginning I want to divorce myself with trauma but divorcing myself it will push me to forget fellow friends who died in this war, you see. Should I say thank you?
DR DANIEL: May I - go ahead, please.
ANGIE: My name is Angie from SABC radio. If I could ask Duma a question? You testified at the Prison Hearing in the Old Fort. Iíd like to know if that experience for you was traumatic or was that healing and was it a better experience than this or was it a worse experience? Because I think it links to the conspiracy of silence. Has the Truth Commission done anything to break that silence?
DUMA: At the Fort it was for the second time. At Sebokeng it was my first appearance and at the Fort it was the second time. But at the Fort it was more painful because we were there with the people who used to hang the people, see. So I donít have a problem with him because he told his side of the story and then we even exchanged telephone numbers with him, it was so good. Thatís why my problem lies with the so-called bystanders. And then I appreciate what is happening here, at this moment. But the most important thing is, ...(inaudible) we involved those people, survivors actually, so that they can also be given a chance to say their stories. The life span of the TRC is too short and then sometime, somewhere, giving your story to a public itís also a healing process so that you want people to acknowledge what happened to you. It assists you psychologically and then, if they can give their views and also be part and parcel of the discussion it will be good. We do have this kind of discussions, but what is happening here, we have provoking questions. I like them because they make you take out things which are deeply hiding and then even myself too, before I sit down I want to ask a question. Do I get that permission? Okay. There is something which we hide, especially those who were in prison. I want to know from any members of the Jews or anyone who was in jail or especially you, when you interviewed those who were in holocaust, did they manage to talk about their sexual life while in jail or in the concentration camp?
DR DANIEL: I am hesitating to answer your question from our point of view because you have just told me that this is a secret of yours and, so that, no matter what I tell you I donít want you to use what I tell you to not share your secret. Is that fair? Please tell us what you mean.
DUMA: You see, I have read most of the books of the people who were in the concentration camp. Okay. Wherever I am, I always carry them, yes. And then there are things which we in a ..... even those people, position to tell other people what happened but they are things as we have just said are our secret. And then the secret which might destroy your life and the secret which you cannot be in a position to tell or to relate to anyone.
DR DANIEL: There are no such things.
DUMA: This is South Africa.
DR DANIEL: This is the world. I donít feel right pushing anybody, itís totally your right and I respect 100% your boundaries. But I absolutely but itís very important, okay, you remember I differentiated in the exercise between secrets we have from others to either protect them or to protect ourselves. Either from feelings or from of course consequences. And secrets we have from ourselves that, theyíre absolutely the worst, absolutely the worst, because the moment you put a piece of you out, untouchable piece of you, first of all you deprive yourself, second of all, you know how much energy goes in to that, in to keeping that. All this good energy that could go into building, into the future and into forward looking, into healing yourself, into building, all of that goes into sitting on something that wants to come up all the time. Be it in nightmares, be it in behaviour such as beating your wife or being self destructive in any other way or destructive of others. And it really ...(inaudible) you, it takes up most of you. So, for me itís almost like youíre talking about being in prison or being in jail, this is like your own jail, isnít it? So you are keeping yourself in jail and even if you did the worst thing, Iíll tell you a story okay. One story that will maybe make sense to you. We have these meetings and one of the survivors who didnít speak for years, even to her children, she would be, sort of mute. Finally, after coming, like, I donít know, it was five or six years, she told this story. Her daughter confronted her about being - she used to say all the time in her life, she used to say Iím half dead, half alive, okay. I was going to tell you this story tomorrow in the multi generational presentations but I may as well because itís appropriate here. She told the following story, that in the camps she, in Auswitz, in Berkinau actually. She was in the same bunk, you know like eight people on those wooden bunks and because it was so cold and people were so hungry and sick all the time, you know, they clung to each other physically, they had no choice anyhow because, if eight, for the size bunk, you do. And people tried to, you know if you have this piece of bread for the day, you try to, some people tried to take just a tiny bit, you know and keep some in case you wake up in the middle of the night and are dying from hunger. So, one night she - and she tells this to us, after all these years, that she in the middle of one night she woke up and she was so hungry, she thought sheíd die and she knew that her mother was lying on her piece of bread that she kept and she took that little piece of bread from her mother and ate it and when she woke up her mother was dead. Now clearly, taking that little piece of bread is not what killed her mother and if you think of your life today, we had so much bread here today, you wouldnít think twice about what you do with this left over bread, would you? You may if you lived in those conditions, right. Many of us canít even throw even a tiny bit of food because of that, because those images stay with you. But all these years, this is what, 15 years ago, so that means, 35 years she blamed herself for killing her mother. And thatís why she didnít talk, she never left the house, you know, she lived as if she were in jail and she didnít talk to anybody. She was so ashamed and so frightened that if she told the story people will just kill her or stone her. Well, what we did there was something similar to what I sort of gave you a taste today. The whole community became a court room and we put her on trial, we had a jury and judges because we said to her, look until today you were the judge, jury, the prosecutor, the jailer, you took everything on yourself so letís give it to everybody and letís analyse what is the proper punishment for what - even, you see the point is, clearly she was guilty of nothing, probably if she said to her mother Iím hungry, her mother would have given her that piece of bread anyhow. But you see I never argue with how people feel. She felt guilty so I respected that. I said all right, you feel guilty so letís examine that.
Letís examine it together now. Something very interesting happened because there are a lot of other people who remembered all kinds of things, you know and it opened up the possibility to examine for them too. And of course what came out was capital punishment, literally, for life. Jail for life. The community challenged that and people started negotiating with her, okay, enough already you know, you were in jail for 35 years and maybe you can now be released etc. Now she, I told you she said sheís half alive, half dead. And this is a sort of an introduction to tomorrow because one of her daughters to this day lives her life in the attic. She took on that dead part and she lives like the half dead one. Her other daughter was a compulsive - got degrees and degrees and degrees and more degrees and more education, had to run this and run this and so she took that. Why am I telling you this? She had that secret, that secret became her whole life and not only jailed her, it jailed her daughter, it had her other daughter trying to be alive, alive, alive, alive, so that she couldnít sleep even because even sleeping meant that she wasnít productive. We pay a price for those secrets and you know what happened? The worst part of it, that we are of course our worst judges arenít we. Nobody can judge us worse than we do. Nobody can feel our shame. We carry so much shame, survivors carry an awful lot of shame. Basically much of the shame really belong to the perpetrators, not to the survivors.
If you think of it. The shameful act was the perpetrators act. But the survivors carry that shame. It kills them, itís awful. You canít look somebody else in the eye. You canít look yourself in the eye. So with all due respect to secrets, I find them most unuseful.
DUMA: Thank you. Now, my last question is this, are we supposed to tell our kids what happened or what was happening?
DR DANIEL: Supposed to - I love it. Do you want to tell your kids?
DUMA: Iíve got a fear of telling my kids.
DR DANIEL: You are afraid to?
DUMA: True. What is happening to them now. They might develop hatreds. So how to treat that kind of situation.
DR DANIEL: Weíll talk about that tomorrow. Because tomorrow we are talking about multi generational and weíll get into a lot of details about that. So I donít want to be half-assed about it. But you see, but thatís a very good question related to the conspiracy of silence in the family and what the outcome of that is and what happens to your shame and your guilt and all of those inner trips, you know, when thereís children, with words or without words, get the feeling. Go ahead. Oh, I though you were raising your hand. No. Okay. Eddie.
EDDIE: I think that one thing that we have in common now is .....
DR DANIEL: Who is we?
EDDIE: We, in this room there is a lot of pain, but it is like the tree that you plant, that you mentioned earlier on. Weíre breaking off the leaves. I was looking at the changes from - just in ...(inaudible), when he started and when he asked the last question. I was extremely pained while our mamma Kosi was talking and thatís for me the question that let us into the earlier session that I was involved, which is a question that was hanging, what do we then do after we have listened to that painful experience?
DR DANIEL: What do you feel?
EDDIE: I feel that we need to as a society, look for mechanisms that we can use. What has happened ....
DR DANIEL: Let me stop you for a moment. Weíll talk mechanism on Friday, okay. You remember I said before that the impulse to act often is because of the fear of feelings or the fear of taking the time to feel, to articulate and to think it through and to re-think choices, remember in the exercise I said, what choices did you make then, are they still your choices, you remember. We get locked in to those choices but the impulse to do, check on it every time you ask yourself, okay I heard him talk, thereís pain, what do I do now? I hear it as, why wonít we attend to the pain first? You know when you were work through those feelings and those secrets and things became like freer inside, what to do becomes a very easy question. The doing is just a natural outcome of the flow of the process. When you are in pain, what you need to do is attend to the pain. Mechanisms, I promise you by Friday youíll have mechanism up to your ears.
EDDIE: I hear what youíre saying but I have difficulty in accepting because Iím saying, after I have heard Kosi speaking ....
DR DANIEL: Yeah, what do you feel? You heard him, what do you feel? What did you feel when he was talking?
EDDIE: I feel that something needs to be done.
DR DANIEL: Thatís what I mean. No, Eddie we have to understand this interchange between us. I asked you what you feel, you didnít answer my question. You gave me a judgment instead, or an impulse. You have an impulse to do and you had a judgment, something must be done. I still have no idea, how you felt or how you feel actually. Here, here ..... You said there is a lot of pain. Were you feeling hurt?
EDDIE: I have mixed feelings.
DR DANIEL: Tell us.
EDDIE: Iím not feeling hurt only. I have a feeling of hurt and joy for the fact that here are people that are complete strangers to me, sharing their deepest emotions with me.
DR DANIEL: Not anymore.
EDDIE: And that is related ....
DR DANIEL: Donít you feel privileged for that?
DR DANIEL: Yeah, I feel very privileged. I hope all of you feel some of that. And we are not anymore strangers, you do know that. Go ahead.
EDDIE: But the word was used earlier on, the lack of self affirming experiences. And I think that what is happening here is that experiences are being affirmed ......
DR DANIEL: And the experiences are being affirmed because you are sharing them. There would be no other way to affirm, would there? You shared them and people respond and they are affirmed. See, the conspiracy of silence deprives you, society, family of that. You said it. How would you like to affirm ...(inaudible)
EDDIE: I would want to see us having many more people experiencing what they are experiencing because thatís what I hear, particularly to me saying, heís saying that Iím not speaking here on behalf of myself only, Iím speaking of people who have experienced trauma in a particular way and I was excited when I heard that there was someone from the SABC here because what Iím worried is going to happen, when last did we hear a story of a victim on the mass media, on the electronic media. Since the programmes of Max Coleman have stopped, we havenít heard it. Are we therefore saying that thereís no more stories to tell. I think the opposite is coming through where people are saying that we want to tell what has happened with us. And thatís where the excitement about the action comes in.
DR DANIEL: Great, do you see. So you just came up with a mechanism without even meaning to. Not only with the mechanism, with the process of a mechanism too. You said thereís a need to continue. The moment you attend to your feeling, the answers come, to use the media, to ensure that the process continues because it does bring healing, no only it has potential to bring healing not only for the victims but for everyone else. It makes everybody in this room feel less of a stranger. You remember we felt in the morning, we talked about the loneliness and the isolation and alienation. You feel less of that. And thatís healing, not only for the victim, itís healing for society and for the Nation and the media, thereís nothing more powerful than the media in effecting that actually. Itís a real mission. Please.
ANGIE: I appreciate that thereís a need to tell the story and I donít think anyone knows what we, as journalists are going through. We have done this from day 1, 16 hours a day, 8 days a week. I still get tears in my eyes when I listen to the stories over and over again. Iíve just come back from a two month leave, holiday. I donít want to do the Truth Commission story anymore, I canít. And I have heard stories, I have heard voices, I live with these voices and I donít want to kind of say that these little shoulders are carrying all the pain but itís difficult. I think, I mean weíre having another meeting tomorrow at SABC. We had one last year. How do we tell the story differently? Do we, as journalists have the capacity to tell the story, I donít know that I have.
DR DANIEL: Could you attend to your ......
ANGIE: What do you want me to attend to?
DR DANIEL: To attend to your pain. For a second she shared her pain with you and then sheís doing something about it again. In a different way. Get off the journalist band wagon, youíre a person with us. Could you attend to these tears?
ANGIE: To my tears?
DR DANIEL: Yeah. To your hurt.
ANGIE: I donít know.
DR DANIEL: I mean, why do you think I asked you to do the exercise with us, right, the two "technical assistants" people. Because you are sitting here listening to the same stories and you must have heard these stories over and over again too. Are you taking care of yourself and your pain?
ANGIE: Weíre not allowed to.
DR DANIEL: Yes you are, here.
ANGIE: In one sense weíre allowed to but weíre supposed to be big and brave and objective and .....
DR DANIEL: Yeah, you and the rest of the men.
ANGIE: The bystanders, you know, the bystanders, weíre supposed to be on the edge and this is one story that is kind of just pulled us in. Weíve lived the story, weíve heard the story and every time it doesnít stop moving. Let me speak for me now. I just ask myself, when am I going to stop crying. How much more must I cry. How many more stories must I listen to. It just doesnít stop. Itís like the flood gates that open.
DR DANIEL: And whatís wrong with that?
ANGIE: No, thereís nothing wrong with it, it just doesnít stop. I mean I can carry on for another five years and probably still cry and cry and cry.
DR DANIEL: Youíre crying about things that - crying is the right response to.
ANGIE: I know. I feel good afterwards.
DR DANIEL: I worry about people who donít cry when they hurt. And it keeps you human. Iím worried about those journalists who are incapable of crying anymore.
ANGIE: Thatís one thing and I even said this on TV. This story has made me human again.
DR DANIEL: There you go.
ANGIE: I mean, Iíve kept quiet listening to everyone because I think thatís my natural professional role.
DR DANIEL: I know the problem.
ANGIE: You know, you hear the pain, you hear the anguish, you hear where the emotions are coming from, you hear when someone is suppressing their emotions. But itís difficult. I mean we are stuck, I think sometimes in an unenviable position. We need therapy. I need therapy, thereís no doubt about it. Part of me is resisting that. Part of me says you know you must go, you know, you have to.
DR DANIEL: Itís not that you need to or itís a good thing for you and you need to heal. Itís not ... you must.
ANGIE: Itís easier to deal with, I think. But I think from us as journalists itís and what the public never hears or never sees is that, how much can we take, you know, thereís one human being. Many of you have sat and watched special reports on TV, listened to our radio programmes in the different languages, itís too much. Part of me says I want to finish this story because itís really made me a better person. Iíve only gained and part of me says I canít. I donít have the capacity to continue.
DR DANIEL: Whatís standing in your way to have that capacity? Let me put it differently. What are you putting in your way.
ANGIE: Itís what Iím putting into the story. Itís energy, itís understanding, itís compassion, the emotions are always upfront. You, I mean, I think weíve just, we had no choice but we had to feel. We did feel. People have moved us. Perpetrators have moved me and itís difficult for me to explain that to people that I can have compassion for a perpetrator who has to live with seeing himself on TV, hearing himself on radio, looking at the bill boards. An example is Benzine. I mean thatís just one example. I mean he did wrong, he did terrible things but the anguish in his face still haunts me. I mean thatís just one example. Iím not scared of my emotions, itís just itís a very emotional, itís an emotional job. Itís a difficult job. And I donít think many people appreciate that.
DR DANIEL: I really thank you for saying that. I do want to share with you that we have both in Columbia University School of Journalism in graduate school and at NYU, New York University in New York, under my duress, we have special training for journalists in self care which weíll do at the end of today, also for everybody. We have some principles for self care so weíll share, you know Iíll share with you. And not only but when I was President of the International Society for Traumatic Studies I helped with 200 people I created a curricula for all of the professions dealing with - that had to do with victims, interfacing with victims and journalism was one of the first. In fact both journalists and disaster people who work with people and police are all what I conceptualise as front liners who absolutely must have debriefing and you know, ways of healing from the traumas because they run from trauma to trauma to trauma and if you think their lives, you know, they finish this story they go to the next, they go the next and thereís very little provided to heal every time. And I think good journalistic organisations must provide that. There used to be a time that journalists had high rate of suicide, divorce, smoking, drinking, everything. Including, and thatís true of all the front line professions. Police as well. And Iím not talking directly about the South African Police. Itís a good question to see if in fact the tortures - how did they live with it?
ANGIE: They drank.
DR DANIEL: They drank, here you go. So, Iím very glad you shared it. But the truth is that the way you share it convinced me that you are absolutely capable of doing it, in fact probably in the right way.
ANGIE: I donít know.
DR DANIEL: Yeah. I remember one session I had with some journalists, you know, there were a whole lot of guys. There were both woman and men but the guys sort of had to be, they donít, you know, they just go from story to story - what am I talking about Iím mush. So I said well I mean is any human being around. And one of them, he was sitting in the corner. A New York Times crime reporter and I saw that his face changed a little, you know, and he said that he was telling of a story in Harlem, you know, Harlem is in the North part of New York that is - has been the black ghetto. Have you heard - black and Hispanic. Itís now being revived and much better but for some years it was very dangerous, internally really. People killed each other. Gang warfare etc., and he was covering his usual beat and a grandmother was walking her baby granddaughter and a bullet just came through from a gang to a gang, they were caught in the middle and the baby was shot. And he suddenly, he was telling this and he had tears in his eyes and he said, you donít understand, he said to his colleagues, you donít understand, she wore the same red shoes that my daughter had. So suddenly he humanised. You know, it became, this is like my daughter, rather than, Iím just covering a story. Okay. So there became, we started humanising things. One of the new professors there is Terry Anderson, you must have heard of him. He was the longest term hostage in Lebanon, we are very close friends and he is now teaching there and I feel so wonderful about that because he is the kind of human being that will humanise the press I believe in a good way. We could talk for a long time about that but this was great. You see, we can discuss another mechanism that came out of that, did you realise that I came up with a mechanism? Which was? Every news media organisation should have de-briefing into - Had she not shared it, had she not shared the real feeling about it we would not have come up with a solution.
SPEAKER 5: I ...(inaudible) your point when you explained my sisterís situation there but we do have the kind of a victim who sees his trauma. I donít know if this is immediately or at what point in comparison, you know with others and immediately he sees his trauma, less than the trauma of the other person, the one who sees his trauma, at least, you know, pale in significance compared to the trauma of that one. Then he takes the position of trying to console or heal and to speak for the other one whose trauma seems immense and in the process this person never talks about his trauma and I donít know when can we say he gets himself humanised by attending to those that he thinks have sustained greater trauma or you know is he, can he rightly be accused too of this sickness that we are talking about. That is conspiracy of silence, so I just want to find out that because we will find some people who perhaps may never even talk about that.
DR DANIEL: First of all, I refuse to be a perpetrator here, I do not accuse anybody. Conspiracy of silence is not an accusation, itís a fact and probably if you think about it from a self protective ... or evolutionary place, let me put it as an extreme. If we only dealt on the trauma, we wonít have any place to live would we? So itís a very natural tendency to not talk or to want to forget it or to want to put it away. So much work to deal with it. So itís not a matter of accusation, itís simply that thatís how we deal with things, we just are realising we have been realising for the last 30 years or so that itís not doing the job, in fact we are paying such a price for it that we should examine the price. Now the person who has either suffered less or whatever, I mean, I donít buy these kind of hierarchies of suffering. As you pointed out before everybody suffered. And they suffered differently and maybe on different dimensions of the person, right. Yes, I think quantitatively yes there are people who have suffered more than others, thereís no question that being tortured, being in jail etc., is more suffering than being humiliated in school, itís a fact. However, the feeling in response to that may be very similar and as intense for the person who is suffering, isnít it. I mean yesterday on the radio they kept asking me that question and I said you know we do have a limited repertoire of responses as human beings we are limited. We can cry, we can show, you know, we have only that many ways of responding and those ways of responding are universal. Thatís why we even have the diagnosis, right, of post traumatic stress disorder. We found out that that diagnosis covers reactions of many people to different circumstances. So the more or less is really not the right question to ask. The right question to ask from your point of view is, why would that person neglect him or herself. Because nothing says that I cannot be there for other people and for myself, it doesnít have to be either me or other people, does it. Any why does it have to be either you give to other people, do they give to you too. When you care for them, do they also care for you. Do you let them care for you.
SPEAKER 5: I donít know. You just find yourself in a position where you are saying, it seems, you know, you hurt more than, you know, perhaps I donít even have to talk about the other, depending on like we are saying itís your interpretation of the situation or the condition in which the next person finds himself in. And perhaps that person has not even witnessed or seen how you in turn have suffered.
DR DANIEL: If they havenít seen, means you havenít shared it with them. When we entered this room this morning, I didnít know you and you didnít know me. We began to know each other because we are sharing with each other.
SPEAKER 5: Declined sharing. I wouldnít even say declined sharing. You have had no chance to share with this person because he seemed to be in greater pain and the immediate thing that you had to do was .....
DR DANIEL: Could you tell us the real story because when you just talk in generalities, I canít get into it.
SPEAKER 6: If I might be of help to you Tom, I mean ....
DR DANIEL: Tom knows what to say.
SPEAKER 6: Tom, if you feel comfortable maybe a good example for me is Tom. Because knowing how much has gone through different categories of suffering whenever thereís an opportunity Tom is always fighting for victims. Even when Commissioners and ...(inaudible) this opportunity and this, Tom will always come like a crazy person asking about what has happened to this and this pertaining to other people. Maybe that should be our start to really say something which you canít find it difficult to understand why would a person fight this struggle as it was a case in the past even at the time when people are beginning to grab opportunities primarily for themselves.
DR DANIEL: You have been trying - weíll come back to you Tom. We wonít neglect you the way you are neglecting yourself and we have to t talk at some point and we will do that very soon about survivorsí guilt. What does it do for us. What does it do against us. Because I think thereís a lot of that happening in the room and we are not attending to it. Please.
DIANA: Iím Diana. I actually wanted to respond to Angie earlier when she was talking about her experience and she made a comment that triggered something for me and that is that part our process as a country has been and certainly for me personally has been that that thereís been a recognition, especially through the media hearings that the media colluded with the apartheid system and very often in our reaction to "the media" thereís a de-humanisation of the media and her sharing her story for me started to, for me personally re-humanise the media and I donít want to suggest a solution but when you said that weíre looking for new ways to tell the story and I listen to you as a journalist telling the story I immediately thought to myself, thatís the newest way Iíve heard in weeks and that the journalists perhaps need to start telling their own story about the process theyíve gone through in terms of whatís happened in the last two years for us as a country because you are human beings in this situation and I think the whole process of examining the role of the media in the apartheid system further de-humanised the media and I mean for me personally having been a victim of that when my name was mentioned as a victim of a media conspiracy and I was offered the opportunity to meet my perpetrator and he was there, heís now in the Government and he was publicly saying that he had done this smear campaign etc., I consulted a friend who is a journalist. Many of you know Deborah Patter from Radio 702 and I said to her tell me if you think that my - because itís what weíve been talking about today about this process of, does my healing only happen when I confront the perpetrator or is it my own decision to go through my own process of healing and to have that happen because I work with children who are raped and believe me they are never going to meet the perpetrators who have done this to them and so we have to find ways that they can heal as children and this is part of our legacy, weíll go into it Iím sure in the next two days. But for me personally, I was - I asked, do you think this perpetrator, this media person who constructed this story was working for the Security Police and for the newspaper - I knew that at the time but it wasnít publicly - there was no public recognition of it. Would he be genuine if I went to him today and said, I am the person who suffered, I went into exile partially as a result of that, would he be receptive to my confronting him and the response was no he wonít because he actually doesnít feel genuinely remorseful and thatís - this person knows him pretty well. And I said well in that case for me itís not going to help my process. My process is with me and so what you were saying, sort of highlighted that for me and my own internal process to re-humanise the media and to not just put them into this thing and I think we even have to do that as a country. To share the story from you perspective, so that we can hear that we all as a society went through this process together and that the healing needs to be owned by all of us, regardless of our professional standpoint.
DR DANIEL: See Abby, we didnít even come only with the mechanism but with an idea for a new angle for the story. We really created a living, see people used to call it breaking the silence and I always said we donít break anything, we simply open. So you see how well, let me, okay, first and then second, go ahead.
SPEAKER 7: Thereís something for me, maybe it is called the unspoken, not just the conspiracy of silence and I think the three things that I thought of that were sort of that were falling into that category for me of the unspoken and hearing Kosiís story re-affirmed that for me, often the quiet tales of resilience and resistance that sometimes get swallowed up in the pain but provide for me a lot of inspiration and so while I at some level never know what you have gone through, only in my imagination at another level it gives me courage that somehow somewhere deep in my I would find in such situations like you have something of "they cannot have my soul". So this is a sort of sign of gratitude for the courage I think that it gives. And in my work I think Iím quite involved in going back and archeologising stories of resistance and - so that things no longer take over peoplesí whole identity. I think the second unspoken thing for me is, I had been working in communities other than white for quite a while and not only here but also in the States and came back and Iíve come back to a pretty conservative white community I think and working there I thought, oh please no, but I think in my work there I have discovered that there are also unspoken stories of the lid coming off as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee as a result of apartheid officially ending of no longer putting up with patriarchal systems and systems that oppress people in any form, even just in couple relationships and so I think I want to say that in response I think it was to you almost the impatience of nothing has happened in the white community, my feeling is if we take away the binoculars and use a microscope we will find quite dramatic things happening and that gives, again give me a lot of courage and things that would never have before been spoken and men who have been oppressive to woman now feeling a little more alienated from that and feeling a little more isolated, a little more uncomfortable, so thatís I think very unspoken. A third unspoken area for me is, Iím sure if I was to scratch the surface of my life I would find many more examples of how I as a white privileged, nevertheless woman, still suffered under apartheid and the two instances I want to just tell you so that they are spoken. I grew up in quite a conservative community where they had, you know, the onslaught was the issue, the terrorism and so on and so we had a little community emergency thing that if our town was under terrorist attack, at least everyone would know where to go and this gave me nightmares and the one thing I did was to buy a basket for my cat so that at least I could put my cat in the basket, you know and that was my way of handling a trauma. The other thing is that, despite loving my father I hated his racism and I think I suffered under it somewhat. So those are just for the record so that they are spoken.
KOSI: I just wanted to tell you my dear that although things, at least can handle these things a bit far away from me, not far because my kids are - itís so painful for a mother, not to bring up her kids and every now and then I see families moving around with their children. It pains me. That pain, I think itís a perpetual pain and every now and then you think well everything is over but it keeps on rising itís ugly head against you. Just yesterday I was walking, going to the shops and then there came this car, itís supposed to stop and when I was in the middle of the ... before it stopped, when this chap saw me he just came and took all the dirty water on me. I was nice and wet. I mean, I go back again and again that pain, it goes continuous and every time I try by all means I always think others, I think what I went through is so little, so minute, others so worser things than me. And then this is how I sort of console myself. Anyway Iím glad at least we have reached this stage, you can sometimes listen to others and you can always evaluate whatever we have gone through and thanks God we have changed and we can see clearly. Carry on sister, itís - the journey is long.
DR DANIEL: I would like to comment on what you just said. The incident with the car yesterday, that made you wet. Itís not worth pain, itís nuisance. See what happens is when we have an open wound, everything hurts, right, even a little wind hurts. But thatís not worth pain. Thatís worth drying. Do you see what Iím saying, I can see that the shooting with the laughing, yes, itís ...... but this is not trauma, this is nonsense. You see, we lose perspective when we are hurt and the wound is open, everything hurts. People who have had cancer always say, you know after cancer, even if they are survivors for years they say every cold becomes a cancer. Every little thing, they sniffle, oh the cancer is back. So itís the same kind of thing, everything gets magnified. When we grow out of trauma itís good to begin to differentiate whatís trauma related, whatís just plain nonsense and donít let you down, you know.
KOSI: Anyway what I did yesterday, after I was pointing fingers and he was laughing. I told him, I promised him, very soon I will also buy a car and I will do the same to him.
DR DANIEL: Itís not worth pain, I promise you. Why not?
MR DAWETI: Because I was going to delve a little bit into the mechanisms, solutions and so on but I realise thatís for tomorrow or maybe Friday.
DR DANIEL: Did you come up with one?
MR DAWETI: No, just general.
DR DANIEL: But actually any mechanism that may come up of this discussion any solution you see and we have come up with many of them at this point. Do you realise how many solutions we came up with? Without calling them that even? So listen to those. Any time you have a question that specifically comes from the flow of the discussion, bring it up because maybe we can then work on it. Go ahead.
MR DAWETI: I was going to say itís with regard to the media. The personification or humanisation of the media by various journalists who mean very well but who work for institutions that do not share your sentiments and do not wish to portray the goodness of the achievements of such and such and such because they donít make money on those basis. So mechanisms and solutions with regard to that, ya.
SPEAKER 7: Iím not sure if thereís not another conspiracy of silence and it links up to what Eddie said about the need to do something and I donít necessarily mean mechanisms, psychological mechanisms or social or political mechanisms but the trauma hasnít ended for many people. Weíre not just dealing with the past. People are still hungry, people are still without homes. Their children are still without education. Children get abused and neglected daily and I think we tend to - I donít know if there is enough attention focused on that, that the trauma continues. Maybe in less blatant ways and that things need to be put into place to cope with very basic needs. With my experiences with people that weíre working with that if you donít recognise the basic needs, if you attend only to the trauma but you donít acknowledge that people havenít eaten for two or three days, youíre actually insulting them as well. And itís one of the most painful things for me, is that we often not able to do anything about it. Releasing the pain gives people more energy but reality is that even with that energy, people have nowhere to put their energy, they have no channels to go through, to find employment, they donít have the education to have any opportunities, they donít even have the resources to start a small business, that kind of thing and sitting with that helplessness on top of the trauma is incredibly painful I think ...(inaudible) and sitting through that process, not running away from it.
SPEAKER 8: I wanted to bring another conspiracy of silence out, it came out at lunch time and thatís called white guilt. And itís also related to why people donít respond. And itís related also to fear. My parents live in the Northern suburbs but kind of hard working middle class people, kind of very racist in their own way, I can identify with what you say, I love my parents and hate their racism but worked hard, canít face the changes of the new South Africa, in fact of losing power or what they saw as power or told was power and living with a lot of fear and anger, seeing a lot of their friends killed for material possessions and I wonder how often we actually donít deal with that whole side of things, we donít link up whatís happened in the past with the cycle of violence, we just blame it on outsiders coming in with Mafia, Mafio power and bank robberies and AK47ís and all of that kind of thing. So itís another world that is there and itís tangible and real and I donít think very much of any of us who are white who come from kind of an activisty background talk too much about it. Itís kind of like our parents and their guilt but itís kind of the inter generational thing that youíre going to get into tomorrow. Itís also real and itís unspoken and itís palpable actually and thatís often why, so you do get whites who donít care, really you do. But you also get a whole lot who donít want to actually really begin to touch things because theyíre really quite frightened. If they actually have to deal with the past, what is going to be left of them. Itís a disempowerment thing ....
DR DANIEL: I was noticing that there are very few white people here and I was surprised about that. In terms of giving them a chance to explore more of what youíre talking about. Hlengiwe knows that over the weekend colleagues of mine, friends of mine invited whites who are very racist for me to meet. Well it was extremely - Iíve been sick ever since, you know that. But itís at the same time it was extremely important for me to learn, to learn the picture. Youíve lived with it. I live in New York. I read about it, you know. Itís quite different, right. And I wanted to see and I wanted to hear. And a lot of that is going on.
Thereís resentment, thereís, you know - and at some point, it was way into the night, I think it was like 2 in the morning and I said you know you have a lot to mourn too. You lost power, I mean, no matter how much you hate it, they have a lot of changes to mourn and to confront in order for reconciliation to begin to have any meaning whatsoever. They have a lot to mourn. They have to be able to live with what theyíve done and look at themselves in the mirror and live with the rest of the day. Thereís a lot of fear, thereís a lot of guilt, itís very hard to live with guilt, it doesnít leave you and if you donít confront it, it just - you are a prisoner. So yes, thereís a whole lot to talk about, about that too and indeed if you promise tomorrow in the discussion on multi generational to in fact insist that we look at that because you remind me then in fact the friends, my friends, just like you say, well you know theyíre liberal and theyíre open and everything but their parents ....
Itís very interesting. So itís - and Iíve heard it enough to think that maybe itís quite common. Donít laugh at me. Are you talking about the sense of we and them and you already know the we and them business. What we didnít touch on this morning, you know with the exercise that ultimately ....
Where is Eddie? Eddie has the policeman inside him. In fact as I was going to lunch I said you know, thereís a policeman in everyone here. Because we internalise all of this. All of this become part of who we are. And part of healing is to, and integration is to realise this is not me. This is them. Or the other way around, instead of saying itís my parents, itís not me is to see, let me take a look in my. Is there that in me too? So I donít just keep running away and saying, itís them, itís them, itís them.
You know, in order to present me, right - to present yourself negatively which means I am not - rather than positively, I am, okay. So both of the challenges here that are very important. Letís talk a little bit about survivors guilt okay because it did come up and I weíll come back to it tomorrow a little bit but I want to attend to some understanding of it and I also want in the remainder of the time to read to you before you leave the principles of self healing that I promised you, right. Do you want to talk about survivors guilt today? Letís talk about it tomorrow.
So letís talk now - I want two things now. One is, I have a principle in life that I learned in the hard times which is that every time Iím in a situation Iíd like to look back at that situation to be able to look back at that situation, letís say tonight, tomorrow, in a week, in a month, five years - and not regret anything I did or didnít do there. That is to have every situation a complete one. Now some of you shared today some of you didnít. Look at yourself. You can even close your eyes again a little bit. Ask yourself - imagine yourself tonight or next week or in a month, looking back at today. Is there anything you would like to share today that you would kick yourself in a week in a year say oh I should have, damn it, if only - Is there anything you want to share that will help you not regret today so when you leave here youíll feel wholesome about todayís session so tomorrow we can start a new. Although I promise you Iíll check up on you a bit in the morning. I also want you tonight to write down if you have any dreams tonight. Iíd like you to keep a record of those because some of them may have to do with some things that happened here today. So would you like to share anything so you donít regret, please. No regrets. My God, what a lucky group. Right, youíll have a chance. Let me read the principles of self healing. Let me read them to you. All of this stuff is in print and you know if you want copies Iím sure they can be done. So you can write them down or maybe writing them down now will help because itís part of the process.
So Iím reading to you some principles of self healing. They are written for therapists but you know, each one of you knows how to apply those to your situations, professional situations. And they are principles that are designed to help professionals recognise, that number 1, recognise. Number 2, contain. Number 3, heal, event counter transference, remember that thing I started in the morning, event counter transference, your feelings towards a particular traumatic event.
Okay, so number 1, to recognise, is oneís reaction. (a) Develop awareness of somatic signals of distress, in your body, which I call it oneís chart of warning signs of potential counter transference reactions. For example, sleeplessness, headaches, perspiration, the sense of too muchness, you know that you were talking about, needing to run away. Sometimes you listen to stories that get to you and you want to be out of there. And your body tells you. You can feel it in your feet. You can feel it in your, you know, some muscles get tense, right or you get tense in your - each one of us has a particular chart, you get it in your stomach, you get it in your neck, right, you know yours donít you. If you donít, itís really worth learning. What your body tells you. At one of the seminars in New York we have one guy who looks absolutely cool but when he gets anxious he has one drop of sweat right here, just one. He didnít know it but we used to just look ... So each one of us have those secret, you know, physical chart map, so get to know them. Thatís number 1.
(b) Try to find words to accurately name and to articulate oneís inner experiences and feelings. Now let me give you for that one of my favourite quotations by Bruno Bettleheim who is also a holocaust survivor. He said what cannot be talked about can also not be put to rest. And if it is not, I will repeat it at least two or three times, donít worry, itís very important. And if it is not the wounds continue to fester from generation to generation. Let me repeat it, what cannot be talked about can also not be put to rest and if it is not, the wounds continue to fester from generation to generation. Secrets or not, okay. So that was to recognise, right. Now comes number 2, to contain oneís reactions. Remember a lot of you said, you know if I started crying, it will go forever, if I started screaming Iíll break the world etc., etc. Okay, so we are talking about that. (a) Identify, say you instead of one. Identify your personal level of comfort, that is what you are comfortable with, naturally. In order to build openness, tolerance and readiness to hear anything and the key word here is anything. I have listened to survivors stories, holocaust and others for the last 30 years of my life. Similarly to you. Every time I thought I heard the absolute worst, the next day I heard a worse story and I found the only way to, itís like to immunise, not against my feelings but like to get fit, so to speak, emotionally is to keep myself open. To stretch a little, you know. To not get rigid. So the stories donít break me. All right. So itís almost like an emotional fitness, right, kind of possibility. Identify oneís personal level of comfort in order to build openness, tolerance and readiness to hear anything. You know when you listen to perpetrators here, to some of you it must have been totally intolerable. Itís important to stretch. (b) Knowing, this is a very important one okay. Knowing that every emotion has a beginning, a middle and an end, remember youíre afraid youíll cry forever. Have you ever cried forever. You cry until you stop crying. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. You scream, you scream until your throat hurts, you stop. Thatís a way for the body to protect you by the way, you do know that. Your body says enough. Enough for today. So those people who are afraid that it will be forever, no it wonít. It will be as long as you can tolerate. So every emotion has a beginning, a middle and an end, knowing that, learn to attenuate your fear of being overwhelmed by itís intensity by trying to feel itís full life cycle without resorting to defensive reactions, right, like letís do something, do, all those do, remember when we were doing the thing earlier I said to you, so feel the pain, right, attend to the pain. Okay, and learn to take that, remind yourself itís okay, Iím feeling pain now and be nice to yourself about it, be kind, youíre feeling pain now, okay, letís just feel it, you know, it will go away but letís see what itís about, letís keep it in sight. The moment itís not in sight, it gets ya. See, so itís self protective to feel rather than not to feel. Because when you let yourself feel, you know, you see. Itís within your reach, itís your friend. Aside from which you see, if you think of it seriously your emotions are really your informants about whatís going on in you. They tell you that thereís danger, they tell you if something is bad, they tell you if youíre happy, you know, if things are okay. They are your, you know, your scouts. They tell you whatís going on. If you put them away, you lose your informants. You lose your source of direction. Of course Iíll repeat it. Knowing that every emotion has a beginning, a middle, an end, learn to attenuate your fear of being overwhelmed by itís intensity by trying to feel itís full life cycle. See, Kosi let herself feel her hate. You let yourself feel the hate with all the fantasies of killing this and killing that etc., and thatís why you could let go of it. You felt it, the full life cycle and then you could go from there. Without resorting to defensive reactions, so you have it written. What did you say Eddie?
EDDIE: How in such a case would one be assisted from running away from self pity? My fear is that if I do that, Iím alone in a detention cell and I pity myself so much I then canít get out of it. I need that .....
DR DANIEL: You will get out. You will feel the pity and by the way, it is a bad situation, thereís nothing wrong with feeling pity. Youíre trying to give comfort to yourself, youíre saying to yourself what a bad situation it is. You get disinformation. This is telling you an information, itís bad to be here. Doesnít it? Itís a very important piece of information when you are in detention. And when you get it you wonít need it anymore. Youíll think about other things. Thereís so many other things to think about. Okay. See how emotions inform us. These are our main, you know, our main information sources. Itís the inner media. Tells us where we are. But look, thereís more to talk about this. These are not simple things to talk about, okay, so it takes much more thinking and all of that.
Okay, to heal and grow. Now the first one is a tough one youíll see.
(a) Accept that nothing will ever be the same. Thatís real tough. Because it involves the sorrow and the bereavement about what is gone, right. And the fear about confronting the future and having to give up the denial about clinging to, letís get back to normal as if there is back. Itís a real tough one but itís a very solid advice. So Iíll repeat it. Accept that nothing will ever be the same. (b) And we talked about this one before. When feeling wounded and a lot of you do, take time accurately diagnose, soothe and heal so as to be "emotionally fit" again and able to continue to work. Remember the one with the broken leg that canít go dancing. Our hearts are not made of bone but they need the same kind of kindness. When feeling wounded, and I say feeling wounded right, weíre talking about your inner life, feeling wounded. Take time, thatís an absolute key. You guys are real impatient. Take time. Accurately diagnose, donít just say, this is the problem, no, take time, think about it, thoughtfully. What is the problem, ask yourself, donít just jump. Accurately diagnose, itís very important to be accurate because if not, youíre off. What you do may not quite do the job because you are not taking care of the problem, youíre taking care of something else. So accurately diagnose. Like yesterdayís right, with the water, with the car. Diagnosis, silly. So take time. Accurately diagnose. Soothe and heal. So as to emotionally fit again and able to continue to work. Seek. Seek consultation or further therapy for previously unexplored areas that are triggered by peoplesí stories. See even people who go to therapy, you know, therapists who are trained and go to therapy to be trained, you know, then they get really traumatised again by stories they hear. They can go back to therapy and take care of those areas that are not explored, like those secrets, this morning, the self secrets. Itís good to do check ups. You do physical check ups, donít you. You donít do emotional check ups, do ya? What, your emotions are less important? Itís amazing how people really are not self caring.
(c) Acknowledge that any one of the affective reactions or emotional reactions, for example, grief, mourning, rage, may interact with old unworked through experiences. You know, like what you said before, you know, people are re-traumatised, right. The trauma of today may interact with the trauma of 30 years ago and youíll feel helpless today, like you felt when you were a kid. Now then it was right, then it was valid because you were a kid. Today you only feel like one because youíre not. But that interaction brings you back there and you feel the same helplessness, for example, or the overwhelming mourning or the rage, uncontrollable rage, right. So I say that the present may interact with old stuff and what Iím saying is, instead of seeing your pain as failure and as a call to quit, we will, if we confront these we will thus be able to use your professional work purposefully for their own growth, right. So you can really see it positively. Okay, something is going on, right. Your emotions are giving you signs. Something is going on, doesnít belong to today, itís somewhere back there, I donít know what it is, let me explore it.
Let me use the current situation to heal old wounds that I never attended to, okay. (e) (c) and (d), sure, they are similar actually. (c) was, seek consultation or further therapy for previously unexplored areas that are triggered by the stories, the patients stories or your clients or ..... And the other one is a more positive way of putting it really. Acknowledge that any one of the emotional reactions you have, right, like grief, mourning, rage, guilt, may interact with old unworked through experiences. You are thus able to use your professional work purposefully for your own growth.
(e) There are only two more. Establish a network of people to create a holding environment within which you can share your trauma related work, your trauma in general and your trauma related work. Very important. Therapists in particular donít want to inflict this on their families so they are alone in the family, they donít want to tell it to their friends because theyíre afraid their friends will, some of them, if they only talk about these terrible things etc., you know the thing because you are all in it and you end up all alone. Itís very important to deliberately and consciously create a holding environment, a network of people who will be there for you when you need them to talk. In fact we have it in the project, once a week, we regulate it. We found that until we gave a time for it, it either happened or didnít happen. This way, itís there. We have one group that meets every second Saturday, we have one that meets every Thursday. We have one on a conference call from a few cities that we have every Tuesday morning. So we do it even, you know on a national level. If you donít have a person in your area or a network in your area you can do it by phone. But I cannot over estimate how important that is, over emphasise I mean.
(f) Last one here. Therapists or carers should provide themselves with advocational avenues for creative and relaxing self expression in order to re-generate energies. Do other things, you know, creative, fun. And I finish with saying that being kind to yourself and feeling free to have fun and enjoy is not a frivolity in this field but a necessity without which one cannot fulfil oneís professional obligations, that is, oneís professional contract. Remember Iím coming back to what I started with this morning. You need to have fun, you need to get out, you need to remember that nature exists, that arts exist, that music exists, that friendship exists, theatre, whatever, I canít tell you what, you know, what to pick. But you have to have balance so that you donít get totally consumed, only in trauma work. Because you also lose perspective. You lose the rest of life. I never have more than 60% of my patients trauma victims, never go over 60%, to maintain balance. Well, you have another chance not to regret anything. Go ahead.
EDDIE: On 3(d) you said, "the emotional reactions may interact with old unworked through experiences." To what extent is it true that it would also work, it will also interact with experiences that we have even worked through already and one draws positively from that.
DR DANIEL: That would be wonderful, absolutely. But whenever itís, you know, each one of us knows whenever itís too painful or too much, it tells you that something is not totally worked out. You know what I mean, thereís something there. Itís totally, you know, itís part of life. Okay. As I said we can make copies of those, the article of the exercise, right. So youíll have it with you and you can mull it over and even try it on other people but remember, take time. Be kind and compassionate with them and with you, without it, it wonít work, right. And the other article called "Confronting the Unimaginable" is the original research I told you about, about the different therapists reactions to listening to the stories and it will help in two ways. One is, it will sort of delineate the conspiracy of silence, right, all of those strategies we do to not hear, not hear, not see, right. But also it will sort of map for you and you could maybe identify some of your own reactions in it. Tomorrow we will continue with the multi generational legacies of trauma and you will see that we will speak at the beginning about the conspiracy of silence within the family, within society and how it affects the family and the children and the next generation in the morning and weíll have a discussion about and I would love all of you to like think about it and in the afternoon we will talk about a survivorís age, okay. What does the normal process of ageing bring up or down as you wish for survivors, so we will examine the life long consequences, not only the now, all right. Now as I said, please remember your dreams of tonight. We will begin the morning by, sort of recouping a little of today and anything one would want to share, we will. So we will give half an hour for sharing tomorrow when you wake up youíll think about today, you know, youíd want to say something so we will give time for that and take care and have fun tonight.
MS MKHIZE: Excuse me, excuse me, before you all disappear, can I just make one small request. Iíve cleared it with Dr Daniel a facilitator, the Minister of Education they have a filming company which they have consulted and they made a request to come in tomorrow. Itís on adult education. So they are working on a slot on trauma so they wanted to pick up on some of the skills that are being shared here.
DR DANIEL: Did they want to come tomorrow or Friday?
MS MKHIZE: No, apparently tomorrow. So I just wanted to clear
that with you, if you see people coming in and filming some sessions.....