Toward More Stories About the Humanness of the Victims

  • Antonius Puspo KuntjoroEmail author


Although genocide and other crimes against humanity were some of the worst tragedies in human history, for most people, the tragedies were not part of their lives. To see such tragedies only in legal terms would not help people to really see victims as fellow human beings. This would likely lead to indifference to their suffering. Paul C. Santilli invites us to reconsider the humanness of the victims. Santilli proposes two shifts in perspective: shifting our attention from the criminal to the victim and subsequently from the victim to humanity. This article is a response to this challenge and considers the addition of “fostering the agency of victims”, “beyond rational solidarity,” and “who instead of what is a human being” to the discussion.


Story Humanity Humanness Genocide Crime Victim Suffering Agency Solidarity Ubuntu Tsedakah Human nature Human existence 



  1. Aiken, N. T. (2008). Post-conflict peacebuilding and the politics of identity: Insights for restoration andReconciliation in transitional justice. Peace Research, 40(2), 9–38.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bhandari, C. (2019). Social dialogue: A tool of social reintegration and post-conflict peacebuilding in Nepal. Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, 7(1), 143–160.Google Scholar
  4. Boff, L. (1979). Liberating grace. New York: Orbis.Google Scholar
  5. Carr, B. (1999). Pity and compassion as social virtues. Philosophy, 74(289 (July), 411–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chow, P. Y. S. (2015). Memory denied: A commentary on the reports of the UN special rapporteur in the Fieldof cultural rights on historical and memorial narratives in divided societies. The International Lawyer, 48(3), 191–213.Google Scholar
  7. Derpmann, S. (2009). Solidarity and cosmopolitanism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 12(3), 303–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gobodo-Madikizela, P. (2016). What does it mean to be human in the aftermath of mass trauma and violence? Toward the horizon of an ethics of care. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, 36(2), 43–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goodman, C. (2010). Ethics in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (fall) Accessed 30 July 2014
  10. Gyekye, K. (2011). African ethics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (fall) 30 July 2014
  11. Hamilton, C. H. (1950). The idea of compassion in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 70, No., 3(Jul. –Sep.), 145–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Igreja, V. (2010). Memories of violence in Mozambique. Media Development, 2/2010, 33–38.Google Scholar
  13. Jülich, S., & Thorburn, N. (2017). Sexual violence and substantive equality: Can restorative justice deliver? Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 2(1-2), 34–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Knowles, G. (2013). Evaluating law reform using victim/survivor stories from the criminal justice system. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand. December, 5(2), 40–47.Google Scholar
  15. Kristjánsson, K. (2014). Pity: A mitigated Defence. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 44(3-4), 1–22. Scholar
  16. Kubik, J., & Linch, A. (2006). The original sin of Poland's Third Republic: Discounting "solidarity" and its Consequencesfor political reconciliation. Polish Sociological Review, 1(153), 9–38.Google Scholar
  17. Mack, M. (2005). The rational constitution of evil: Reflections on Franz Baermann Steiner’s critique of philosophy. In J. K. Roth (Ed.), Genocide and human rights: A philosophical guide (pp. 105–114). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Masters, M. M., & Holifield, M. (1996). Rousseau revisited: Compassion as an essential element in democratic education. Education, 116(4), 559–564 06 August 2014
  19. McPherson, J. (2018). Exceptional and necessary: Practicing rights-based social work in the USA. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 3(2), 89–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. More, M. P. (2004). Philosophy in South Africa under and after apartheid. In K. Wiredu (Ed.), A companion to African philosophy (pp. 149–160). Malden, Oxford, Carlton: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  21. Nagy, R. (2002). Reconciliation in Post-Commission South Africa: Thick and Thin Accounts of Solidarity. Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, 35(2), 323–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Patterson, D. (2004). G-d, world, humanity: Jewish reflections on justice after Auschwitz. In D. Patterson & J. K. Roth (Eds.), After-words: Post-holocaust struggles with forgiveness, reconciliation, justice (pp. 171–182). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  23. Robins, S. (2011). Towards victim-Centred transitional justice: Understanding the needs of families of the disappeared in Postconflict Nepal. The International Journal of Transitional Justice, 5(1), 75–98. Scholar
  24. Santilli, P. C. (2005). Philosophy’s obligation to the human being in the aftermath of genocide. In J. K. Roth (Ed.), Genocide and human rights: A philosophical guide (pp. 220–232). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Seul, J. R. (2019). Coordinating transitional justice. Negotiation Journal, Oxford Vol. 35, Iss., 1, 9–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sewpaul, V. (2016). The west and the rest divide: Human rights, culture and social work. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 1(1), 30–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sodaro, A. (2018). Memorial museums: The emergence of a new form. In Exhibiting atrocity: Memorial museums and the politics of past violence (pp. 12–29). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stich, S. (2018). Social development strategies in peace processes: Colombia and Guatemala. Social Development Issues, 40(3), 41–57.Google Scholar
  29. Taylor, C. (1999). Sympathy. The Journal of Ethics, 3(1), 73–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thulin, M., & Siegel, B. (2018). Transformations and intersections of shtadlanut and tzedakah in the early modern and modern period. Jewish Culture and History, 19(1), 1–7. Scholar
  31. Topolski, A. (2016). Tzedakah: The true religion of Spinoza’s Tractus? History of Political Thought. Vol. XXXVII, 1, 78–106.Google Scholar
  32. Verdoolaege, A. (2009). Dealing with a traumatic past: the victim hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and their reconciliation discourse. Critical Discourse Studies, 6(4, November), 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wemmers, J.-A., & Cyr, K. (2006). What fairness means to crime victims: A social psychological perspective on victim-offender mediation. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 2(2), 102–128.Google Scholar
  34. Other Internet Source: Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universitas Prasetiya MulyaTangerangIndonesia

Personalised recommendations