THE Government plans to host a national reconciliation ceremony next month.
The week-long National Healing and Apology programme is scheduled to be held in Honiara from June 30 to July 6.
It will start with a National Peace March, to be followed by a powerful speech from Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
The aim of this event is to bring to an end the hatred and hostility brought on by the events of the ethnic tension that gripped the nation from 1998 to 2003.
The “ethnic tension” was a very sad chapter of our history that many of us would not want to recall.
It brought our nation to its knees, separated families, and created hatred and hostility amongst our people.
There were individuals and families whose world were turned up-side-down as a result of the ethnic tension.
Some will never forget the excruciating agony of seeing a loved one killed in front of their eyes.
The trauma and pain the events of the ethnic tension have had on our nation and people cannot be measured.
But we’ve moved on 16 years since the troubles stopped when RAMSI arrived here in 2003.
In the last 16 years, certain groups and individuals have taken upon themselves to resolve and settle their differences.
The churches and other non-government organisations too, have worked amongst those affected by offering spiritual counselling and reconciliation.
At a people-to-people level, a lot has been done in terms of reconciliation and restoring broken relationships.
Now, the government intends to take that process to another level through the week-long National Healing and Apology programme.
The programme aims to bring the national government, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Western, as well as the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to one venue where they could say sorry to each other for the harm and pain they may have inflicted during the ethnic tension period.
Saying sorry and asking for each other’s forgiveness is a good thing to do.
It paves the way for conflicting parties to forget the past and move forward.
Some may hold differing views on the upcoming healing and apology event.
The fact however, is this country must move on from its troubled past.
That can only happen when we come together, acknowledge that the ethnic tension has already happened, forgive each other, and agree to move on as a nation.
The ethnic tension has taught us a lot of lessons. We must learn from them.
But we must not allow that dark side of our history to stand in our way to the future.
Let’s therefore look forward to the upcoming event and welcome it with open arms.
This is our opportunity to make a fresh start.