I pray never to see again what I saw in my beloved Sierra Leone.
- Extract from the poem "I Saw" by Mohamed Sekoya,
submitted to the National Vision for Sierra Leone, a project of the TRC.
After years of brutal conflict in Sierra Leone there existed a need to confront the past. The nation wanted to know what precipitated the wave of vengeance and mayhem that swept across the country. How was it that the people of Sierra Leone came to turn on each other with such ferocity? Why did so many abandon traditions of community and peaceful co-existence? Why were long held and cherished customs and taboos so wantonly discarded? What needs to change? How will we effect the change?
The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Sierra Leone explores these questions. It does not only expose perpetrators and identify victims but also serves as a mirror through which all Sierra Leoneans can examine their own roles in the conflict. It is only through generating such understanding that the horrors of the past can be prevented from occurring again. Knowledge and understanding are the most powerful deterrents against conflict and war.
The Commission’s findings encourage the Sierra Leonean nation to confront the past. They reinforce the belief that the past must never be forgotten. The Commission’s recommendations touch on every aspect of the lives of Sierra Leoneans. They represent the hopes of Sierra Leone’s children and youth as well as the yet unspoken hopes of future generations.
The Commission hopes the Report will serve as a roadmap towards the building of a new society in which all Sierra Leoneans can walk unafraid with pride and dignity.