New Essay: A Duty to Remember?

"A Duty to Remember? Politics and Morality of Remembering Past Atrocities"

by Ziya Meral

Journal of International Political Anthropology, Vol 5 (2012) No.1 

An allusion to a “duty to remember” the dark episodes of history is a common occurrence in
today’s politics and popular discourse. The vision behind the call never to forget genocides,
massacres and wars is noble and praiseworthy. However, the way in which such events are
formulated and used is so embedded in the present as to raise serious questions about the
morality and political agendas of those who selectively undertake projects to enshrine past
atrocities. This essay seeks not only to decode the socio-political process for handling the past
but also to challenge the conventional belief that remembering the past will prevent future crimes
and heal countries. It goes on to argue for a balanced, realistic and ethical relationship between
the past and present.