This article discusses how Armenians have collected, displayed and exchanged the bones of their murdered ancestors in formal and informal ceremonies of remembrance in Dayr al-Zur, Syria – the final destination for hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the deportations of 1915. These pilgrimages – replete with overlapping secular and nationalist motifs – are a modern variant of historical pilgrimage practices; yet these bones are more than relics. Bone rituals, displays and vernacular memorials are enacted in spaces of memory that lie outside of official state memorials, making unmarked sites of atrocity more legible. Vernacular memorial practices are of particular interest as we consider new archives for the history of the Armenian Genocide. The rehabilitation of this historical site into public consciousness is particularly urgent, since the Armenian Genocide Memorial Museum and Martyr’s Church at the centre of the pilgrimage site were both destroyed by ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) in 2014.
Debates on the relevance of repatriation of indigenous human remains are water under the bridge today. Yet, a genuine will for dialogue to work through colonial violence is found lacking in the European public sphere. Looking at local remembrance of the Majimaji War (1905–7) in the south of Tanzania and a German–Tanzanian theatre production, it seems that the spectre of colonial headhunting stands at the heart of claims for repatriation and acknowledgement of this anti-colonial movement. The missing head of Ngoni leader Songea Mbano haunts the future of German–Tanzanian relations in heritage and culture. By staging the act of post-mortem dismemberment and foregrounding the perspective of descendants, the theatre production Maji Maji Flava offers an honest proposal for dealing with stories of sheer colonial violence in transnational memory.
previously in the area I was intervening, to compare the scale of the disasters, etc. I managed to retrieve few documents from previous expatriates, whom I contacted by mail through my personal network. But it is primarily thanks to key Malawian staff, who had kept operational documents on their personal hard drives and who remembered the mission, that I managed to reconstitute a little of the history of previous interventions. Institutional memory is fleeting in MSF. There was no policy on archiving
Between 2012 and 2017, at the Ł-section of Warsaw’s Powązki Military Cemetery, or ‘Łączka’, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance exhumed a mass grave containing the remains of post-war anti-communist resistance fighters. Being referred to as the ‘cursed soldiers’, these fighters have become key figures in post-2015 Polish memory politics. In this article we focus on the role of the volunteers at these exhumations in the production of the ‘cursed soldiers’ memory. Following the idea of community archaeology as a civil society-building practice, the observed processes of sacralisation and militarisation show how the exhumations create a community of memory that promotes the core values of the currently governing national-conservative PiS party. We found that tropes related to forensic research and typically identified with cosmopolitan memory paradigms are used within a generally nationalist and antagonistic memory framework.
outbreak in refugee and displacement settings. COVID-19 has illustrated the risk posed by pandemics in close-confine settings, but decades of analysis and introspection have mainly identified, rather than addressed, the racial and power hierarchies in aid work. If addressing plague requires trust and cooperation, experiences with Ebola response demonstrates that this is in short supply in areas with generational memories of colonial medicine and exploitations. Questions of trust and
aftermath of the events in Biafra – in particular, the emergence of different types of humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and use of the word ‘genocide’ – and memory of the Holocaust – to internationalise a cause and mobilise against extreme acts of violence. Hakim Khaldi, Abdulkarim Ekzayez and Ammar Sabouni were all aid workers during the Syrian conflict and all analysed the situations they observed in the field. Khaldi, as a member of an international humanitarian organisation, tells of the
actors to ‘do no harm’ as they prevent, respond to and ease suffering in times of crisis, taking a moment to reflect on various aspects of that response and to consider the humanity within humanitarian action can only be a positive step. Put simply, there is great value in asking what happened? How can we translate the considerable knowledge that has been accumulated in the humanitarian sector (from institutional memory to experiential learning) into informed decision
not need a camera to etch realistic depictions of brutality in The Disasters of War . Completed between 1810 and 1820, they were published in 1863, a year after Henry Dunant’s impassioned plea for the humanitarian reform of war-making in A Memory of Solferino . Goya’s images of suffering and atrocity, as Sharon Sliwinski aptly puts it, were ‘informal training for the spectator of human rights’ (2011:12). Even if the visual culture of humanitarianism precedes the birth of photography, it is
. In limiting the application of humanitarian law, the use of corridors also further enables political instrumentalisation and manipulation of humanitarian access by armed actors on all sides. In this, the author provides a useful, historically grounded analysis of the risks of mobilising this language and the challenges to humanitarianism presented by its increasingly common – and uncritical – use. In the interview with Tony Redmond and Gareth Owen, Roísín Read leads us through an exploration of the role of history and memory in shaping communities of practice
approaches for crisis translation include technological developments like translation memory, glossary apps and MT engines ( O’Brien, 2019 ). 8 A translation memory is specialist software that allows a translator to reuse previous translations easily and speedily: as the translator types, the software proposes translations previously stored in its database. These technologies are standard in commercial translation settings and aim to increase translation quality while reducing time and costs