Essays English 2010 - Memory and its Role in Conflict

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Essays

Family memories

Kaja HaelbichHamburg, Germany In our course "Understanding Internal Dynamics of Societies in Conflict" we started to engage in the topic of Israel Palestine conflict by talking about memories. We discussed different kinds...

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Before the Rain or Before the War

Daniela Antonovska (Skopje, Macedonia)Course; Gender, sexuality and violent conflict Before the Rain or Before the War  Introduction The films’ script was written by Milcho Manchevski in 1991 after a visit to his birth...

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2010 - Memory and its Role in Conflict

Collective Memory on the Greek Civil War

Course: Memory and its role in conflict and conflict transformation
Lecturer: Orli Fridman

Collective Memory of the Greek Civil War: The Case of the Refugee Children

Course participant: Irena Avirovic, Skopje, Macedonia

As a result of the Greek Civil War of 1946-49, which saw both Macedonian and Greek Communists fighting alongside against the radical right wing in Greece, thousands of ethnic Macedonians were prosecuted or forced to leave the country. Among the refugees, whose number has been contested over the years, there were approximately 28.000 children (i) commonly known as the Refugee Children (Decata Begalci in Macedonian language). During 1948, the partisans helped the systematic evacuation of thousands of children from their native villages in Northern Greece; they were separated from their parents and transported to People’s Republic of Macedonia or Eastern Bloc countries, accompanied by young women, the so-called mothers. (ii)  It is the collective memory of the Refugee Children which I will try to examine in this essay in reference with the course attended and the case studies elaborated: the mnemonic memory in Israel, memory and denial in Srebrenica and memory and amnesia of the Spanish Civil War.
In the attempt of mapping the time (iii) of what happened to the ethnic Macedonian Refugee Children after the Greek Civil War, according to their collective memory, we would outline the following milestones:

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Hierarchy and canonization of memory

Course: Memory and its role in conflict and conflict transformation
Lecturer: Orli Fridman

Hierarchy and Canonization of Memory: Adaptation of Historiography to Socio-political Identity Construction

Course participant: Jasmina Gavrankapetanović-Redžić, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In his text 'Thinking about silence' (i),  Jay Winter underlines that the dichotomy  between memory and forgetting, that served as theoretical basis in Social Memory Studies for the past 15 years, has reached a level of saturation. The introduction of the category of ‘socially constructed silence’ permits deeper and further analysis and development of Memory Studies. Beside the fact that this concept has no spiritual (theological) dimension, (ii)  it also helps in the attempt to distance us from the Holocaust Studies framework and everything that has appeared in relevant studies since 1980. (iii)

In the following text, I will try to focus on the mechanisms through which certain events are 'canonized' and represent attempts to exemplify the present identity of a given group. Groups form their collective memory by proceeding to a degree of selection within their own historiography and appending more attention to certain events, while other events are suppressed or simply relegated to the background. As an example of this situation we can observe current treatments conferred to ‘partisan memorials’ in opposite to monuments erected after 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (iv)  In this case, the ideological delineations between (socialist) past and (non-socialist) present are quite clear. The question however becomes interesting when one group focuses on a certain event, no matter how important it might be for the given group, and accords to this particular event a ‘place of honor’ in its members’ collective memory.

 

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ReCom

Course: Memory and its role in conflict and conflict transformation
Lecturer: Orli Friedman

ReCom – Memory on the war in ex-Yugoslavia or Memory of fears

Course participant: Sakibe Jashari, Kosovo

Introduction
Initiative on establishing Regional Commission on Truth telling –RECOM

The armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia started in early 1991 in Slovenia expanding to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and completing with Macedonia. As in every post conflict situation, the number of human losses was huge in all areas of conflict. People talked about the crimes committed on all sides making labels on bases of ethnicity. All of them were inclined to accuse each other or to victimize themselves. In between of all this completion over victimization, the victims were left aside with a total number of some 16,000 missing persons in the whole former Yugoslavia.

The Regional Commission on Truth Telling -ReCom [i]was launched as an initiative in May 2008 in Podgorica with the objective to set up a public platform for victims and civil society in order to deliberate about the crimes committed in former Yugoslavia and how to develop the ReCom initiative as model were people and countries of the region would join the initiative. The core objective of ReCom is to establish the facts about war crimes and serious human rights violations committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, covering the timeline from January 1, 1991 until December 31, 2001.

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