On memory, coffee and an imperfect circle

Memory is not the opposite of forgetting, these two ideas are, as many others have also noted, twins. Rather memory unravels and intervenes, it destabilizes; so its opposite is institutionalized narrative. Memory is most powerful when it makes little sense in relation to the ways we try to tame it, be that for reactionary or liberal narratives. This also means one must part ways with memory at some point, switch to another language once lesson learning and meaning extraction become the goals. This work is overtly and rightly political, and must stake its claims on those grounds.

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An invitation withdrawn: two Srebrenica dilemmas

The real dilemma concerns what must be excised from international genocide and mass atrocities agendas in order to produce the kind of lessons learned that are palatable to powerful international actors. When truth telling aligns with the interests of power, it invariably softens its demands. If you bring together people from key international decision-making institutions to discuss a historical event that can only be deemed a colossal failure, the lessons will inevitably be focused on how the different actors did not coordinate their efforts behind a single, guiding ethos or policy. This is invariably true and it evenly distributes blame. It is also invariably true of many international failures, mistakes and faux-pas: it may even describe the “international community” rather than a problem within it.

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Rights on Display: Museums and Human Rights Claims

It is no accident that a museum would provide the context for an unexpected and powerful human rights intervention. And, although Wiesel’s provocation cannot be understood absent the particular circumstances of Holocaust memorialization and contemporary genocide, the inherent potential of museums to spark new forms of human rights activism is not limited to this framework. In the years since 1993, museums are increasingly testing the waters of engagement on human rights issues.

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Symbiosis between Peace Operations and Illicit Business in the Balkans: The Case of Bosnia

The conventional wisdom is that those who profit most from conflict have a financial stake in its perpetuation and are therefore often labeled as “peace spoilers.” This is no doubt true in many cases. However, as evident in Bosnia, a different dynamic is also possible; one in which war profiteers can become stakeholders in peace. Many of those who did well from war—through theft and diversion of aid, sanctions evasion, arms trafficking and other forms of smuggling—were in the most privileged position to take advantage of the post-war rebuilding process.

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