On memory and amnesia

First, about selective amnesia regarding the bombing 60 years ago of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, see Danny Schecter's News Dissector.

And on selective remembering, from my friend and colleague Dirk van Nouhuys:
I was in Berlin recently. The idea of a war memorial was naturally quite touchy for the Germans after the Second World War, and they did not make one for many years. This is what they finally did-: They took an existing neoclassical building -; basically it looks like a Doric temple, a smaller version of Grant’s tomb. Inside is one large room with in the middle a sculpture of a mother morning her dead child. A bit pietá-like, but not too. Three corpses are buried there, an unknown German soldier, and unknown concentration camp victim, and an unknown resistance fighter.

This seems to me to represent maturity born of suffering.

Really, the principal should apply to most war memorials. Not only the victors suffer.

Shouldn’t US memorials for the Second World War include a victim of the Hiroshima bombing, and the Dresden bombing as well?

I think the Vietnam memorial in Washington is one of the great pieces of public art, but should there not be recognition of the tens of thousands of Vietnamese whom the Americans killed? Maybe some one killed at Kent State s well?

And when the Americans declare victory and scuttle out of Iraq, or whatever happens, should not the ensuing memorial include representation of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who died? Maybe even proportionally?

Fat chance.

- Dirk van Nouhuys
Susana & I were also in Berlin recently, to participate in a week-long symposium of Germans and Argentinians on how to commemorate state atrocities. I hope to say more about that here soon.

(Nagasaki bombing image from Bombardements.)

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