Remembrance – in a not so distant future!

Narrative 1 – Copenhagen Edition

During our Copenhagen workshop in June, one group discussed the importance of remembrance in the future: How might we remember and learn from the terrible capacities of humankind better than we do now?

The discussions went far and above and resulted in a two-page fictional newspaper called “Diversity Daily”. The ideas for solutions that the group came up with turned out to be more graspable and realistic than what could have been expected!  “Diversity Daily” presented the following ideas:

A new way of recounting history: the untold stories

In order to avoid forgetting and neglecting parts of history, the group discussed how a new form of recounting history is needed.

One of the fictional articles announced the opening of a New Museum of European History. The national museums of all countries lay out slightly different versions of history, because the telling of history is connected to national identity. An European Museum already exists in Brussels, but the idea of the group was not to have a museum about European institutions etc. This new museum should not only convey the common European values, but instead mainly focus on the different perspectives that one can have. It should tell a story – using the latest museological inventions in visuals, interactiveness etc. – but still clearly state that it is aware of doing so. It should not attempt to convey an absolute truth.

The museum should focus on narratives and real life stories from all over Europe. The importance of this is also what the fictional article “My grandfather was a fireman during WW2” tries to point out. Maybe even a regular man doing his regular job during WW2 could reveal some interesting knowledge!

Researching and sharing knowledge

Many of the fictional articles of “Diversity Daily” underline the importance of constantly attempting to gain new knowledge as well as the importance of sharing this knowledge.

Pointing towards things that are already currently happening, the newspaper mentions several initiatives, which should be sustained and even more widespread in order to avoid forgetting/neglecting: student-teacher exchanges, new ground breaking studies and conferences for students, academics and interest groups from several European nations (e.g. meeting to discuss different cases of persecution and genocide).

In the future, new technology should support this purpose, and who knows what kind of possibilites might exist then? As an example the group presented this idea: “New Open Acess Lexicon of World History published by historians from all over Europe includes free downloadable app that tells histories of Europe’s regions – with interactive map!”

Pan-European Memory Day

The final idea of the group was this: Having a pan-European memory day for victims of persecution and genocide. The immense effect that tradition with its wide net of symbols, songs etc. can have, should not be undermined. By celebrating a onesided version of history, you end up forgetting things that do not fit into the story. But that does not mean that telling a story in general is wrong (or even avoidable). The important thing is what we choose to commemorate. Commemorating the victims of persecution and genocide collectively all over Europe might be an effective way to make people feel more connected. And of course to make them remember and learn from the horrors of history.

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