IN MEMORY OF WHAT?
History is told by the victors. Always. Get it? Let that sink in for a moment. Did you?
Ok, now here’s what happened.
So, as per the usual, my cousin and I were having our evening coffee and discussing
what qualifies a genocide, but we’ll circle back to that another day. What we ended up
discussing was what the memorial of a certain genocide actually serves. It gets a bit
cynical, sardonic at times, but most importantly, and maybe a bit far-fetchedly,
I guess my question is: when we visit a certain memorial museum, are we paying
tribute to the victims who have suffered the myriad of brutalities against humanity?
Of course, BUT, are we also indirectly celebrating the grandeur of the perpetrator
who has inflicted said brutalities? Scary, I know. Does this memorial stand as a
timeless warning against this perpetrator, what they have been able to achieve and get
away with, the atrocities they had the means to commit? Does this memorial
celebrate, scorn, tame or poke at the beast?
The optimist in me wants to believe that humanity will never be able to commit such
horrific atrocities without being chased and finally caught and persecuted by
humanitarian watchdogs. The realist, however, reads the news. Daily.
Pablo Escobar, for example, has been equally celebrated and demonized by the
masses. One second, don’t lose faith, I am going somewhere with this, I hope.
So, yes, Pablo Escobar, the drug lord, has managed to escape prison as many times as
he was shoved into one. It worries me how effortlessly I scoff as I scroll down the
news feed, every single time, without failing. What worries me even more is that I
also catch myself smiling every single time I scroll down the news feed and find out
that he has once again escaped. Somewhere in our psyche, we all want to see the
perpetrator get away with murder, it’s human nature, what we call in psychology the
Ed, the Lower Self. And it worries me. And it sort of revives faith in myself as a
segment of mankind that it worries me.
And so, with this bouquet of worries, I circle back to the memorial museum and ask
you this quick question, may it haunt you forever: How necessary is it to keep the
memory of a genocide alive?
Yes, in honor of the innocent lives lost, ideally, we should hold the annual memorial,
but memory also immortalizes the perpetrators who cold-bloodedly committed these
inhumanities. Am I still influenced by Morgan Freeman? You know, when he said
during an interview that Black History Month was “ridiculous” and that if we wanted
to attempt eradicating racism, that we should “stop talking about it”. Should we then,
in this sense, just erase once and for the whole chunk of history dedicated to
immortalizing perpetrators through annual condemnation, or just offer a new clean
slate of ignorance to the generations to come so as by and by history would be slowly,
but very steadily, be weeded out of all the memories of inhumanity and shame.
I am reminded of George Orwell’s “1984” where they invent New Speak and
eliminate words which hold intense emotions in hope of maintaining a status quo of
“peace”. Should we do the same? Are we then desensitizing mankind and taking their
right to feel and express their passion towards a nation, an ethnicity, an idea? A
dogma? Let me just interrupt your answer for a second and remind you that the
freedom of speech is not restricted to those who advocate love, equality, liberalism,
peace and butterflies. I’m sorry, what were you about to say? What would have gone
down in history that your answer was?
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re on the receiving end of this piece,
much as you were at the receiving end of the memorial museum of some atrocity, and
it’s all because history is told by the victors.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily reflect or represent those of Delirium Station.