in praise of forgetting historical memory and its ironies

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In Praise Of Forgetting

Author : David Rieff
ISBN : 9780300186666
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 48. 56 MB
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The conventional wisdom about historical memory is summed up in George Santayana’s celebrated phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Today, the consensus that it is moral to remember, immoral to forget, is nearly absolute. And yet is this right? David Rieff, an independent writer who has reported on bloody conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia, insists that things are not so simple. He poses hard questions about whether remembrance ever truly has, or indeed ever could, “inoculate” the present against repeating the crimes of the past. He argues that rubbing raw historical wounds—whether self-inflicted or imposed by outside forces—neither remedies injustice nor confers reconciliation. If he is right, then historical memory is not a moral imperative but rather a moral option—sometimes called for, sometimes not. Collective remembrance can be toxic. Sometimes, Rieff concludes, it may be more moral to forget. Ranging widely across some of the defining conflicts of modern times—the Irish Troubles and the Easter Uprising of 1916, the white settlement of Australia, the American Civil War, the Balkan wars, the Holocaust, and 9/11—Rieff presents a pellucid examination of the uses and abuses of historical memory. His contentious, brilliant, and elegant essay is an indispensable work of moral philosophy.

In Praise Of Forgetting

Author : David Rieff
ISBN : 9780300182798
Genre :
File Size : 78. 80 MB
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A leading contrarian thinker explores the ethical paradox at the heart of history's wounds

In Praise Of Forgetting

Author : David Rieff
ISBN : 0300227108
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 45. 41 MB
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Against Remembrance

Author : David Rieff
ISBN : 9780522860245
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 89. 17 MB
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In Against Remembrance, David Rieff provocatively argues that the business of remembrance, particularly of the great tragedies of the past, are policitised events of highly selective memory. Rather than ending injustices, as we expect it to, collective memory in so many cases dooms us to an endless cycle of vengeance. Humanity, he says, simply cannot cope with the true ambivalence of historical events. And if we remember only partially, how can our memories serve us, or our society, as well as we hope?

History And Popular Memory

Author : Paul A Cohen
ISBN : 9780231166362
Genre : History
File Size : 68. 3 MB
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When people experience a traumatic event, such as war or the threat of annihilation, they often turn to history for stories that promise a positive outcome to their suffering. During World War II, the French took comfort in the story of Joan of Arc and her heroic efforts to rid France of foreign occupation. To bring the Joan narrative more into line with current circumstances, popular retellings modified the original story so that what people believed took place in the past was often quite different from what actually occurred. Paul A. Cohen believes this interplay between story and history is a worldwide phenomenon found in countries of radically different cultural, religious, and social character. He focuses on Serbia, Israel, the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain, and France, all of which experienced severe crises in the twentieth century and, in response, appropriated age-old historical narratives that resonated with what was happening in the present to serve a unifying, restorative purpose. A central theme in the book is the distinction between popular memory and history. Although vitally important to historians, this distinction is routinely blurred in people’s minds, and the historian’s truth often cannot compete with the power of a compelling story from the past, even when it has been seriously distorted by myth or political manipulation. Cohen concludes by suggesting that the patterns of interaction he probes, given their near universality, may well be rooted in certain human propensities that transcend cultural difference.

The Reproach Of Hunger

Author : David Rieff
ISBN : 9781439148594
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 41. 98 MB
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Hailed as “invaluable…a substantial work of political thought,” (New Statesman) in a groundbreaking report, based on years of reporting, David Rieff assesses whether ending extreme poverty and widespread hunger is truly within our reach, as is increasingly promised. Can we provide enough food for nine billion people in 2050, especially the bottom poorest in the Global South? Some of the most brilliant scientists, world politicians, and aid and development experts forecast an end to the crisis of massive malnutrition in the next decades. The World Bank, IMF, and Western governments look to public-private partnerships to solve the problems of access and the cost of food. “Philanthrocapitalists” Bill Gates and Warren Buffett spend billions to solve the problem, relying on technology. And the international development “Establishment” gets publicity from stars Bob Geldorf, George Clooney, and Bono. “Hunger, [David Rieff] writes, is a political problem, and fighting it means rejecting the fashionable consensus that only the private sector can act efficiently” (The New Yorker). Rieff, who has been studying and reporting on humanitarian aid and development for thirty years, takes a careful look. He cites climate change, unstable governments that receive aid, the cozy relationship between the philanthropic sector and giants like Monsanto, that are often glossed over in the race to solve the crisis. “This is a stellar addition to the canon of development policy literature” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). The Reproach of Hunger is the most complete and informed description of the world’s most fundamental question: Can we feed the world’s population? Rieff answers a careful “Yes” and charts the path by showing how it will take seizing all opportunities; technological, cultural, and political to wipe out famine and malnutrition.

The Great War And The Origins Of Humanitarianism 1918 1924

Author : Bruno Cabanes
ISBN : 9781107020627
Genre : History
File Size : 39. 17 MB
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Pioneering study of the transition from war to peace and the birth of humanitarian rights after the Great War.

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