By proposing an “ethics of memory” which is composed of 6 recommendations, the analysis “Uses and misuses of memory” questions the role played by the commemoration of violence in the dynamics of exiting violence and creating a non-violent democratic public space.
The consequences of past violence very often lead States, civil society and individuals to undertake a process of “memorialisation” in order to heal a past trauma among survivors and their loved ones. While this memorial work, particularly through public commemoration, reveals the extent to which the state and society recognize the suffering experienced and help build a future without violence, it can also be a source of tension.
Indeed, the work carried out here shows how the reification of certain histories can be the cause of social divisions or marginalization when this work of memory emanates from the State. As for symbolic gestures, they can lead to a return to violence when they are part of a political will to divert the dialogue on essential structural reforms.
Since memory “operates in the wake of violence”, particularly in mass violence, this work also questions the complex relationship between memory, forgetting and justice and raises the question of forgetting and silence as possible strategies to exit violence.
The recommendations proposed at the end of the chapter emphasise, among other things, the need to take into account the grief of those who suffered from this violence and to develop an ethic of remembrance that recognises the suffering of everyone.