Places of remembrance are more than geographic locations; at times they can be breeding grounds for the construction of collective identities. That which we choose to remember, or rather, to forget, neglect and fall silent on, speaks volumes about the present we live in, and about the vision of the future we wish to build.
The politics of history has treated places of remembrance selectively – highlighting what it deems appropriate for the construction of a national identity, leaving all else behind to be forgotten or labeled as propaganda. By selecting places of remembrance in this way, different versions of historical events are formed, ones that are viewed through a very narrowed lens.
What does Kosovo, as a meeting point of different peoples and their conflicts, their different national and religious identities, have as its heritage? What monuments have we built, and what do we now choose to remember? What mark has the war left on monument culture, what places have quite literally crumbled, and which ones have decayed through neglect? Do the monuments we build and cherish today, as well as the narratives we construe around them, reflect the peacemaking efforts and the development of democratic societies that we strive for?
The continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue opens up room for the start of many important conversations, from the question of missing persons to the issues of cultural heritage. What is on the negotiation table in Brussels, and what should actually be discussed? Why is membership in UNESCO, an organization which cultivates cultural promotion and the protection of cultural heritage, perceived as a game which will result in loss for either side? How can we accept the multicultural nature of cultural heritage as an advantage, and make remembrance politics and places of remembrance more inclusive?
Attempting to answer these questions for Belgrade audiences are Jelena Pavličič (Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Art Pristina – Zvečan), Korab Krasniqi (forumZFD Kosovo & Manager of Kosovo Memory Heritage 1.0 Project/Publication) and Durim Abdulahu (Lecturer at the Faculty of Philosophy in Pristina), with moderation by journalist Antonela Riha.
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