Call Out for Fatu Radio Show April 10th 2000 - WHY SHOULD WE COMMEMORATE APRIL 10/11 2000 MASSACRE



By Sulayman Be Suwareh

George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Some might argue that we should have reconciliation to find closure, forgive and cautiously forget — perhaps to ensure that the April 10/11 atrocities and other pass tragedies do not distract the public from current development and moving forward concept. There is a good reason why these historical tragedies should never be laid to rest. With the massive influx of information in today’s culture, people’s attention spans are short-lived and inevitably jump from one outrage to another. It becomes difficult to process all of the information available, let alone analyse and respond to each event.

 But focusing on history together with current events creates a lens through which we can process what is going on around us both locally and globally. This is why the past, rather than distracting us from the present, gives us a means through which to both understand what is happening in our world today and to actively affect it.

Why, then, is history class, not enough? Why should society bother with actively commemorating the past through days of commemoration, ceremonies, and projects? 

Most educational researchers agree that the best way to both learns and remember is by combining “seeing, doing, and discussing.” It is the discussion of the connection between past, present, and future that will allow us to remember and apply history to our daily lives. It is seeing our government officials and local leaders actively participating in ceremonies that will set an example. And it is doing projects in memory of such tragedies that will help us develop a society that is conscious of what is at stake when some do not respect the rights of others to exist. The truth is that in order to ensure that our history has a continual impact on our actions and decision-making processes, we can never allow the past to be laid to rest.

Today, as news spreads through social media and the Internet, more and more voices can be heard and acknowledged. People can be informed, outraged, and then triggered to respond to tragedies that happen throughout the world. All of this means that there is greater accessibility to lessons about developing our own societies and ways of life. Perhaps growth can accelerate, but this won’t be possible without active commemoration. If we just “lay things to rest,” the passage of time and overload of information may cause people to become desensitized to the horrors that have transpired in our past. They may no longer be able to stand up and prevent the same mistakes from happening again. If something as monumental as the atrocities of April 10/11  — the largest genocide of the dictatorship, perpetrated by the leader of a nation that was viewed and still view in some corners of our society as the centre of culture and advancement — can be laid to rest, what are the implications for smaller-scaled but deeply important events such as the November 11 massacre of our gallant comrade in the Army?

After all, as George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”