This article about an Israeli artist’s tour of a busy Jerusalem road targeted by a number of suicide attacks can teach us a lot about the socio-political impact of memory. The same language we use to honor our dead can be used to perpetuate cycles of violence or inspire healing and forgiveness.
What I find most interesting about this story is the artist’s note that the language used in the memorial plaques reflected a hardening of public attitudes towards the violence, including a “terminology of revenge”.
There might be a multiplicity of reasons why the public (or any public) might find that language more palatable as time goes on and violence continues. But how the very simple act of memorial gets wrapped up in so many other emotions is incredibly instructive when it comes to understanding and abating conflict.