The School of Diplomacy and the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies held a discussion on the topic: Towards an Ethics of Commemoration - Reflections on Armenia’s Quest for Recognition with Hans Gutbrod.
How should we approach the commemoration of suffering? Usually, empathy and common decency suggest we partake and remain silent even if we have reservations. At the same time, a kind of sacralization of the past carries risks for the present and future, as Micheal Rothberg, Timothy Snyder, and other authors have pointed out. The Armenian quest for genocide recognition can illustrate some of the risks of such “absolute politics” (Rothberg). This became especially apparent in the context of the Karabakh conflict in the fall of 2020. And yet Armenian commemoration also shows up the transformative approach taken by the Aurora Prize, of moving to a focus on affirming saviors everywhere, now.
Hans Gutbrod teaches at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has worked in the Caucasus region since 1999 and regularly publishes on political, economic, and social developments in the region. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.