Lest we Forget and How we Manage Remembering

Many Australians count ANZAC Day as one of the most important in the calendar: a reminder that we should never forget the contribution and suffering of those who served and their families in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. One of the key challenges in the aftermath of war and armed conflict is the challenge of dealing with recollections of violence and atrocities. Kevers, R., Rober, P. Derluyn, I. and De Haene, L. (2016) address this question in their paper Remembering Collective Violence: Broadening the Notion of Traumatic Memory in Post-Conflict Rehabilitation. The authors aim to expand the individual understanding of traumatic memory as conceptualized within PTSD-centred research and interventions to include findings from social memory studies and trans-cultural trauma research. They argue that each approach can mutually inform the other. Group interventions that access indigenous strategies of helping and healing ‘may enrich dialogue and inscribe the rehabilitation process within their local universes of meaning’  while individual intervention ‘can give individuals breathing room to express pain, sorrow and anger in a legitimate way and permit disclosure when the collective taboo becomes unbearable’.(p634) This approach allows attention to two crucial interconnected levels of system so each informs the other to the benefit of the individual and their community.

 

Kevers, R., Rober, P. Derluyn, I. and De Haene, L. (2016) Remembering Collective Violence: Broadening the Notion of Traumatic Memory in Post-Conflict Rehabilitation Cult Med Psychiatry 40: 620-640