When Human Rights Memorials Actually Fan the Flames of Nationalism
From the New Books Network's Book of the Day Podcast
In The Past Can’t Heal Us (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Lea David investigates the relationship between human rights and memory and makes the case that human rights should be treated as an ideology, which would give us better tools to recognize the real impact human rights has on the ground. David traces the rise of the global phenomenon that is the human rights memorialization agenda and explores what happens once this agenda becomes implemented.
Based on evidence from the Western Balkans and Israel/Palestine, she argues that the human rights memorialization agenda does not lead to a better appreciation of human rights but merely strengthens national sentiments, divisions, and animosities, and leads to the new forms of societal inequalities we have today.
Lea David is Assistant Professor in the School of Sociology at University College Dublin.
Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is Lecturer in Early Modern European History at King’s College London.