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Some Things Are Worth Forgetting by Rebecca Onion

In his new book, In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies, journalist David Rieff questions the idea that remembering the past is an inherently virtuous practice that will help us solve present-day problems. It’s a philosophical argument that he pursues across the globe, invoking examples drawn from the histories of the United States, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Bosnia, Israel, and Ireland, among others. “What if,” Rieff asks, “a decent measure of communal forgetting is actually the sine qua non of a peaceful and decent society, while remembering is the politically, socially, and morally risky pursuit?”

This brief but powerful volume follows Rieff’s many previous books, on the war in Bosnia, humanitarianism, the global food system, war crimes, and the death of his mother, Susan Sontag. We spoke by phone about the advantages of strategic forgetfulness, the difference between history and collective memory, and the current debate over renaming statues and buildings on college campuses. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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