Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization [1st ed.] 9783030609818, 9783030609825

In this book, practitioners and students discover perspectives on landscape, place, heritage, memory, emotions and geopo

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Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization [1st ed.]
 9783030609818, 9783030609825

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xix
Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 1-25
Front Matter ....Pages 27-28
WWI Centennials and Unfolding Legacies (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 29-42
Geography: Place and Memory Nexus (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 43-69
Memories and Experiences (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 71-97
Cultural Landscape and Heritage Sites (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 99-119
Sustainable Development Versus Human-Made Atrocities—Never Again (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 121-148
Front Matter ....Pages 149-152
Kaleidoscoping Centennial Memories (2012–23) in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 153-188
‘Nowhere to Pay Our Respects’: Constructing Memorials for the Irish Dead of World War I in the Republic of Ireland, 2006–2018 (Jonathan Cherry)....Pages 189-210
Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity (Yılmaz Arı)....Pages 211-228
A New Memory Space: Sarikamiş (Kars/Turkey) (Alper Uzun, Mustafa Fırat Gül)....Pages 229-246
From the Great War to Interwar Fortifications: Changing Narratives Attached to the Military Landscape in Western Slovenia (Peter Kumer, Matija Zorn, Grega Žorž, Primož Gašperič)....Pages 247-263
Trieste: Many Dimensions of a Disputed Port-City—At the Crossroads of Spaces and Times (Gianfranco Battisti)....Pages 265-277
Front Matter ....Pages 279-284
Encounters Between Islam and Christianity: Mohács and Kosovo Polje (Norbert Pap, Péter Reményi)....Pages 285-305
Syria: Memorializing Past and Present ‘Martyrs’ Under Fire (Angela Gissi)....Pages 307-326
Of—Borders and Memories: Erased Boundaries in the Land of Israel (Tal Yaar-Waisel)....Pages 327-347
The Conservation of Traumatic Ruins: A Piece of Memorabilia to Perform Urban Resilience (Antoine Le Blanc)....Pages 349-365
Architectural Trends: Cultural and Social Affinities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) (Elša Turkušić Jurić)....Pages 367-386
Housing Memories in Riga: WWI and Its Aftermath—Representation of the Apartment in Soviet Cinema and Now (Janis Matvejs)....Pages 387-410
Front Matter ....Pages 411-414
Inclusive Heritage, Conflict Commemoration and the Centenary of World War One in Northern Ireland (Rachel Tracey, Keith D. Lilley)....Pages 415-436
Gibraltar: Recovery and Memorialisation of the First World War in the 21st Century (Jennifer Ballantine Perera)....Pages 437-458
The Heritage of Trauma: Commemorative Monuments of the Asia Minor Catastrophe in Greece (Lia Galani, Stelios Lekakis)....Pages 459-477
Remembrance, Space, Education: Emancipatory and Activist Approaches Through (Geo-)media (Thomas Jekel, Tim Schötz, Katharina Wöhs)....Pages 479-492
Overall Concludins/Typo (Gerry O’Reilly)....Pages 493-505
Exploring Places of Memory and Their Legacies: Self-directed Learning, Activities and Questions for Reflection and Revision (Ruth McManus)....Pages 507-533

Citation preview

Key Challenges in Geography EUROGEO Book Series

Gerry O’Reilly   Editor

Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization

Key Challenges in Geography EUROGEO Book Series

Series Editors Kostis Koutsopoulos, European Association of Geographers, National Technical University of Athens, Pikermi, Greece Rafael de Miguel González, University of Zaragoza & EUROGEO, Zaragoza, Spain Daniela Schmeinck, Institut Didaktik des Sachunterrichts, University of Cologne, Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

This book series addresses relevant topics in the wide field of geography, which connects the physical, human and technological sciences to enhance teaching, research, and decision making. Geography provides answers to how aspects of these sciences are interconnected and are forming spatial patterns and processes that have impact on global, regional and local issues and thus affect present and future generations. Moreover, by dealing with places, people and cultures, Geography explores international issues ranging from physical, urban and rural environments and their evolution, to climate, pollution, development and political economy. Key Challenges in Geography is an initiative of the European Association of Geographers (EUROGEO), an organization dealing with examining geographical issues from a European perspective, representing European Geographers working in different professional activities and at all levels of education. EUROGEO’s goal and the core part of its statutory activities is to make European Geography a worldwide reference and standard. The book series serves as a platform for members of EUROGEO as well as affiliated National Geographical Associations in Europe, but is equally open to contributions from non-members. The book series addresses topics of contemporary relevance in the wide field of geography. It has a global scope and includes contributions from a wide range of theoretical and applied geographical disciplines. Key Challenges in Geography aims to: • present collections of chapters on topics that reflect the significance of Geography as a discipline; • provide disciplinary and interdisciplinary titles related to geographical, environmental, cultural, economic, political, urban and technological research with a European dimension, but not exclusive; • deliver thought-provoking contributions related to cross-disciplinary approaches and interconnected works that explore the complex interactions among geography, technology, politics, environment and human conditions; • publish volumes tackling urgent topics to geographers and policy makers alike; • publish comprehensive monographs, edited volumes and textbooks refereed by European and worldwide experts specialized in the subjects and themes of the books; • provide a forum for geographers worldwide to communicate on all aspects of research and applications of geography, with a European dimension, but not exclusive. All books/chapters will undergo a blind review process with a minimum of two reviewers. An author/editor questionnaire, instructions for authors and a book proposal form can be obtained by contacting the Publisher.

More information about this series at

Gerry O’Reilly Editor

Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization


Editor Gerry O’Reilly School of History and Geography Dublin City University Dublin, Ireland

ISSN 2522-8420 ISSN 2522-8439 (electronic) Key Challenges in Geography ISBN 978-3-030-60981-8 ISBN 978-3-030-60982-5 (eBook) © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Memory installs remembrance within the sacred; history, always prosaic, releases it again. Memory is blind to all but the group it binds… At the heart of history is a critical discourse that is antithetical to spontaneous memory… History is perpetually suspicious of memory, and its true mission is to suppress and destroy it… There are lieux de mémoire, sites of memory, because there are no longer milieux de mémoire, real environments of memory. Pierre Nora, Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire, Representations 26 (1989). The greatest cruelties of our century have been the impersonal cruelties of remote decision, of system and routine, especially when they could be justified as regrettable operational necessity. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 (1994).


This book, Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, attempts to bring together concepts of place and memory regarding not only the past but also the contemporary significance of such places. What do spaces such as those associated with World War I (WWI) actually mean to people nowadays, especially at a period of great transition accelerated by intensive globalizing flows of finance, commerce, news, culture and people? The socio-political malaise found throughout Europe, whether in France, Turkey or the Visegrád countries, and especially following the 2007 financial crash, was further highlighted in 2016 by the UK Brexit referendum vote to leave the EU, and also the election of US President Trump. Place and memory concepts can pose challenges for individuals in their personal and social lives as with issues of identity, citizenship and social or political inheritances from the past. Many types of practitioners have to take these challenges into account including urban, rural and landscape planners, architects, heritage site and museum managers. It is similar for the academic categories - teachers, researchers, educators and students—including geographers, historians, archaeologists, political and social scientists, and people involved in the arts, literature, film studies, media, journalism, heritage and tourism industries. Similarly, organizations must be cognizant, as with local grassroots groups, national and international NGOs, and governmental institutions at national and international scales. Significantly, here must also be added to the list are politicians and policy-makers, and consequently the public and electorates. Places of memory are usually associated with emotions. This can give rise to different perspectives and contentions regarding how they are perceived, used and interpreted, or forgotten, hidden or cut out of history. They hold a certain power potential where consensus building is important, but their control may be shared, monopolized, appropriated or denied. They can be used for positive or negative purposes vis-à-vis territorial, psychological, cultural and power paradigms, and can be a keystone in the geopolitics of emotions.




Besides spaces of joy and celebration, dark spaces associated with suffering, death and trauma exist as with WWI sites in Belgium, France and Turkey supported by regional, national or UNESCO institutions. These include Flanders Fields, the Douaumont Ossuary Memorial containing the bones of 130,000 unknown soldiers who died on the battlefields of Verdun in 1916, the memorial ruins of the destroyed villages in Lorraine, the rebuilt Rheims Cathedral and Louvain’s University library destroyed during the war. Likewise, the memorialization at Gallipoli has touched generations in Turkey, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and throughout the former European and Ottoman empires, while places of memory regarding the Armenian genocide, or ‘population exchanges’ between Turkey and Greece, often remain ‘hidden’, or disputed. Places of memory and conscience listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites are there out of respect for the dead, to support a physical manifestation in the landscape, to remind citizens of the past, to encourage reflection and dialogue and so to learn from it. Places like Douaumont can serve as a space for multiple and shared memories, reconciliation and education. The Island of Ireland Peace Park with its iconic Celtic monastic Round Tower in Messines, near Ypres/Ieper in Flanders Belgium, is a memorial to WWI soldiers from all areas of Ireland, North and South. Significantly, it was inaugurated in 1998, the same year as the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement was signed after decades of violent conflict. Such places of memory can now promote reconciliation, human rights, democratization and ‘learning from the past’. From this perspective, UNESCO promotes not only the duty to remember, but also the right of people to remember as demanded by survivors, their families, descendants and supporters. This book aims to offer insights into the nexus between geography, geopolitics and memory, with memorialization and commemoration—being (re)constructed and adapted by different interest groups and especially the State for each new generation. Concepts regarding power, conflict and places of memory are interpreted by various authors throughout Europe, including the role of the state and the international community regarding spaces of memory, and in mitigating and preventing violence and war. Here, the material and existential or imagined reasons for conflict are implicitly explored. To use the concept of places of memory was mooted by me in 2018–19 for special sessions at various Geography conferences including those of the European Association of Geographers (EUROGEO), and there was a strong response. Building on this and papers presented, I drew up a summary proposal for a book project, with the keywords: places/spaces of memory, legacies, scapes, present socio-political malaise, insecurities, globalization, centennials, WWI and commemorations, and invited authors to contribute chapters. In this way, a new network of interest developed. Only three people within the group already knew one another somewhat. Therefore, there was no ‘cloning’ of people, or language or friendship groups, thus avoiding the proverbial echo chamber. The wide range of contributors and perspectives—geographically, discipline-wise, age-wise, culturally and linguistically—has ensured an extensive array of perspectives and research source material in the original languages. Similarly, regarding methodologies and



academic traditions, the range of authors’ approaches greatly enhances the overall presentation. In Part I, the focus is on concepts and theory—sites of memory—centennials, narratives, social-constructions, legacies and emotions. Exploring WWI places of memory, and their (re)creation, rituals, voices and legacies, needs to be interpreted not only in terms of the past, but also in the light of current experiences, attitudes and insecurities of citizens and governments in an age of accelerated globalization. The nexus between place and memory—territory, time, history, politics and heritage—in landscape and mind-scapes is illustrated throughout the chapters. Place and memory are embedded in cultural landscapes, often supported by grassroots NGOs, and UNESCO (World Heritage Sites), EU and Council of Europe bodies. However, there are also contesting voices. Regarding WHS and Sites of Conscience or Shame, they can promote human rights, sustainability and democracy due to their potential for furthering empathy and learning processes. Awareness of political extremism and human-made atrocities fuelled by injustice, ignorance, hate-speak, racism, populism and so forth needs to be counteracted. In 1918, Slovenia became part of the new state of Yugoslavia, and eventually gained its full independence in 1991. Its experience of changing boundaries is embedded in the landscape and the historical geopolitics of Austrian control of the port-city of Trieste until 1918. The Slovene narrative illustrates how many sites of memory in its borderlands are being rediscovered and linked together forming an important place in the heritage, green trails and tourism sectors. Trieste, with its iconic sites and narratives, was incorporated into the Italian state after WWI, providing its citizens and visitors alike with an archaeology of power and memory constructs. In Part III, legacies, ghosts and memorials are reviewed in mind-scapes and landscapes of Mohács, Hungary and Kosovo alongside the historical geopolitics of Islam and Christianity at the intersections of competing empires. Shadows of WWI battles, nationalisms and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s feed into issues of identity and state support for sites of commemoration, also taking into account attitudes to immigrants and refugees in political discourses. Coincidentally with the time-slice of the WWI centennials, there has been an increasing flow of refugees from the Middle East to Europe that provides citizens with a reminder of events that occurred a century ago, as with the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from Luxembourg, Belgium, the Rhineland, Armenia, Greece and throughout the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. Here, it is significant how the Assad regime in Syria uses the Martyr’s Square in Damascus as a place of memory that commemorates the execution of seven Syrian nationalists in 1916 by the Ottoman authorities. This memorial tradition has been used throughout the civil war (2011 on) by the regime promoting state-nationalism as embodied by President Assad’s defense of the nation. In the neighbouring once British mandated territory of Palestine, ‘the land of Israel’ and places of memory associated with boundaries are appraised from the author’s standpoint regarding one specific strand in the Israeli national narrative.



In urban-scapes where war destruction has taken place—whether Damascus, Jerusalem, Sarajevo, Riga, Rheims or Belfast—besides the restoration of iconic sites, alongside the creation of memories, the conservation of traumatic ruins can act as a piece of memorabilia attesting to urban resilience and convey multiple messages. Over various historical eras, the authorities, populace and planners in Sarajevo have had to react to this, paralleling the Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) experiences of change, necessary pragmatism, identity and heritage, and particularly after WWI and during the interwar years when BiH was incorporated into Yugoslavia, but again since the wars of the 1990s. Concepts of urban living, communal apartments, ideology and cinematic landscape are explored in Riga, a city that suffered much destruction during WWI, Russian Revolution and Bolshevism before Latvia’s incorporation into the USSR in 1941, and re-emerged as an independent state in 1991. Here, the geography of film provides insights into new historiographic perspectives in architecture, space and the imagination of urban environment as lived by the citizens. In Part IV are reviewed lessons from the past, and social education with case study material from Northern Ireland and its use of WWI centennials promoting projects that bring together people from different historical political traditions. As with colonial heritages in Northern Ireland, people in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar have been reappraising their own identities during the centennial period with the creation of WWI expositions, projects and activities, and are no longer prepared to just ‘repeat’ the narratives of their ‘adjunct’ service roles, in the British naval force stories and UK commemorations. Juxtaposed with this is the heritage of trauma and commemorative monuments of the Asia Minor catastrophe in Greece. Here is appraised the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) and the influx of refugees that played major roles in shaping Greece’s narrative of national identity. Monuments and commemorations are critically reviewed in the present, and the new national identity in Greece with calls for a more proactive reconciliation between the people of Greece and Turkey with so many shared histories and places of memory. Spaces of memory are significant not only for history and geographical research, but also for the present, as they have an imminent contemporary relevance for students and society alike. Socio-political experiences that give rise to controversies can be used with emancipatory and activist approaches in education through the use of geomedia, using a suitable spatial and communicative medium, according to arguments presented. Following on from the above parts and conclusion, there is a section on autonomous learning encouraging readers to reflect on concepts, themes, research skills and methodologies found throughout the chapters. This is enhanced with revision questions drawn from all the chapters in the book juxtaposed with discussion topics, research and project ideas encompassing transferable competencies and skills. As with the book itself, the reader can dip in and out of the different activities that are suggested. Dublin, Ireland

Gerry O’Reilly


This book is dedicated to those practitioners, researchers, staff and organizations that do work concerning sites of memory as without their efforts it is most likely that there would be greater voids in our understanding of the past and comprehension of ‘where we are’ in the present. By not taking a historical determinism standpoint, but rather seeing the possibilities, this gives us insights into how best to help shape the future. While many memory and heritage sites give joy, entertainment or even inspiration, dark places including sites of conscience exist that recall the duty as well as the right of survivors and their descendants to remember, and for society to learn from the past so as to ensure not repeating the wrongs of the past. Sites where major abuses, injustice and atrocities have been committed against people, in the name of this or that extremism, utopian model turning to dystopia, ideology, or ‘more simply’ the darker side of humanity banalizing evil, are remembrance sites that can act as ‘early warning systems’ encouraging us not to accept nor tolerate their repetition by supporting systems, policies, populism(s) or individuals trying to normalize the abnormal. Sites of memory and conscience can be supports in fostering greater dialogue, democracy and sustainability. Nonetheless, they can also be abused in interpretation, commemoration and message projections depending on the power of those who do so. I would particularly like to thank past and present colleagues and students who have debated and opened up understandings from many perspectives on sites of memory and commemoration issues, including local people on the ground, NGOs and GO staff who have been generous with their time. A very special thanks goes to each of the chapter writers who came on board with the overarching aims of the book. Their scope and originality have enhanced the work, offsetting echo-chamber syndrome affects regarding approaches or places of memory chosen. Encouragement and support in completing the work has come from my colleague Prof. Ruth McManus (Dublin City University), Prof. Michael Leuchner, (Geography Department, Aachen University), formerly Publishing Editor at Springer, and Dr. Robert Doe, Executive Editor—Geography, Springer, and especially Prof. Karl Donert, European Association of Geography (EUROGEO). xi



And of course my family—my wife Valérie who was born in Verdun and has walked many sites with me over three decades throughout Europe, Canada, the USA, Gibraltar, Morocco and South Africa in sun, rain and snow with the camera always ready as she’s the more gifted photographer. Also on the places of memory journey, I would like to thank my daughters Aisling and Alannah, and son Shane, for their patience. Recently they were reminiscing about visiting memory sites when they were children and especially their experiences in Verdun, Rheims, Toronto, Quebec, South Africa and so on. They said that “the trips were great but sometimes the darker stories were not always easy”. Many thanks are due to my father- and mother-in-law, Jean-Michel and Marie-Pol Voisin, who live 45 kilometres from Verdun and introduced me for the first time in 1989 to the locally known WWI sites of memory, as well as the national and international sites in the area. In August 2018, we visited the grave of Marie-Pol’s grandfather who had been buried in the Landrecourt military cemetery in the Verdun region, far from any main road, and having died from injuries suffered on the Chemin des Dames, a vitally geostrategic area in the Western Front system. Significantly, the Villy-La Ferté Fort on the WWII Maginot Line is located just 12 kilometres from the family home. I would like to thank those people responsible for the various EU Erasmus Programmes over the years that afforded me the opportunities of staff mobility visits and projects that enabled me to go to places of memory, so putting the pieces of the European narratives together. Thanks are also due to Dublin City University for conference travel funding regarding work on places of memory.


Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gerry O’Reilly


Concepts and Theory—Sites of Memory—Centennials, Narratives, Social-Constructions, Legacies and Emotions WWI Centennials and Unfolding Legacies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gerry O’Reilly


Geography: Place and Memory Nexus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gerry O’Reilly


Memories and Experiences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gerry O’Reilly


Cultural Landscape and Heritage Sites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gerry O’Reilly


Sustainable Development Versus Human-Made Atrocities—Never Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Gerry O’Reilly The First World War and Peace: Boundaries, Legacies and Commemorations Kaleidoscoping Centennial Memories (2012–23) in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 Gerry O’Reilly ‘Nowhere to Pay Our Respects’: Constructing Memorials for the Irish Dead of World War I in the Republic of Ireland, 2006–2018 . . . . . . . . . 189 Jonathan Cherry




Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity . . . . 211 Yılmaz Arı A New Memory Space: Sarikamiş (Kars/Turkey) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 Alper Uzun and Mustafa Fırat Gül From the Great War to Interwar Fortifications: Changing Narratives Attached to the Military Landscape in Western Slovenia . . . . . . . . . . . . 247 Peter Kumer, Matija Zorn, Grega Žorž, and Primož Gašperič Trieste: Many Dimensions of a Disputed Port-City—At the Crossroads of Spaces and Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265 Gianfranco Battisti Legacies and Ghosts in Landscapes and Mindscapes Encounters Between Islam and Christianity: Mohács and Kosovo Polje . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285 Norbert Pap and Péter Reményi Syria: Memorializing Past and Present ‘Martyrs’ Under Fire . . . . . . . . 307 Angela Gissi Of—Borders and Memories: Erased Boundaries in the Land of Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327 Tal Yaar-Waisel The Conservation of Traumatic Ruins: A Piece of Memorabilia to Perform Urban Resilience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349 Antoine Le Blanc Architectural Trends: Cultural and Social Affinities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367 Elša Turkušić Jurić Housing Memories in Riga: WWI and Its Aftermath—Representation of the Apartment in Soviet Cinema and Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387 Janis Matvejs Lessons From the Past Inclusive Heritage, Conflict Commemoration and the Centenary of World War One in Northern Ireland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415 Rachel Tracey and Keith D. Lilley Gibraltar: Recovery and Memorialisation of the First World War in the 21st Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437 Jennifer Ballantine Perera



The Heritage of Trauma: Commemorative Monuments of the Asia Minor Catastrophe in Greece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459 Lia Galani and Stelios Lekakis Remembrance, Space, Education: Emancipatory and Activist Approaches Through (Geo-)media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 479 Thomas Jekel, Tim Schötz, and Katharina Wöhs Overall Concludins/Typo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 493 Gerry O’Reilly Exploring Places of Memory and Their Legacies: Self-directed Learning, Activities and Questions for Reflection and Revision . . . . . . . 507 Ruth McManus

Editor and Contributors

About the Editor Gerry O’Reilly is an Associate Professor in Geography, and International Coordinator for the School of History and Geography, Dublin City University (DCU). His research and teaching interests are in geopolitics, human-made catastrophes, humanitarian action and cultural geography, places of memory, sustainable development and education. He obtained his Ph.D. from Durham University, UK, MA from National University of Ireland (University College Cork), HDipEd and BA, Maynooth University. Post-doctoral research was undertaken in political geography and sustainable development at University College Dublin. Before joining DCU in 1997, Gerry held lectureship and research posts at UCD, and Universities of Durham, Tunis, and Algeria-Annaba, and Visiting Professorship at The Ohio State University, Columbus. He was Erasmus Mundus Visiting Fellow at University of Western Cape (2009), Toronto York University (2008) and Columbia University, NY (2007). He is Vice President of European Association of Geographers (EUROGEO). Among his most recent publications is Aligning Geopolitics, Humanitarian Action and Geography in Times of Conflict (2019) Springer.



Editor and Contributors

Contributors Yılmaz Arı Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Department of Geography, Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University, Bandırma, Balıkesir, Turkey Gianfranco Battisti Department of Humanities (DISU), University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy Jonathan Cherry School of History and Geography, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland Lia Galani National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece Primož Gašperič Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia Angela Gissi Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland Mustafa Fırat Gül Niğde Ömer Halisdemir University, Niğde, Turkey Thomas Jekel University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria Elša Turkušić Jurić Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architectural Design, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina Peter Kumer Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia Antoine Le Blanc Université du Littoral Côte D’Opale, Université de Lille, EA 4477 – TVES—Territoires Villes Environnement and Société, Dunkerque, France Stelios Lekakis McCord Centre, Newcastle University, Tyne, UK Keith D. Lilley Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK Janis Matvejs Department of Geography, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia Ruth McManus School of History and Geography, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland Gerry O’Reilly School of History and Geography, Dublin City University, Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland Norbert Pap Department of Political Geography, Regional and Development Studies, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary Jennifer Ballantine Perera Institute for Gibraltar and Mediterranean Studies, Garrison Library and University of Gibraltar, Gibraltar, UK

Editor and Contributors


Péter Reményi Department of Political Geography, Regional and Development Studies, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary Tim Schötz University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria Rachel Tracey Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK Alper Uzun Balıkesir University, Balikesir, Turkey Katharina Wöhs University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria Tal Yaar-Waisel Oranim College of Education, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel Matija Zorn Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia Grega Žorž Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Ministry of Culture, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory Gerry O’Reilly

Abstract The aim of this chapter is to set the context, in order to appraise concepts dealing with sites of memory and the origins of this book project alongside approaches and methodologies of authors from various academic traditions. Overall the objective is to review narratives—past, present and future—of spaces of memory, memorialization and social-constructions from geographical and interdisciplinary perspectives using the 1914–18 World War One (WWI) centennials as an anchor, to give insights into its continuing unfolding legacies, and especially current geographies and geopolitics of emotions in Europe and elsewhere in an age of insecurities and globalization. The aim is not to write academic histories of WWI here, but rather to explore narratives of places of memory in their contemporary landscapes and geopolitical contexts embedded in wider geographical and socio-political discourses. Keywords Sites of memory · Centennials · Narratives · Social-constructions · Interdisciplinary · WWI legacies · Emotions

Context, Legacies, Commemoration Context World War One (WWI) marked the first major industrialized, mechanized war, geographically impacting on all continents to varying degrees, and in terms of numbers of military and civilian casualties. This clash between imperial powers, marked the beginning of the end for traditional-style imperialism in Europe and abroad. This witnessed an accelerated change from aristocratic rule to varying interpretations of democracy—liberal; or social (national socialism—fascism); or

G. O’Reilly (B) Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



G. O’Reilly

Marxism-Leninism (people’s democracy—under complete control of the communist party and state)—leading to further ideological clashes in WWII and afterwards with the Cold War (1945–1991). Until 1918, the military managerial elite and officers were drawn mostly from aristocratic and upper classes, while the vast majority in the armed forces were ordinary people, typically workers in agriculture or the trades in urban areas, being incorporated by recruitment or conscription.1

Belchite Ghost Village—Zaragoza Province, 300 km west of Barcelona, destroyed 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Source Vista_general01.JPG

After 1918, the traditional imperial heroic victory, home country-centric memorialization commemorations took on a different, more pluralistic, mass grief ambiance, due to the great numbers of citizens who suffered family losses in WWI. The horrific costs of the aristocratic social construct were witnessed in many areas 1 See

YouTube: People’s Century Part 02 1914 Killing Fields. 1vQQ. The Great War. Books: Paul Fussell. 1975 The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford University Press. The best books on World War I recommended by Jonathan Boff. The 17 Best Books on World War I of 2019.

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory


Fig. 1 Map—Europe Alliances 1914. Source ope_alliances_1914-en.svg

and especially Gallipoli, Somme and Marne where incredible suffering and death were witnessed. Commemoration was epitomized with creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—tradition, firstly in Paris, followed by London and then many other places.2 The symbolic ‘secular’ cenotaph, with its pre-Christian origins, now a type of empty tomb, catered for people of all religious beliefs and none, in a world where religion and elite-state narratives often held little meaning or succour for many traumatized survivors and bereaved families facing unemployment and poverty. Many citizens were not now prepared to return to the pre-1914 socio-political conditions, and class-power constructs. Therefore, a very new form of commemoration was invented. Significantly, these monuments and ceremonials had to cater for ordinary people, but also the missing, unidentified, and literally pulverized combatants—and their grieving families. However, to the forefront remained La Patrie and the armed forces in national narratives.

2 See:

1941–18 Online—International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Memory of the War: Popular Memory 1918–45, 1945–Present. By Susanne Brandt. 24 May 2017. 1918-1945_1945_to_the_present.


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Fig. 2 Map—Europe 1922. Source 1922.gif

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory


WWII: Axis Controlled (Blue) Versus Allied Powers (Red) 1941–42. Source https://upload.wikime


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1945–1991: Cold War European Military Alliances. Source phy_of_the_Cold_War#/media/File:Cold_war_europe_military_alliances_map_en.png

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory


Twenty-eight Countries in EU in 2019, but 27 in 2020 due to UK exit. Source https://upload.wik

Legacies With the ending of the WWI, there was a rise in pacifist movements, especially in Western Europe, an epicentre of carnage, unlike the USA where no invasions nor battles had been fought. However, the USA joined the allies—Britain, France and Russia in 1917 and two million American soldiers fought on the battlefields of France. Alongside this, there developed greater right and left wing politics especially in Europe, including strong trade union movements. Small states created in the wake of WWI sought a modus vivendi regarding larger European states as with Czechoslovakia and Ireland. While such states survived in Western Europe, they were especially challenged in eastern and central Europe, and particularly from 1939 on. Largely due to WWI experiences, Australia and New Zealand (ANZAC) once ‘offshoot colonies of Britain’ now developed greater nation-state identities—forged in the bloody narratives of Gallipoli controlled by the enemy—the Turkish-Ottoman empire, as well as on the Western Front combatting the Central Powers of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. This is attested to with the building of the massive Australia War Memorial in Canberra, and many others throughout Australia and New Zealand. There are some 1,500 WWI memorials across Australia giving rise


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to the observation of a “nation of small town memorials”.3 New Zealand’s WWI memorials are part of the fabric of everyday landscape and lives. Almost every township has one in the main street. Excluding the many honours boards and plaques in schools and churches, there are well over 500 public memorials to the soldiers of the Great War.4 In Russia, that lost over 2 million combatants in WWI, and similar numbers in the Civil War (1917–22), authoritarian state one party rule became normalized after 1922. Similarly, in Germany especially as of 1919, the NAZIs (National Socialist German Workers’ Party)—started to become a powerful force. Both these totalitarian regimes arose due to weaknesses in the liberal democracy project in the respective countries. In Russia/USSR, public WWI memorials did not become part of the landscape nor commemorative traditions, with the Great War being seen by officialdom as part of the capitalist imperial wars predating the ‘liberation of the workers’ by the Communist Revolution (1917). Nonetheless, there was limited commemoration of the WWI Centennial and also official Russian participation in such events as the Armistice Day commemorative held in Paris, November 11, 2018. Despise the demise of communism in the USSR in the 1990s, Russia under the Putin regime continues to struggle to redefine itself, with a lingering angst for the loss of Tsarist and Soviet territories as typified by Russian actions in Ukraine, Georgia and other areas since the 1990s.5 Defeat of the Ottoman Empire lead to crises in the Muslim world, where the Young Turks created a more nationalistic nation-state model in Turkey (1922), like other countries in Europe such as Austria, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The new Turkish republic deconstructed the dual historical tradition of the Sultan (Emperor) and Caliph (leader of all Muslims and guardian of holy sites) embodied in one person, by unyoking the political-religious leader construct, replacing it with a secular presidential regime and abolishing the role of Caliph altogether. The latter point caused major repercussions throughout the following century with various iterations of political-religious and fundamentalist groups reframing nostalgia narratives for a return of the Caliph imbued with messianic symbolism, and with its bloodiest expression manifested by Daesh’s declaration of a Caliphate in 2014 attempting to create a territorial hub in Iraq and Syria.

3 Australia

War Memorial. ABC News. Tim Lee. 24 Apr 2010 Set in stone: ‘A nation of small town memorials’. 408832. 4 New Zealand History. First World War Memorials. %20Zealand’s%20First%20World%20War,Great%20War%2C%201914%20%2D%201918. 5 See: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Aaron Cohen. Commemoration, Cult of the Fallen. 8 Oct. 2014. sian_empire.

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As in Europe, the collapse of belligerent empires now meant having to accommodate ‘redefined’ nationalisms in the core nations, but also new international borders, along with other ethnicities and proto-nation states and the establishment of international boundaries as with Turkey and Russia, Turkey and Syria, Russia and it’s neighbours and so forth. In this new geopolitical configuration, Kurdistan and the Kurds were partitioned between the states of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia, and the Kurds are still struggling for autonomy or independence. Today they number some 25–35 million people. Greece faced major geopolitical upheavals with the forced movements of Greeks from Anatolia and elsewhere by the new Turkish Republic, but also the movement of Muslims from Greece to Turkey. However, to a certain extent, European ‘empire’ survived in the Middle East— North Africa (MENA), despite the Ottoman collapse, due to Britain and France attempting to expand their power via the protectorate system disguised as mandates, and so reinventing their own empires. Associated with this was an emerging world power, the USA, supporting the new ‘follow-on’ Muslim autocratic and dictatorial regimes that had been nurtured by the Europeans. Ordinary people in the MENA caught within these great geopolitical upheavals, turned to Islam that had given a meaning to their lives for some 1,200 years.6 A watershed reaction was the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 in Egypt— historically an inspirational forerunner to the Mujahidin-led ‘national’ liberation movements in the Muslim world during the era of decolonization, and several decades later the emergence of Jihadism as illustrated in recent history with such groups as Al Qaeda and Daesh (Islamic State). Among the major grievances put forward by many such groups in trying to justify the terrorist campaigns via newly manufactured syncretic ideologies are selective quotations from the Koran and references to historical events appealing to a geopolitics of emotions, is that of Western colonialism and especially the imposition of the current boundaries of the MENA states by the imperial powers.7 So called Islamist groups challenge the ‘European’ nation-state construction model in the MENA countries and their respective state ‘nationalisms’, promoting the unity of all Muslims under a Caliph. These geopolitical scenarios are still being played out today in countries ranging from Egypt and Syria to Lebanon, Iran, Israel and Palestine (West Bank and Gaza).8 Somewhat ambiguously, central to this is perceptions of ethno-nationalism in such ideologies as Arabism and Turkishness, and the core Persian-Farsi nationalism found in Iran. But essentially, these nationalisms are in 6 See:

YouTube—People’s Century. BBC/WGBH. God Fights Back. watch?v=XoNC6iQa-Xs. 7 O’Reilly (2019). 8 See—YouTube: Jay Winter—The legacy of World War I today. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (Guest Lecture by Jay Winters). Jay Winter—The revolution in violence in World War I.


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conflict with Islamism that promotes a central territorial political entity for Muslims led by a Caliph. What physical geography unites—Europe and MENA; historical, cultural and geopolitical constructs continue to separate as epitomized by religious ideologies, with Christianity and Islam still struggling to redefine their relationship in the 21st century, but also with these conflicts being exploited between Shi’a and Sunnis in the Middle East. The 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on the USA in 2001 and subsequent US declaration of War on Terror, was a harbinger for further terrorist attacks in America, Europe, and elsewhere bringing intricate Jihadist network assaults into the cyberspace and home of the enemies.9 Fanatical terrorism in the name of religion has greatly added to the socio-cultural malaise being experienced in Europe and America.

Commemoration It would be somewhat naïve to overlook the fact that remembrance can become a business as illustrated by the History Channel, also mockingly called the War Channel by some observers and similarly with the movie and documentary industries. Likewise, the construction material, employment and management of sites of memory and commemorations can be lucrative for interested parties, as can spinoffs from the visitor and tourist industries.10 Nonetheless, WWI occasioned the universalizing of all types of grieving people due to its scale but also traditional religious institutions, just like the political constructs of the aristocracy, had lost a certain amount of power as did their narratives in the post-WWI wastelands—purgatories where over 4 million victims—lost, unidentified or unknown, had no specific ‘place’ of rest or grave for family and others to visit and connect with. Memorabilia and substitute graves such as the cenotaphs (empty tombs) were needed and especially somewhere for the persons’ name to be visible for families and ordinary people to emotionally connect with some form of tangible reality; all linking in with the universalizing of memory, in graveyards and memorials in village and town squares. The major difference after 1918, was that such memorialization was usually framed in ‘grief’ rather than just the glorification of militarism and war; pilgrims came to the graves and monuments offering flowers and financial contributions rather than just as neutral visitors.

9 See

YouTube: The role of Muslims in WW1. See YouTube: WWI Through Arab Eyes | The New Middle East | Episode Three. 10 See: Life and Nothing But (1989) film, directed by Bertrand Tavernier.

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Paris Victory Parade of 14 July 1919 and the temporary catafalque (right) by the Arc de Triomphe (left). Source Parade_Paris_1919.jpg/640px-Greek_Parade_Paris_1919.jpg By D. Vassiliou—Iστoρ´ια τoυ Eλληνικo´ /Eθνoυς, Eκδoτικη´ Aθηνων. ´ Aθηνα ´ 1980. T´oμoς IE’, σελ. 89. Eθνικ´o και Iστoρικ´o Moυσε´ιo, Aθηνα/National ´ and historical museum, Athens, Public Domain, https://commons.wik


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Wreaths being laid at the Cenotaph London during the Remembrance service in 1920. Source https://

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory


Wreaths being laid at the Cenotaph during the Remembrance Sunday service in 2010 (See YouTube: WWI Remembrance ceremonies, ritual and pageantry for 2018 at the cenotaph in London. Re: Queen leads Remembrance Day tributes at the Cenotaph. A56e-IhIW14). Source Laid_at_the_Cenotaph%2C_London_During_Remembrance_Sunday_Service_MOD_45152052. jpg


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Welch Regimental War Memorial at Maindy Barracks, Cardiff. Source wiki/The_Cenotaph#/media/File:Maindy_Barracks_Cenotaph.JPG

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Montreal Cenotaph, Canada. Source By Jean Gagnon—Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://com


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Auckland Cenotaph, New Zealand. Source CenotaphAucklandWarMemorialMuseum.jpg

As political regimes adapted or created new places of memory such as cenotaphs and associated memorials to the socio-cultural and political exigencies of the geopolitics of emotions, this often took on various nuances of nationalism. Some memorial areas in Germany were exploited by the NAZIs to reinforce their agenda and propaganda, as also did the fascists in Italy. Nonetheless, the expression: ‘Never again’ was born as of WWI, and reborn in the wake of WWII.11 Many individuals as well as NGOs, UNESCO, and countries promoting the UN Responsibility to Protect (UN R2P) and International Criminal Court (ICC) strive to promote the ‘Never again’ approach that is strengthened by them at places of memory and sites of conscience.12 11 See—YouTube:

Jay Winter—The legacy of World War I today. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (Guest Lecture by Jay Winters). Jay Winter—The revolution in violence in World War I. 12 See: Susannah Radstone and Bill Schwarz. 2010 Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates. Fordham University Press. In this volume, see especially Jay Winter, Chapter 21. Sites of Memory. pp. 312– 324. See: O’Reilly. G. 2019. Aligning Geopolitics, Humanitarian Action and Geography in Times of Conflict. Springer. Chapter 9.

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A site of memory may be defined as any significant entity, whether material or nonmaterial in nature including monuments and graveyards, “which by dint of human will or the work of time has become a symbolic element of the memorial heritage” (Nora 1996: XVII). According to the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience concept—four criteria for designation of this are necessary: (i) Official truth—public and official acknowledgement or denial of what happened; (ii) Narrative truth—the narratives told by victims, witnesses and perpetrators; (iii) Social truth—established through public interaction among all stakeholders; (iv) Healing truth—which helps repair damage and prevents the recurrence of civil violence.13

Methodology and Process In February 2019, Gerry O’Reilly sent out a call for expressions of interest from geographers and academics in allied disciplines interested in sites of memory, and in contributing research to a book entitled: Places of Memory and Legacies—in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization. This was done initially via the organization of special sessions being held within the EUROGEO (European Association of Geographers) annual conference in Paris in March 2019; and also the EU-GEO—CIG (Association of Geographical Societies in Europe and the Conference of Irish Geographer—Geographical Association of Ireland) Conference, in Galway, May 2019.14 Researchers, who were not able to attend these conferences were directly contacted due to their knowledge in specific areas. Expressions of interest were particularly sought from potential authors in smaller or geographically peripheral countries to the ‘core European WWI protagonist states in Western Europe’—in order to get as wide and representative spread of perspectives as possible, giving their narratives to wider global audiences.15

13 International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. January 31, 2018. INTERPRETATION OF SITES OF MEMORY. Study commissioned by the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO and funded by the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Korea. file:///C:/Users/oreillyg/Downloads/activity-9333%20(1).pdf. 14 See: EUROGEO (European Association of Geographers) Conference, Paris, March 2019. http:// See: EUGEO—CIG (Association of Geographical Societies in Europe—Conference of Irish Geographer—Geographical Association of Ireland) Conference, Galway, May 2019. GSI: http:// or EUGEO: 15 Wall Street Journal. 100 Years Legacies. The Lasting Impact of WWI. The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today. Newsreels. By Selina Williams. October 31, 2018. sreels.


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Original Research Call: For Places of Memory and Legacies In this research, spaces of memory are reviewed from geographical and associated perspectives and their place in evolving memorialization, citizenship and democratization dynamic processes and debates. Interpretations from various standpoints include the geopolitics of memory and emotions, and so research is expected to respond, empowering citizens to create sustainable peaceful futures as encouraged by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Goals 4 Quality Education enhance research dealing with sites of memory and commemorations and what this means in contemporary local and international environments. Now, memorialization contributes to wider inclusive interpretations of history, heritage, human rights and tourism. “In the past, … there was one national history and … many particular memories. Today, … its unity stems from a divided patrimonial demand that is constantly expanding … in search of coherence”.16 The European Project embraces these challenges, with its geographies of memories that can foster debate and cooperation as witnessed throughout Europe especially during the 2014–18 WWI commemorations including ceremonial usage of symbolic places as in Verdun, the Somme, Gallipoli, Berlin’s Neuer Garnisionfriedhof and elsewhere. Due to the new world order, geopolitical reconfigurations and ideals that emerged in the aftermath of 1918, many countries ranging from the Baltic states and Russia to the Balkans, Turkey and Greece, eastern and central Europe to Ireland are continuing with centennials vis-à-vis their specific place-based memories in the wider European context. Despite conflicting voices, contentions and ghosts from the past, shared memorial spaces can act in post conflict areas as sites of reconciliation as in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. Nonetheless, ‘the peace’ cannot be taken for granted due to insecurities, globalization, and extreme nationalistic reactions in the USA and Russia; the UK’s Brexit stress and populist movements in Europe–France, Netherlands, Greece, and some Visegrád and Balkan countries. Citizen-fatigue is reflected in socio-political malaise and violence mirrored in France’s Yellow Vest movement and elsewhere, and the extremes as found in Greece’s Golden Dawn, an ultranationalist far-right neo-Nazi and fascist political party. Empathy with other peoples’ official and unofficial places of memory and narratives can assist citizens learn from the past. Memory sites promoted by the EU, Council of Europe (CoE) and UNESCO may tend to homogenize diverse local memories. Nevertheless, they act as vectors in memorialization, stimulating debate and reevaluating narratives—suggesting better futures. According to Paul Ricœur (2000) in La mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli—the purpose of all interpretation is to conquer

16 Nora,

P. 1984–1992. Les Lieux de Mémoire. Three Volumes. Pierre Nora and Lawrence D. Kritzman (Ed), translated by Arthur Goldhammer 1997. Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French past. Columbia: Columbia University Press. “Sites of Memory,” University of Toronto Library online, holtorf/2.6.html.

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory


remoteness, a distance between the past cultural epoch to which the text belongs and the interpreter himself/herself.

Responses and Expressions of Interest There were some 37 substantive responses to the call for collaboration in the ‘memory research’ and production of this book, with over a third not being suitable regarding the underlying philosophical premise of the original research call. The author proposals were then categorized into thematic sub-groups as laid out in Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the book, but naturally there is transitivity between them. These parts are preceded by Part 1 dealing with the theory, epistemology, methodologies and conceptual frameworks regarding key ideas—geography, regions, place, sites and spaces of memory, as well as NGOs and institutions such as UNESCO. The richness and diversity of the authors’ work illustrates the various approaches and methodologies used vis-à-vis sites and centennials, and especially the problematic of appraising places of memory and their legacies. In Part 1, Gerry O’Reilly discusses concepts and theoretical constructs regarding geography, place, time, history, memory, narrative and commemorations. This includes changes in time scales, heritages and social-constructs, acknowledging work in various disciplines, and that of entities including UNESCO. Concepts of the (geo)politics of memory influence ways in which groups construct and identify with narratives including those of ‘self’, ‘us’ and ‘others’. Throughout history, scientists and artists alike have explored the nexus: time—space, life— memory, and the gods, ethnic and national constructs. Perceptions of the destruction of Rheims Cathedral during WWI are contrasted with the accidental burning of Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral in 2019; yet they share certain commonalities. At first glance, many aspects of WWI commemoration rituals remain similar over long time scales assuring a certain identity continuity for the state and citizens, but become embedded in current political-cultural circumstances. WWI commemorations offered ideal opportunities for citizens to reassess ongoing defies in Europe and elsewhere taking into account citizen-weariness with political institutions, along with rising populism. Concepts of region and place are appraised as is UNESCO and World Heritage Sites (WHS) reinforced by the Council of Europe (CoE), EU and other governmental institutions promoting heritage and culture as witnessed in their collaborations with NGOs. Work on regional geography and cultural landscape has a long tradition in Geography. With the post-modernist revolution of the late 1970s–90s, there developed a more people-centred approach in geography and allied disciplines, regarding concepts of power, democratization and use of space ranging from reassessment of the old concepts of the commons up to public parks, squares and Geoparks. Now with the aid of GIS, geoinformatics and social media devices, ordinary citizens participate in the discovery and creation of hidden geographies and emerging memory


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spaces. With globalization, concepts and policies promoted by the UN, including their filtering into World Bank and IMF programs, government and grass-root organizations, there is ever-growing awareness of the need for sustainable development as articulated in the UN SDGs that embraces human rights, good governance and citizenship, and prescriptions for not repeating past mistakes.17 Therefore, places of memory must include not only positive sites of remembrance to be celebrated, but also darker places such as sites of conscience—to serve as a reminder of the inherent dangers of the abuse of power and creation of human-made or political disasters as with war and genocide. In contrast, disasters due to technology as exemplified by the Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) nuclear site tragedies, and their continuing impacts on territory and people, while having a human input were largely accidental. However, political constructs as with wars, extreme nationalism, dictatorial regimes and populism—remain a key challenge for society. In confronting the negative legacies of the past as typified by the World Wars, the EU construction project has been nurtured by many people since the 1950s, as has multilateralism in the UN. Besides the detractors of the EU project within, such as extreme Eurosceptics, a return to a few core ‘nationalist’ economies such as Germany, France and UK with powerful dominance over neighbouring and weaker economies and especially smaller countries is no longer possible. Similarly, the experiences under the old imperial European cores from the 19th century up to the 1970s in the Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs) or Global South is not an option for a range of geopolitical reasons including developments in the BRIC countries and Chinese geo-economic policy in Africa and elsewhere.18 An implosion of the EU project ideal as promoted by Brexiteers in the UK and supported by US President Trump’s regime runs the risk of returning to some iteration of aggressive nation-state economic nationalism disguised in a free trade discourse, and the inherent dangers of this for the EU countries, and its strength in Union, regional and global affairs. Of course, fragility within the Union could have advantages for the other major continental power Russia—often angered by EU sanctions against it for its political activities at home and abroad. Likewise the global economic superpowers, the USA and China could gain certain geopolitical and geo-economic benefits from a weaker EU.19

17 See:

UN SDGs—Knowledge Platform. See: SDGs Online: 18 Hisham Aidi. August 06, 2018 China’s Economic Statecraft in Africa. Policy Centre for the New South. 19 Reuters. Andrea Shalal, Heather Timmons. Oct. 19, 2019. Fallout from Trump’s trade wars felt by economies around the world. Michael Pettis. Oct. 19 2019. Why Trade Wars Are Inevitable. rump’s trade wars aren’t just about him or China—but global economic imbalances that the next U.S. administration will still have to address. nces/.

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory


The humanities, social and political sciences are sometimes accused of not being ‘applied enough’. In education and Geography, getting the skills-competencies balance—along with reflection is vital for sustainable development. Human rights abuse and conflict is the corollary of sustainability and democracy. Preservation of sites of shame or conscience enhances the duty, responsibility and right to remember, feeding into policies that further democracy. Cognizance of inherent political dangers faced must be recognized as with use of social media by extremists promoting hate speech, murder and terrorism, justifying themselves with questionable reference to history and sites of memory.20 Such groups can attempt to erase or else promote sites with their own corrupted narratives.21 Danger exists for those who cannot remember, or at lease empathize with past political constructs and aberrations. WWI witnessed the clash of the major imperial powers, a prelude to WWII and creation of the UN in 1945, and subsequent founding of UNESCO promoting World Heritage Sites (WHS) and sites of conscience with the aim of such ‘Never again’ happening. Overall, investigating interwoven perspectives on geography, landscape, place, history, heritage, identity, memory, emotions and geopolitics from interdisciplinary standpoints in the evolving citizenship and democratization nexus are appraised throughout the various chapters.22 Memorialization and commemoration can contribute to wider inclusive interpretations of history, tourism, sustainability and human rights as promoted by the EU and European Project.23 Europe’s geographies of memories can foster cooperation as

20 See: The Counter Extremism Project. It is a non-profit NGO that combats extremist groups “by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulations. https://www.counterextre 21 See: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Memory of the War: Popular Memory 1918–45, 1945–Present. By Susanne Brandt. 24 May 2017. 1918-1945_1945_to_the_present. See: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Commemoration, Cult of the Fallen (Germany). By Nadine Rossol 8 Oct. 2014. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-onl See: for a collection of articles concerning memory, WWI and tourism; e.g. Myriam Jansen-Verbeke et Wanda George. Memoryscapes of the Great War (1914–1918): A paradigm shift in tourism research on war heritage. https://journals. 22 See: Geographies of Globalisation: A Demanding World. Edited by: Clive Barnett—The Open University, Jennifer Robinson—University of Mississippi, Jackson, USA, and Gillian Rose—University of Oxford, UK, Open University, UK. London: Sage 2008. 23 Clive Barnett. Reaching out: the demands of citizenship in a globalised world. Chapter 3. pp. 103–150. And Steve Pile. A haunted world: the unsettling demands of a globalised past. Chapter 6 pp. 237–288. In Geographies of Globalisation: A Demanding World. Edited by: Clive Barnett—The Open University, Jennifer Robinson—University of Mississippi, Jackson, USA, and Gillian Rose—University of Oxford, UK, Open University, UK. London: Sage 2008.


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witnessed throughout the continent during the 2014–18 WWI centennials, and especially with the 11 November 2018 Armistice commemorations held in many countries, and major ceremonies taking place in Paris. Some 70 world leaders, including US President Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Germany’s Angela Merkel, and British PM Teresa May attended the main centenary ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.24 Centennial activities in Europe and wider world as in North America and former colonies, associated with WWI have naturally prompted citizens to reflect on ‘then’ and ‘now’ and on ‘moving forward’. Following WWI, due to new world orders, geopolitical reconfigurations and ideals that emerged after 1918, many countries ranging from the newly independent Baltic states and Russia to the Balkans, Turkey and Greece, and eastern Europe to Ireland are continuing with commemorations vis-à-vis their specific centennial memories in the wider European context. Here it should be noted that dismemberment of the defeated Ottoman Empire led to the creation of protectorate states, especially in the Middle East that also have significant centennials in the coming decade. For example, Britain and France completed the takeover of some territories in the Arab world including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine under the mandate system. WWI was but the prologue to the horrors of WWII, and subsequent Cold War where the Middle East became a main theatre of operations with the situation being fuelled by the massive concentration of oil and gas reserves there, the major energy key to industrial development and motorized transport culture especially in the West. Citizens are vaguely aware that clashes experienced in WWI largely marked the end of the first major phase in globalization, that began with the Age of Exploration and Discovery which started in the 15th century fuelling growth in colonialism, empire building and capitalism leading to industrial revolutions, but also extreme nationalism hinged on nation-state ideals in Europe. But during WWI humanity also witnessed the industrialization and mechanization of war on scales never experienced before. Yet, the major European powers perceived themselves to be embedded in the Enlightenment tradition and progressing towards Modernity and democracy, but nevertheless, simultaneously continued to enhance imperial colonial projects in many areas of French West and British Africa, and elsewhere after WWI. Commemoration in the form of ceremonies and monuments was for the most part alien to African cultures and largely part of European colonial projects, symbolizing European territorialisation often perceived by the colonized peoples as having the aim of glorifying foreign imperialism and associated militarism.25 Similarly, in Asia and especially India where almost 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in WWI, and 24 France Diplomacy. Commemoration of the Armistice of 11 November 1918: more than 60 Heads of State and Government to meet in Paris. 25 1914–18 Online. International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. 17 June 2015. Commemoration, Cult of the Fallen (Africa). By Suryakanthie Chetty and Ruth Ginio. https://encyclopedia.

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over 74,000 of them lost their lives. Some memorials in India are dedicated to the troops who died in WWI, while there are also memorials outside India in Europe, Africa and the Middle East that underline diverse theatres of war in which troops from India fought.26 Box: Sample of WWI Memorials in India Delhi (The Delhi Memorial—India Gate)/Delhi (Teen Murti Memorial)/Kolkota (Calcutta): Bhowanipore Memorial, Cenotaph Memorial, Memorial to the 49th Bengal Regiment, Lascar Memorial/Chennai (Madras): Victory Memorial (‘Constructed by a committee of prominent and influential citizens of Madras’)/Mumbai: The Bombay (1914–1918) Memorial (for sailors from India, Aden and East Africa)/Pune (Poona): Kirkee War Memorial.

Remembrance Sunday, Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Kolkata, India. Source https://rangandatta.files.

Like the people on the Indian subcontinent, many people in the colonies felt that they had not been rewarded politically for loyalty to the colonial authorities and calls for national independence increased. This pattern was further experienced following WWII leading to the great wave of formal decolonization—1950s to mid-1970s. In globalization processes, many people from the old colonies have continued to emigrate to the former imperial countries and diffuse throughout the rest of Europe, with their numbers being augmented by asylum seekers and refugees. Immigration 26 Thierry DI COSTANZO. Memory and history of the Great(er) War and India: from a nationalimperial to a more global perspective. Histories of Space, Spaces of History—In E-rea Revue électronique d’études sur le monde Anglophone. g=en. World War 1, India and memorialisation. 30 October 2018. Talking Humanities, School of Advanced Study, University of London. world-war-1-india-and-memorialisation/.


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has become a major contentious issue throughout the political landscape, feeding into populism and extreme nationalism. Achievements in democratization, peace and prosperity gained in Europe, and especially through the European Project since the 1950s, are often taken for granted, and especially by the generations who have not directly experienced violent conflict nor war. Nonetheless ‘the peace’ cannot be taken for granted in Europe, with insecurities, globalization, and risky nationalisms in Russia and the USA; the UK’s Brexit stress and increasing voice of populist politicians and movements in Western Europe, Visegrád and Balkan countries. Regarding the EU, what began as a purely economic union was ‘developed’ into an organization spanning all policy areas including environment, culture, external relations, security, justice and migration. However, this is based on the rule of law, founded on treaties, and voluntarily agreed by member countries, rather than by coercion, violence or war as in the past. With the EU governed by the principle of representative democracy, citizens are directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament and Member States represented in the European Council. The Union promotes human rights internally and around the world; while the Lisbon Treaty’s (2009)—the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights brings all these rights together in a single document. EU institutions are legally bound to uphold them, as are EU governments. However, EU Policy is often perceived to be too top-down or elitist by ‘the people’ or Eurosceptics or populist politicians, and not delivering due to the lived experiences of the recent economic recession (2007–12) and its socio-economic repercussions, migration and refugees flows, and terrorism.

Conclusions This chapter attempts to set the context for the book, in order to appraise ideas dealing with sites of memory taking into account the styles and methodologies of the various authors. Awareness of narratives—past, present and future—memorialization and social-constructions from geographical and interdisciplinary perspectives and gives insights into WWI’s unfolding legacies, current geographies and geopolitics of emotions in an age of globalization. In whatever parts of the world including those places directed associated with WWI, shared spaces of memory regarding war and post-conflict must act as sites of reflection, conscience and reconciliation in order to create a prosperous sustainable future—attenuating the burdens of history, and not repeating iterations of the same gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity. A key pillar of the EU is democracy and human rights within the Union, and their promotion abroad. Some commentators quite rightly argue that the UK referendum Brexit vote (2016) to leave the Union is only a symptom of larger problems in Europe. However, from 2016 to 20, the UK political elites failed to agree among themselves on a credible definition of Brexit and hence a sustainable political and economic exit strategy, with follow-up policies for a post-Brexit UK. For several years, this left the UK electorate

Introduction: Approaching Sites of Memory


in a state of uncertainty, political liminality and open to a geopolitics of emotions that can be exploited by extremists and politicians alike regarding expectations, but also longing for an imagined past—‘nostalgia is another country’. Hence the blame game within and between political parties in the UK, and underlying innuendos that the problem is due to the ‘other’—‘them’—the foreigners, immigrants, refugees and the EU. In the Brexit imbroglio public perceptions often perceived ‘the foreigners’ as other EU citizens, immigrants from wherever and refugees being to blame for the socio-political, economic and existential malaise. However, here it must be noted that there was not a majority vote to leave the EU in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar in the 2016 referendum, once again illustrating the limitations and challenges for democracy, regarding a one-dimensional application of majority-minority results. Populism is not unique to movements in the UK and France, as witnessed in Hungary’s national conservative Fidesz party led by Viktor Orbán; Estonia’s Conservative People’s Party; Italy’s Liga Nord and of course the contested political experiences in Turkey under the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdo˘gan. Empathy with their own and other peoples’ places of memory can assist citizens learn from the past via memory sites promoted by the EU, Council of Europe and UNESCO as they act as vectors in memorialization, stimulating debate, re-evaluating the once-monolithic narratives and promoting democratic inclusivity. Literally and metaphorically, Europe is currently facing major landscape changes: how have and will these changes affect the cultivation of a shared sustainable European identity; and can Europe’s shared cultural heritage provide a means for addressing crises. The growing popularity of political groups across Europe that are hyper-critical of the EU reflects a crisis of European political organization rather than just the old debates regarding local, regional and national identities. Challenges remain for citizens, including those who cannot or don’t bother voting, to identify with European institutions and aspirations; indeed, with what it means to be European today.

Reference O’Reilly G (2019) Aligning geopolitics, humanitarian action and geography in times of conflict. Springer, pp 64–70

Concepts and Theory—Sites of Memory—Centennials, Narratives, Social-Constructions, Legacies and Emotions

Introduction Part 1 of this book appraises the abstracts regarding the narratives presented by the authors for places of memory alongside their geographies, histories, archaeologies, commemorations, social and political constructions. As an anchor point in time, World War I (WWI) is used, due to the major changes that this brought about at all levels including twentieth century ‘modernity’ and geopolitical nexus between physical and human geography, and power has played out within Europe and globally. Media coverage and activities around WWI centennials, especially during the period 2014–2018, provided people with commemorative events, displays and spectacle so as not only to connect with real and imagined pasts and identities, but also to witness what current national and international regimes have translated from the past into the present. Naturally, ordinary people are also getting on with their lives and daily challenges within the current socio-political constructs, geographies and power structures. In this milieu, concepts regarding specific places and memory—then and now—also mirror society and its concerns 100 years on. Today’s genuine anxieties alongside emotions and existentialist concerns can range from economic uncertainties as recently experienced at international, national and local scales during the great recession that started in 2007, Catalonian calls for secession from Spain, to migration and refugee flows, conflict and wars—that are now streamed live into their homes, and climate change concerns have pushed people to look for better governance, in the form of strong leadership guaranteeing material benefits, and assuaging fears. However, in the liberal democracies, there has developed a lack of trust in the leadership elites—political, economic, religious and so forth—due to the many scandals exposed in recent decades, and presented by media 24/7 but viewed by ‘local’ people worldwide. This social malaise has been particularly evident since 2016 with not only the electoral campaign and victory of US President Trump, UK Brexit referendum vote to leave the EU and rise of populist parties in Europe, but also the political ‘strong man’ approaches as witnessed in the Philippines, India and elsewhere. A common factor emerging in the above examples is the appeal of extreme nationalism—as illustrated by President Trump in the USA,


Concepts and Theory—Sites of Memory—Centennials, Narratives, …

English nationalism in the UK and similar movements stretching from France to Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Russia and elsewhere. The recurrent theme is ‘Make us great again’—echoing some form of nostalgia, for a past, that is past, and believed to have been better than the present. However, what exactly is meant here; would this entail the re-creation of a Cold War-like environment, or some form of perceived glorious colonial or extreme nationalist past! To counteract extremism, since 1945 such institutions as the UN and EU have supported multilateralism and the ‘rule of law’ so as to avoid the errors of the past by reinforcing the democracy ideal. Therefore, the respective authors have appraised in Part 2, WWI and peace: boundaries, legacies and commemorations; Part 3: Legacies and ghosts in landand mind-scapes; Part 4: Lessons from the past and education.

WWI Centennials and Unfolding Legacies Gerry O’Reilly

Abstract Taking into consideration the massive number of military and civilian casualties in WWI, the re-drawing of the political map of Europe (1919–21), and creation of the League of Nations (1920), the forerunner to the UN, this chapter explores the initial responses of the authors to the research call for abstracts on the theme of Places of Memory and Legacies—in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, by using the WWI centennials as an anchor in the investigation process. Responses were broadly categorized and organized into five sections or parts in the book: The First World War and peace: boundaries, legacies and commemorations; Legacies and ghosts in land and mind-scapes; and Lessons from the past and education. Each of the abstracts are further elucidated in full chapters where the case studies are presented. Keywords Place · Memory · Rituals · Contested voices · Legacies · Boundaries · Insecurities · Globalization

WWI: The War to End All Wars Regarding WWI and its memory heritages, the number of military and civilian casualties was 40 million, with 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. Civilian deaths numbered some 10 million people. The world had never witnessed carnage and destruction on this scale before, and similarly the massive displacement of civilians and refugees. In response, the League of Nations was founded in 1920 to establish a new world order and consequently the re-drawing of the political map of Europe with the Treaty of Versailles (1919–21), alongside the continuing turmoil in the old Russian Empire, and dismantling of the Austrian-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. In all, the warring parties signed 16 peace treaties in the immediate aftermath of conflict, including those of Brest-Litovsk, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Neuilly, G. O’Reilly (B) School of History and Geography, Dublin City University, St Patrick’s Campus, Upper Drumcondra Road 9, Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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Trianon; and Sèvres and Lausanne. The League’s mission was to resolve international disputes by negotiation and arbitration and to prevent inter-state wars, by means of collective security and disarmament. In its Convention and related treaties, other briefs included: labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe.1 The League lacked its own independent budget and armed forces and depended on the WWI victors for such. France, the UK, Italy and Japan were the permanent members of the executive Council—to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide armed forces when needed. While the League was largely developed and championed by the work of US President Woodrow Wilson, America never officially joined the League being blocked from doing so by the US Senate. Among the reasons were reactions of the US electorate and politicians to the number of American casualties during WWI in faraway lands, and wanting to keep America out of European affairs, taking an isolationist approach. In 1934, the League reached its greatest number of countries with 85 member states. The League drew and built on international law as it had evolved and tried to regulate international affairs for the twentieth century. Successes achieved by the League were overshadowed by the rise of fascism and outbreak of WWII.2 WWI was the harbinger for the increasing percentage of civilian fatalities, injured, displaced people and refugees in future mechanized wars. World War II fatality statistics vary greatly with total deaths ranging from 50–80 million people. The higher figure of over 80 million includes deaths from war-related disease and famine. Civilians killed totalled 50–55 million, including 19–28 million from warrelated disease and famine.3 After the war in 1945, there were 7–11 million displaced people, or refugees, still living in Germany, Austria and Italy alone, not to mention 1 WWI

Atrocities—See: International Encyclopaedia of the first World War. Atrocities. By Alan Kramer. Parts of this article first appeared in Kramer, Alan: Combatants and Non-combatants: Atrocities, Massacres, and War Crimes, in: Horne, John (ed.): A Companion to World War I, Malden et al. 2012, pp. 188–201. Detailed references to the atrocities of 1914 are to be found in Horne, John/Kramer, Alan: German Atrocities 1914. A History of Denial, New Haven et al. 2001 (German translation 2004; French translation 2005). A useful survey is in Horne, John: Atrocities and war crimes, in: Winter, Jay (ed.): The Cambridge History of the First World War, volume I, Global War, Cambridge 2014, pp. 561–584. ocities. 2 Documentary: People’s Century Part 4 1919: Lost Peace (Interwar Period/League of Nations). Documentary: People’s Century Part 11 1945 Fallout. 3fWDtzPY&list=PLuL26fXZ8eTNLLnugg2BTyOZQ7HT-QZk4&index=11 Christopher Clark. 2013. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. Harper. NY Times. Book Review. Best of 2019. (Re: Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914). On the Brink. epwalkers-and-july-1914.html John Horne. (ed.) 2012 A Companion to World War I. Wiley Blackwell. 3 World War Two (1939-1945). asualties. 20was%20the,(est.%202.3%20billion).

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the rest of Europe and Asia. In the context of this heritage, West Germany accepted to receive many refugees from East Germany and the Iron Curtain countries up to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Likewise, Germany became an epicentre for migration and refugee flows into Europe from Syria and other conflict countries, peaking in 2015. Before the end of WWII (1939–45), the Allied powers led by the USA, UK, USSR, France and China, and international community were further convinced that international governance was imperative in order to create a more stable world and founded the United Nations Organization (UN) with 51 original member states in 1945. While Britain and France tried to regain their former colonies, people there were not now prepared to return to the pre-WWII status quo and demanded independence. By 1960 the number of UN member states had reached 99 and 193 by 2017. From 1945 on, the new world power the USA, as well as the UN promoted independence for the colonies, supporting Western-style democracy and economic liberalism, while the USSR supported their independence, it promoted socialism and communism. Hence the two superpowers and their respective allies competed for client states among the newly independent countries. The core aim of the UN is the prevention of war and mitigation of conflict spilling over into armed violence based on a corpus of international law. Approaches to such complex issuers are multidimensional. In 2017, a new resolution adopted by the UN Security Council stated that the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage sites may amount to war crimes; officials warned of ‘cultural cleansing’ in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.4 In the EU and especially since 2016 when the migration and refugee flows from Syria and the greater Muslim world, and sub-Saharan Africa reached their zenith, this caused much debate and helped fuel the rise in support for extremist populist parties. National right wing perspectives are associated with social conservatism, and is mostly linked with European political parties, promoting traditional family values and social stability, being anti-immigration, and with a ‘We first’ approach as with UKIP in Britain during the 2016 Brexit campaign, and the UK Brexit Party victories in local and European elections in 2019, and UKIP being largely subsumed into the Conservative Party in the December 2019 general elections. Other notable extreme and Eurosceptic parties in the EU include the National Rally (formerly, National Front) in France that emerged as the leading party topping the polls in the 2019 European elections. Other significant examples include the AfD (Alternative for Deutschland) in Germany, the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Sweden Democrats, Jobbik in Hungary, Freedom Party in Austria, Golden Dawn in Greece and the People’s Party—Our Slovakia (LSNS). Iterations of this have come to the fore in other European countries. Due to Europe’s historical experiences in the twentieth century with extreme nationalism, and totalitarianism including fascism, Nazism and Soviet-style communism—observers are particularly aware of the flaws and fragilities inherent in liberal social democracies and challenges in the European construction project, just 100 years after WWI. 4 War crimes’: UN strengthens resolve against destruction of cultural heritage.



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The First World War and Peace: Boundaries, Legacies and Commemorations Gerry O’Reilly: Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin can be appraised as a space of memory; a nexus for people from the area and Ireland, containing ordinary graves, but also monuments of national figures. According to the state website - Decade of Centenaries: “The period 1912–22 was one of the most eventful in Ireland’s history… (the centennial) aims to commemorate each step… in a tolerant, inclusive and respectful way.”5 It is understood that this includes the Civil War (1922–23), occasioned by the Anglo-Irish Treaty following the national independence struggles (1916–21) and partition of the island (1921). The framing of metanarratives is important in contexts focalizing on WWI centennials and current issues as highlighted by three new memorials—the Necropolis Memorial Wall regarding the 1916 Easter Rising, the WWI Cross of Sacrifice for combatants from Ireland in the British and Commonwealth forces, and the France-Ireland Memorial. The UK’s Brexit Referendum to leave the EU took place (2016), with majorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland voting to remain.6 People were reminded of the burdens of history but also development progress achieved since Ireland and the UK joined the EU (1973), and how membership facilitated the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and Peace Process bringing an end to armed violence (1968–98) in Northern Ireland. Jonathan Cherry: Commemoration centred on WWI memorials has been a constant feature of civic life across the UK and many European countries over the past century, however Ireland’s experience is different. While a number of war memorials were unveiled post-1918, their significance as sites of commemoration declined after 1939. However, recent political developments have facilitated a new wave of public commemoration and remembrance expressed through the construction of war memorials. The use of case studies helps to trace the key agents of remembrance, seeking to establish their motivations in creating these memorials. Other important themes include the design and symbolism of the memorials, how they are funded and their ‘geography’ regarding their siting. In assessing the memorials as foci for remembrance, it is clear that the political nature of remembrance and commemoration continues as it always has, to excite responses and reactions. Yilmaz Ari: Gallipoli is a peninsula where multiple nations have commemorated antagonistic histories in the same place since WWI. The sanctity of several sites has been reinforced over the years by construction of additional monuments and memorials. The spatial aspect of the WWI commemorations throughout Turkey can be explored by looking at the intensity of ceremonies in different places and times. The published research, memorials and archival materials were examined to further elucidate the narrative; while remembrance activities were appraised to determine the significance of the events for the local communities and beyond. Original research 5 Decade

of Centenaries It should be noted here, that since its launch, this website has been continuously updated adding historical data and commemoration events as they are evolving. It is becoming a site of memory for future generations to engage with. 6 BBC News. EU Referendum Results.

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places particular emphasis on the schools that have no graduates in their records for 1915, as the final year students went to Gallipoli and never returned. Alper Uzun and Mustafa Fırat Gül: One of the memory locations to the fore in recent years in Turkey is Sarıkamı¸s. It is a fact that this place had not been known nor remembered by many people for decades when compared with other memory spaces where Turkish soldiers achieved important victories during WWI and War of Independence. Failure of Operation Sarıkamı¸s and the associated death toll most likely led this space to be pushed from memory for so long. In this chapter, research evaluates the commemoration activities now in Sarıkamı¸s in the context of time and space. Sarıkamı¸s, started to find a place in memorial activities in the early twenty-first century; with commemoration activities now taking place there annually, especially within the plans and programs of public institutions and organizations. Peter Kumer, Matija Zorn, Grega Žorž and Primož Gašperiˇc: Exploration of the military landscape of the Slovenian–Italian border region and its connections with WWI and memorialization of the interwar years is most significant in the context of the major changes which have taken place in Slovenia and Europe in the past 100 years. In the study region, which encompasses the western part of present-day Slovenia, fighting took place on the Isonzo Front (1915–1917). It was the scene of one of the greatest battles between Austria-Hungary and Italy, as referenced by the novelist Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms. During the interwar period, the region was part of the Kingdom of Italy. During this time, the Italians built the fortifications known as the Alpine Wall (Vallo Alpino). These fortifications ran along the new eastern Italian and western Yugoslav border. Along the boundary on the Yugoslav side, the Rupnik Line of fortifications was built to counter the Italian constructions. Trails, monuments, and memorial places are physical reminders of this conflicting past. The narratives attached to these places are integrated into local and national discourses. In the past, major social conflict was associated with these memorials, but now they are being (re)constructed as tourist and hiking destinations. Focus is placed on two places of memory in western Slovenia (i) the Walk of Peace trail, a 320 km. route connecting outdoor museums, memorials, cemeteries, and other restored wartime sites with stories of the largely overlooked Isonzo Front, the easternmost section of WWI’s Alpine or Italian Front; and (ii) a series of memorial trails that run along the interwar border between Italy and Yugoslavia. Gianfranco Battisti: Trieste, just 40 km. from the Slovenian border, flourished as part of Austria from 1382 until 1918, when it was considered one of the most prosperous Mediterranean seaports as well as a capital of culture, literature and music. In the re-enactments set for the centenary of the Great War 1914–18, the fact that Trieste was the decisive argument—casus belli that in 1915 drove the Kingdom of Italy into the conflict has too often been ignored. This happened despite awareness on the Italian side that tearing the maritime emporium from its Central European hinterland


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would result in the drying up of the sources from which its wealth was derived.7 Thus Italy, eager to complete its ‘nation-state’ unitary process, unintentionally provoked the collapse of Trieste’s maritime economy. From a demographic perspective, in 1914 Trieste was the third largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In spring 1915, when WWI seemed to be coming to an end thanks to the Anglo-French landing at the Dardanelles; a tragic illusion which ended in a bloodbath, the clash moved to the opposite side of the Mediterranean into the mass of the European continent. So the myth of the “holy city” of Trieste was born, strongly contended between Italians and Austro-Germans apparently, but in reality between Italians and the Slavic subjects of the Habsburg crown.

Legacies and Ghosts in Land and Mind-Scapes Norbert Pap and Péter Reményi: The respective historical landscapes of Mohács in Hungary and Kosovo continue to evolve materially and in mindscapes regarding Islam and Christianity. The past and current memory spaces in Hungary’s changing political landscape are most important. Several nations living at the frontiers of Christendom and Europe fought bitter wars against the Ottomans (fourteenth–nineteenth centuries), continuing in shadow WWI battles and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. Such has played significant roles in identity formation and consequently attitudes to ‘foreign’ immigration and political discourses. In this context, broadly three categories of places of battle memory are found: (i) those with greater European association, with little local or national remembrance; (ii) those of great national importance with strong local or national memorial; and (iii) those characterized by much local memorial impact, but with great national and little international recognition. Angela Gissi: WWI represents a watershed in the history of the Middle East (Mashreq) due to dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Syria territories of the Levant, was home to Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Armenian, Jews, Muslims and other ethno-religious communities that coexisted. The Ottoman Empire as an ally of the German alliance in WWI, and the particularly brutal rule of Jamal Pasha, determined deterioration in socio-economic conditions in the Mashreq with tremendous suffering for local populations. War experiences varied across gender, class and sectarian affiliation. But it was a major traumatic event in the memory of survivors from the Syrian province that heralded a new phase of European dominion under the French mandate system (1920/22–1945). With the rise in nationalist ideology, collective memory of WWI came to be a powerful catalyst for the patriotic conscience among the masses and eventual Syrian independence in 1945. In light of political changes in the Mashreq landscape and suffering of indigenous people caused

7 The

irreconcilable reasons of the economy with the national aspirations of the population, well known to the rulers of the Kingdom of Italy, had been clearly highlighted to the Italian intellectuals by A. Vivante (1912).

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by WWI, Martyrs’ Day became an event in the heritage of Syria from the postOttoman and French periods through to the post-independence and Assad eras. The meaning that has been assigned by the Assad regime to Martyrs’ Day throughout the recent war (2011 on) needs to be further appraised. The state institutions of the Syria regime use the Martyr’s monument and Square in Damascus as a place of memory. This references the sacrifice of seven Syrian nationalists executed in Damascus’ Marjeh/Martyr’s Square in 1916 by the Ottoman authorities, and their fears of the Arab Revolt (1916–18).8 This memorial tradition became a heritage event. The meaning that has been assigned by the Assad regime to it throughout the civil war (2011 on) is that of martyrdom, emotive patriotism, nationalism in the face of the dangers from ‘foreigners’ and that Assad is the embodiment of the nation. Sources supporting research in this area are a collection of articles published in prominent Syrian online magazines and newspapers in English and Arabic, and excerpts from the speeches of president Bashar Al-Assad from 2011 onwards. Tal Yaar-Waisel: There are many places in the ‘land of Israel’ that used to be associated with the country’s borders, including sites of memory such as fortifications from all historical periods. Their presence in the landscape and varied usage are appraised regarding one stream in the Israeli national narrative. Border lines and their functions have changed over the decades, but their remains and relics can still be seen in Israel; they symbolize history and often have national significance. Therefore, the major problematic of the dynamic of their remaining, or else their disappearance from the landscape. Several factors play a role in the preservation of a ghost or relic border even after its erasure. A mixture of historical and current borders in the same territory, sometimes with only a few metres between historical and present lines, makes the memories of the past expressive. Memories stemming from the borders in Israel involve personal and national feelings and therefore, they have a vibrant formal and informal educational significance. When discussing Israel, WWI centennial commemorations bring to consciousness the ending of Ottoman Empire rule in territories in Europe and the Middle East and succeeding geopolitics, the Balfour Declaration (1917) regarding a Jewish Homeland and the blueprint for British and French mandate protectorate rule embodied in the Sykes Picot Agreement (1916). Antoine Le Blanc: Urban ruins are non-functional buildings and as such are unwelcomed in most cities, where concerns with production and traffic density and efficiency prevail. But ruins do have functions in the city: they materialize urban memories, thus conveying a social and political message, sometimes with great impact. This is especially so with “traumatic ruins”, those caused by catastrophic events are valued for their historicity. Traumatic ruins can be real urban scars reminiscent of a catastrophe for the local population. The conservation of a traumatic mark can be a tool to help perform urban resilience, since the urban system integrates the 8 The

Hejaz Railway. UNESCO WHS. The Cultural Experience—The Hejaz Railway lawrence-of-arabia-battlefield-tour/. Jordan Tourism Board. The Hejaz Railway. lroad.aspx.


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trauma instead of cancelling it out. This entails major urban planning issues. Should ruins be preserved as traces of history and a tool for remembrance and risk prevention, or should the trauma be erased in order to favour urban functionality. Also, how do we integrate a massive ruined element in an urban space? Many municipalities in various countries have decided to preserve ruins after a tragic event, as witnessed throughout Europe after WWI and WWII. They set up specific restoration and management standards, various aesthetic and technical choices, access and presentation criteria. Two trends can thus be identified: (i) immediate, bold conservation choices, which involve strongly symbolic monuments, typified by ruins of World War II (e.g. Berlin’s Gedächtniskirche, St Michael’s Cathedral in Coventry); (ii) late choices, as in the case of Gemona (St-Mary) and Palermo (Holy Spirit) in Italy, or Christ Church Greyfriars in London. When the decision to preserve the ruins is made a few years after the disaster, the sense of pain is softened, and stakeholders can make more rational and aesthetic choices. Elša Turkuši´c Juri´c: Collective memory and the structure of it, are central to the formation of cultural identity. Architecture is highly significant in processes of identification, being a mediator in which identity is manifested or constructed, but also a medium for the (re)construction of identity. Following WWI, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) became part of a new multi-ethnic state: Kingdom of Yugoslavia. To understand BiH, it is essential to appraise the interwar period (1918–39) regarding identity and architecture in Sarajevo, where the first shot of WWI was fired in the well-known narratives. With the breakup of Yugoslavia (1989–92), the new BiH state has undergone a long slow period of economic, political and social transition. By comparing the two eras (1918–39) and (1991-present), it is hoped to gauge current attitudes regarding architecture built in the interwar era. However, key questions remain, is this architectural expression just part of the history of Modernism in general, or is it a part of the collective memory, cultural and identity of BiH. Can this heritage become a cultural legacy for contemporary architectural discourse and the new generations? Janis Matvejs: The Geography of film provides information on new historiographic perspectives in architecture, space and the imagination of urban environment. Here, research can contribute to the field of human geography by conducting a content analysis of a vast number of films made between the early 1910s and present time focusing on development and spatial organization of living spaces in the Latvian capital Riga. Research elucidates the construction of meaning of space and housing memory, where relations of dominance is defined and contested in visual representation of Riga’s apartments. A qualitative research methodology was used based on best practices of human geography data transcription and coding. The main findings show that living spaces are frequently portrayed in the Soviet cinema, and form an integral part of Soviet urban perception. However, state-imposed censorship throughout the Soviet period strictly regulated geographical disposition in representing living spaces through intensifying or neglecting particular areas of Riga. Keith Lilley and Rachel Tracey: Appraisal of the value of exploratory research and its application on the ground with living legacies is essential—from past conflict to shared futures, and WWI commemorations in the UK. Here, the “Living Legacies

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1914–18” project provides communities with access to information, expertise and support for projects that explore the impacts that WWI had in Britain and Ireland, and the war’s continuing legacies today especially in Northern Ireland. The Project provides communities with links to university researchers nationwide to share ideas and resources that can help WWI community projects.9 More precisely, the research appraises the idea of inclusive heritage and conflict commemoration/AHD vs. IHD. Northern Ireland and contested heritage(s), is important in the challenges of the Decade of Centenaries (2012–22) and the Living Legacies—The 1914–18 Centre—purpose, remit and organisation. Analysis embraces inclusive heritage in practice with three case studies or models—each working with museums and ‘memory institutions’ in Northern Ireland: (i) Remembering 1916 Ulster Museum Exhibition—Easter Rising and Battle of the Somme including roadshows and outreach. (ii) Ballykinlar Camp and History Hut, addressing contested heritage, including military training and internment. (iii) Battlebags and Blimps, the forgotten WWI heritage and hidden legacies. Overall, the research illustrates the challenges faced in evaluating and placing ‘inclusive heritage’ within divided societies. Jennifer Ballantine Perera: The WWI centenary has served to draw attention to a period in Gibraltar’s history of which limited memories remain. Little has been documented of life in Gibraltar during the War years or indeed, of the support given towards the War effort. At the same time, we know that during these years Gibraltar was managed as a Crown Colony, with a fair portion of its land dedicated to military installations and a key strategic naval base monitoring both the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Such activities have been recorded and have found their way into authoritative accounts of the Great War, ones which contain the Gibraltar story yet renders it liminal if not invisible, submerged as it is beneath the weight of a history articulated solely from the metropolis. Recovering a Gibraltar-centred narrative through the prism of the centenary commemorations is highly significant. This has functioned as a catalyst for Gibraltarians to enquire into their past; to uncover details of their fallen of which few memories remain, and to reconstruct, albeit from fragments and mediated stories, a history that aspires towards a whole. The disentangling of a local non-hierarchical story from the hierarchical is informed by a recurrent grappling which aims at prioritising a Gibraltarian historical perspective as opposed to one which conceives of Gibraltar only through its relationship to Britain. Underpinned here is a process of historical recovery triggered through Acts of Remembrance that resonate on two levels; commemorations for WWI, and alongside this, a remembrance of Gibraltar’s own story. Gibraltar’s status, first as a British Colony and currently as a British Overseas Territory is appraised through projects and activities organized for the centennial. Lia Galani and Stelios Lekakis: The Greco-Turkish War in Asia Minor (1919– 22) and especially the ‘Catastrophe’ in 1922—the great fire of Smyrna, and persecution of the Greek population including those in Thrace and Pontus played a major role 9 Living

Legacies—1914–18: From Past Conflict to Shared Future.


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in the shaping of Greece and the national identity narrative. This memory of territorial loss and resultant refugees became a point of departure for all remembrance commemorations and monuments in the first quarter of the twentieth century and its legacies continued. The trauma of 1922 and its impact are critically reviewed in the present, through its materialization on and around outdoor commemorative monuments. The meaning of trauma, constitution of memory and configuration of the new national identity in Greece need to be evaluated to see if, and to what extent the visualization and organised performances of trauma around the Asia Minor monuments, can actually amend it or be the beginning of a reconciliation dialogue between the people of Greece and Turkey. Thomas Jekel, Tim Schötz and Katharina Wöhs: The right to space is essential, among others, through places of remembrance in public areas, physically as well as online. It is where power relations of society, and processes of social inclusion and exclusion can be deducted from. Depending on social acceptance, and the social exclusion or marginalization, decisions are made on whose story or stories is to be memorized or not. For this reason, spaces and places of memory are not only relevant for the discipline of history and geographical research, but also for the here and now, as they have an imminent contemporary relevance. Besides being deliberate landmarks, monuments, street names or street renaming, as well as memes or even neo-Nazi stickers are products of socio-political controversies and indicators of a symbolic power and a representational inequality. Emancipatory and activist approaches using geomedia targeting education go beyond the description and analysis of a situation which developed during time. These approaches aim to intervene in society, and they can do so using geomedia. They use analysis and communication as a tool for the development of the political subject. They can aim at an active participation in the development of society, all set in an educational framework. This means trying to change social phenomena by using a suitable spatial, communicative medium. All theoretical and/or emancipatory approaches to places of remembrance both real and virtual, as well as theory-based lesson plans should focus on an activist, emancipatory education, which fosters processes of inclusion.

Conclusions The geographical spread, approaches and range of interdisciplinary responses attests to vibrant interests in spaces of memory and the variety of sites, in Geography and across disciplines. This bears testament to the range of pioneers and innovative

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researchers doing theoretical and applied work in this area, ranging from Pierre Nora10 to UNESCO project teams with—Sites of Memory.11 In all responses to the research call for this book, the role of the state in commemoration is implicitly appraised, and sometimes explicitly, in sanctioning the ‘use of sites of memory’ and occasionally their creation, with authentic places, or newly developed spaces somehow associated with people or events as with commemorative walls or plaques. Besides the all-important funding and sustainability of memory-site infrastructure and maintenance, ranging from vast spaces at Verdun and Gallipoli to village memorials in Ireland, Latvia, Hungary or elsewhere, ceremonials and pageantry are legitimated to varying degrees by organs of the state and its personnel—government, military and administrative, as well as media—state and the private sector. Depending on the regime’s orientation, and historical culture, clerics ranging from priests to imams, rabbis, and other religious or philosophical groups may be represented. Prayers may be replaced with poetry or reading of letters, diaries or such written by witnesses, victims and survivors—adding to the sense of occasion, historical continuity and narratives in the making. Choice of music is important setting the ambiance depending on the culture, ranging from the enigmatic to traditional, newly-commissioned or military-associated music. Choice of language(s) written in memorials is highly significant as is the languages used during ceremonials, and which speaker is using what language; does it include the language of the old enemy, or those of minorities. Top-down organization of ‘large’ ceremonies are usually enhanced with an international representation of foreign state dignitaries, ambassadors and so forth, legitimating activities of the host regime—by getting or not—an official invitation, or attendance or not, or level of importance of the representative sent being closely monitored by the host state, media and international community. Iterations of this exist throughout the different countries depending on the respective sites and scales of ceremonies ranging from cities to villages and isolated areas. The past is being 10 Nora,

P. 1984–1992. Les Lieux de Mémoire. Three Volumes. Pierre Nora and Lawrence D. Kritzman (Ed), translated by Arthur Goldhammer 1997. Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French past. Columbia: Columbia University Press. “Sites of Memory,” University of Toronto Library online, holtorf/2.6.html. 11 See: UNESCO: Sites of Memory. global-networks/aspnet/flagship-projects/transatlantic-slave-trade/activity-proposals/sites-of-mem ory/. See: International Coalition of Sites of Conscience: See: International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Interpretation of Sites of Memory. Jan. 31, 2018. Study commissioned by the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO and funded by the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Korea. 48 Pages. Contents include: Growing importance of the intangible dimension of heritage, and of interpretation; Sites of Memory; Interpretation for understanding and sharing the multiple narratives of all heritage places; The impact of the designation of Sites of Memory on their interpretation; Recommendations. file:///C:/Users/oreillyg/Downloads/activity933-3%20(2).pdf.


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used to reinforce a sense of community—at local, national and international levels, depending on the regime, commemorating past generations, but also connecting with current changing political environments and needs. Degrees of national rhetoric vary depending on the perceived requirements of the regime. Inclusion, or collaboration, or else exclusion, with the ‘public’ and bottom-up representation is now all important with the locals, relatives and survivors, and once excluded people such as women or minorities, or those with grievances being integrated in a myriad of ways into ceremonies—depending on the levels of ‘lived’ democracy in the village, or national space. In many instances, children are given roles in ceremonies, and their participation encouraged through thematic projects in schools or in their communities, impacting on their life-long memories. Sites of memory, like ceremonies may also occasion public protest ranging from ignoring the event, to counter memorials and commemorations and sometimes violence. A major challenge that remains for organizers is to get the public to ‘buy into’ the event and also attend such commemorations. Hence pageantry must also include entertainment value. The authors emphasize the physicality of the sites of memory, their symbolism and active use of them by the respective state authorities in creating narratives for domestic and international audiences. In the case studies of Ireland, Turkey and Syria—all states created in the aftermath of WWI, the UK state lost over almost 85% of the territory of the island of Ireland, with 26 counties eventually becoming a Republic, and the UK maintaining only 6 counties in Northern Ireland, engendering conflicts that were being resolved peacefully since the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (1998), especially within EU structures and contexts. Turkey, once the hub of the Ottoman empire was reconstructed as a Republic, and hosted major WWI commemorations, despite significant domestic challenges faced especially in the past decade, including the impact of the ongoing war in Syria that was created from a French mandated territory in the wake of WWI, alongside refugee flows into and through Turkey, and the destabilizing effects of Daesh (Islamic State) and similar groups in the region. The studies from Hungary and Kosovo paint vivid images of sites of memory with battlefields and memorials stretching over 400 years, with the ghosts of Suleiman the Magnificent and ‘heroes’ in defence of Christendom embedded there. Such sites embody core foundational narratives for several countries in the region. Echoes of invaders are deeply sensed by sections of the population, reinforced by state policy and action in construction of ‘defensive’ fences as of 2015 on Hungary’s borders with Croatia (EU member state), and Serbia (EU applicant state) responding to the migrant and refugee treks coming through from Turkey and Greece. Budapest’s H˝osök Tere—Heroes Square provides the site for impressive monuments and unfolding narratives of Hungary that was originally constructed in the period 1896—1929 celebrating 1000 years of Hungarian history. Here counterregime groups have often challenged the state, and successive regimes have inserted or removed monuments from the Square. Hungary being a hub of the AustroHungarian Empire until 1918, like Turkey, found itself among the defeated powers.

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Significantly, there is no real WWI memorial on the ‘national’ square, despite the great number of war casualties.

Budapest—H˝osök tere—Heroes Square. Source mons/2/21/HUN-2015-Budapest-Heroes%E2%80%99_Square.jpg

The sense of survival, but also danger of invaders remains strong also in Baltic commemorations, as in Latvia, where WWI is kaleidoscoped into memories of the more recent Russian occupation, and where approximately 26% of the population there are ethnic Russians. Celebrations lasted from 2017–20 marking the 100 years of the modern day shape of the state. Highlights included dedication of the monument for Estonia’s victims of communism 1940–91. August 20th is significant as Estonia got its ‘restored’ independence in 1991 and is a national holiday. Statehood is presented as continuous despite the occupations of Soviet Russia 1940–41, Nazi Germany 1941– 44 and Soviet Union 1944–91. Hence the continuity of the ‘national survival’ theme. As with commemorations in the Baltic countries, collective memory is emphasized in the study of Sarajevo—Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) as in which and what role architecture has played in processes of the cultural presentation of a new social system in BiH. Analyses of several public but mostly residential buildings in Sarajevo is emblematic. Ruins whether in the rural hinterlands of Verdun, or in cities do have functions. In the city they materialize urban memories, thus conveying a social and political message, sometimes with great impact whether in the UK, France, Germany or Trieste. The decisive argument that drove the Kingdom of Italy into WWI and Austria’s defeat signalled a very different history for the city impacting on the entire region. In the Slovenian-Italian border area, memorialization of WWI has taken on a


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new significance with (i) the Walk of Peace, a 320 km long path connecting outdoor museums, memorials, cemeteries and other restored wartime sites with stories of the largely overlooked Soˇca/Isonzo WWI battle front. In the Latvian case study, it is argued that studies of films afford us new historiographical perspectives on space, architecture and urban imaginary, that advance critical insights into the geo-historical formation of urban modernity, while landscape as text is the dominant metaphor. Focus is on portrayal of Riga’s residential living areas in one of the most controversial eras in Latvia’s history—the Soviet period. In the Trieste and Slovenia boundary and memory sites are explored old histories, while the current erased boundaries in ‘the Land of Israel’ emphasizes changing boundaries and their de facto status whatever counter standpoints may exist ‘de jure’, with de facto sites of memory such as fortifications like the Tegarts and relics of the Green Line that can be read in the landscape. Education, memory and sites regarding centennials, expositions and activities, for the public and school activities attempt the recovery and memorialisation of WWI in the 21st Century, especially in the context of Gibraltar being a British Overseas Territory in Europe and the EU. This must be interpreted in the context of its ‘former’ colonial de jure status still being listed by the UN as a territory for decolonization, but with constitutional independence within the UK administrative structures, and a 96% vote to remain within the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum to leave the Union. Apropos experiences of Greek people in Asia Minor and WWI legacies, as in several case studies, the heritage of trauma is appraised, but more explicitly here with reference to memories and memorials. The value of exploratory ‘shared’ memory research and its application on the ground with living legacies—from past conflict to shared futures opens up possibilities for sustainable democracy. WWI commemorations in Northern Ireland as part of the UK, but located on the island of Ireland illustrates how sites of memory can be developed in order to create peace-building and sustainable socio-political development. Concepts of education, remembrance and space can be evaluated via emancipatory and activist approaches through Geomedia, analysing the problematic of the right to space through places of remembrance in public areas, physically as well as online, anchored in geography education, especially in times of rising nationalism and neoliberal dominance.

Geography: Place and Memory Nexus Gerry O’Reilly

Abstract Concepts from geography, place, time, history, memory and narrative are aligned here using the WWI centennial (2014–18) as a landmark base. Interpretation includes changes in time scales, heritages and social-constructs acknowledging the work of UNESCO. Scientists and artists alike have explored the nexus—time and space, life and memory, including social paradigms regarding the gods, ethnicity and nation. Perspectives on the destruction of Rheims Cathedral (1914) are explored as are the devastation at Ypres and villages on the Front. At first glance, aspects of commemoration rituals remain the same over long time scales assuring national identity continuity to citizens, but become embedded in current political-cultural and globalization contexts. Organization of commemorations has become ever-more challenging due to increasing voices wanting to be heard, and also public expectations, including entertainment, spectacle or show. Notions of the (geo)politics of memory influence ways in which groups construct and identify with narratives including those of ‘self’, ‘us’ and the ‘others’. WWI commemorations offered an ideal opportunity for citizens to reassess the ongoing challenges in Europe taking into account public-fatigue with political institutions, along with a rise in populism. Keywords Geography · History · Time · Memory · Interdisciplinarity · Place · Heritage

Introduction This chapter explores narratives of the past and their place in the present as with the ghost-like wreckage of a German submarine used in WWI that (re)appeared in December 2017 on a beach in northern France after being buried under the sands

G. O’Reilly (B) School of History & Geography, Dublin City University, St Patrick’s Campus, Upper Drumcondra Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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for decades.1 Similarly many of the spectre-like or destroyed villages (Les villages détruits) of WWI ‘remain’ and most obviously those that were devastated during the Battle of Verdun (1916) in eastern France such as Fleury preserved as a national monumental testament to memory.2 Narratives of other war-torn villages throughout the former Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires may be less researched or well known to the international community for language, cultural, political or geopolitical ‘emotional’ reasons as with the ‘abandoned villages’ in present day Turkey, including Kayaköy, known as Levissi in Greek, until 1922.3 Besides shells—exploded or not—and personal memorabilia still being discovered by members of the public and archaeologists alike in WWI landscapes, human cadavers are also being found. Then they are DNA tested and traced with families being contacted where possible; properly interred and acknowledged in appropriate cemetery plots and recorded in the respective archives. However, as well as official media, ‘popular’ information sources including TV and newspapers (online or not) are keeping the public and younger generations informed of these ghosts with their past and present narratives.4 Belgium’s Flanders landscape and urbanscape, like that of the Gallipoli region is replete with sites of memory ranging from relic battlefields 1 German

WWI submarine remains resurface on French coast. DW-Made for Minds/AFP. 2018. 2 Chemins de mémoire. Destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont. https://www.cheminsde YouTube: The Villages That Died for France—Portraits of No Man’s Land. (In the aftermath of WWI, the No Man’s Land between the trenches was a site of total devastation, with human bodies, munitions and poisonous gasses buried in the mud. Villages in the region were never able to rebuild. This is the story of one dead village, and the mayor keeping its memories alive). The Destroyed Villages of France—Fleury I The Great War Special. watch?v=k9KZL77eOec. YouTube: Fleury-devant-Douaumont, “a village that died for France.” com/watch?v=mxOEUeLUy2U. 3 See: Twenty Amazing Photos of Abandoned Greek Village in Turkey. Written by Gregory Pappas June 17, 2019. Abandoned Greek Village in Turkey on Auction Block by Turkish Government. Written by Gregory Pappas October 18, 2014. YouTube: Turkish Abandoned Ghost Town | Kayaköy Fethiye Turkey | Full Time World Travel Vlog. YouTube: KAYAKÖY—Ghost Town: Old Church 1888/Turkey (Region Fethiye). https://www. Kayaköy. Wikipedia. BBC Travel. Turkey’s religious ghost town. By Elizabeth Warkentin. 5 August 2014. Vicken Cheterian. 2018. Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks and a Century of Genocide. London: Hurst Publishers. 4 See: The following sources are chosen from a ranger of popular and official sources. Corpse of Ottoman soldier killed in WWI discovered a century after his death. Daily Sabah Turkey. 2 Feb. 2017. led-in-wwi-discovered-a-century-after-his-death.

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and trenches to memorials, monuments, museums, heritage trails, peace parks and cemeteries as with the iconic city of Ypres/Ieper that was almost totally devastated during WWI, however the historic town centre was reconstructed, 1920s–1930s.5 These narratives and spaces of memory have their physical and human geography, both material and existential in the human-made or cultural landscape and resultant past and present emotions and attitudes to them. However, it should be noted that physical geographies in the borderlands of Germany, Belgium, France and other countries influenced, but did not determine, state boundary creation. By human decision, strategists and planners of the Imperial German Forces, determined that the most pragmatic route in the Schlieffen Plan for the invasion of France was through Belgium and Luxemburg and especially the Flanders plains.6 Geographical literacy interpreting places in the present, must be cognizant of changes and time scales—ranging from the meta-long geological, to long and short time human history cycles as with developments and changes of the state and sociopolitical institutions, up to the short cycles of history—current affairs, and planning for the future.

The body of a French soldier found in … 98 years after his death. La Marne: 2014–18. https:// Remains of WW1 soldier found buried in ice are finally returned home. Articles by Gian Spagnoletti. War History Online. Unknown soldiers laid to rest as ‘war detectives’ puzzle over identities. Member of Lancashire Fusiliers and two Australian men buried a century after they fell in Belgium. Article by Daniel Boffey. The Guardian. 6 November 2018. nown-soldier-laid-to-rest-as-war-detectives-puzzle-over-identity. Bodies of 125 WW1 soldiers found entombed in perfectly preserved trench 101 YEARS after their deaths: The soldiers - British, German, French and South African—were found where they fell in Flanders, Belgium. Article by Kelly-Ann Mills., The Mirror. 13 July 2018. https://www.mir DW. Crowdfunded archaeology: ‘Dig Hill 80’ explores the WWI Ypres Salient battlefield. BBC News. Three British WW1 soldiers buried after ‘emotional’ DNA match. 12 June 2019. CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission). 5 1914–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of WWI. Ypres by Spencer Jones. https://encycl 13 February 2015. The solider behind ‘In Flanders Fields’. Flanders Field: Remembering Their Sacrifice. vGTRo. World War 1: In Flanders Fields footage (Ypres, Ieper–Belgium). watch?v=TAxVxSjGswU. 6 The Schlieffen Plan (Part 1 of 2). Germany in Two-Front War and the Schlieffen-Plan I The Great War—Week 2. https://www.


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Heritage: The Cumulus of Human Inheritances Heritage is essentially the cumulus of human inheritances both material and existential along with the transmission of memory encompassing scientific or provable facts and also non-provable ideas that are embedded in landscape. This impacts on identity issues—self and group perceptions, and also how individuals or groups are perceived by others. Group identities can range from local to regional, national and wider scales that are not mutually exclusive but can overlap. Here a seminal question remains what exactly is socially-constructed, and what is more individualistic, emotional or instinctive. Much research has been carried out on concepts of nationalism and the input of socio-political constructs into its development. Local, regional and national grass-roots groups and formal institutions often promote certain aspects of ‘their’ heritages. While valorising the uniqueness of heritage spaces—physical and cultural, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) promotes preservation and development of World Heritage Sites (WHS) in a sustainable manner—ecological, environmental, social, cultural and economically and therefore the importance of best practice in the hospitality industry. Within this WHS category, sites of memory hold an important place regarding identity and civizational achievements. Within this classification is also found other sites—of darkness, or shame, or conscience. Humanity cannot afford to forget or try to obliterate these, or else risk history repeating itself and from the standpoint of Hannah Arendt; with the banality of evil becoming the norm once again including massive human rights abuses and genocide.7 Therefore, there is a duty to remember, but also a right to remember. Here, geographers, historians, historiographers and researchers in other disciplines including the humanities and arts have a responsibility to support work being carried out concerning heritage and sites of memory in assuring sustainable democratic futures. They can positively contribute to the meta-narratives, but they can also deconstruct them, encouraging enlightenment and counteracting dangerous, divisive and hate-myths, and untruths (i.e. new-speak for lies). Examples here include the normalization of ignorance and sexism, or denialism regarding sites such as the infamous Nazi Auschwitz extermination camp.8 At a different level and concerning combatants as opposed to civilians in the case of Auschwitz, it should be remembered that chemical warfare was first introduced in the combined chlorine–phosgene attack by the German Imperial Army, against British troops at Wieltje near Ypres, in Belgium on 19 December 1915, when 88 tons of gas were released from cylinders causing 1,069 casualties and 69 deaths.9 Many survivors suffered the ill effects of the gas throughout their lives, that was witnessed by their loved ones with the stories being passed down through the family generations. 7 Arendt


8 See: Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust (1993), History on Trial: My Day in Court

with a Holocaust Denier (2005) and The Eichmann Trial (2011). Also the movie Denial (2016) a British-American biographical drama film directed by Mick Jackson and written by David Hare, based on Deborah Lipstadt’s book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. 9 1914–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of WWI. Gas Warfare. By Thomas I. Faith. 25 January 2016.

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Source Spiegel. German soldiers and dogs don gas masks in Reims, France during WWI in 1916. Only one year earlier, poison gas was deployed for the first time in war on a mass scale by the Germans in Ypres, Belgium. The battle marked the birth of weapons of mass destruction.

Time, Pace, Human Life-Span and Memory Humans have sought to comprehend the nexus between time and space, and their own life-span and memory over the millennia, but also ‘the place of humans’ in the greater time-scales and universe. Scientific approaches range from the cosmology of ancient civilizations up to the present with the Big Bang theory, bringing together observational astronomy and particle physics, and the well-known work of such scientists as Stephen Hawking on the so-called black holes.10 Philosophers, artists and writers ranging from the Greek Poet Homer to the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882–1941) have attempted to capture intricate time-place relationships of the human saga within the greater time-place cosmos. Other approaches seeking to understand human life and universal creation used the gods-construct in a search for causality, as found in classical Greek mythology, theatre and civilization, and similarly with Nordic and Celtic gods and mythologies as with Thor and Lugh respectively, but also elsewhere as in India with the Hindu narratives of Brahma, 10 NBC News. What Stephen Hawkins taught us about black Holes. By David Cox. 17 March 2018.


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Saraswati, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Harihara and Ardhanarishvara that often now interconnect with the nationalist perspectives of the Bharatiya Janata Party.11 It could be argued that the gods-construct was brought to a different level with the birth of the monotheistic religions and development of the prophetic tradition of the revealed ‘word of god’ being written down in the holy books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam—Torah, Bible and Koran respectively. Many of the great works of these religions continue to be civizational landmarks, as attested to with such UNESCO World Heritage Sites as Temple Mount and associated places of memory in Jerusalem in the heritages of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.12 This region of the world was also greatly affected by WWI and defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Landmark events associated with WWI such as the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916), planning for control of the post-war Middle East between Britain and France were referenced in commemorations in 2016. Similarly, the Balfour Declaration (1917) a public statement issued by the British government announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine was also marked—commemorated or else contested in 2017.13

11 Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2019 Bharatiya Janata Party. POLITICAL PARTY, INDIA. https:// 12 Life Science. Did UNESCO Deny That the Temple Mount Had Jewish Temples? By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | October 18, 2016 06. See: O’Reilly, G. 2019 Aligning Geopolitics, Humanitarian Action and Geography in Times of Conflict. Springer International Publications. 13 YouTube: Explainer: Sykes-Picot at 100—Still haunting the Middle East. com/watch?v=JmDE5roO95I. Architects of Failure: 100 years of Sykes-Picot. Written by Akil Awan. History Today. 16 May 2016. Middle East Eye. Sykes-Picot agreement unravelling on its centenary: The Sykes-Picot deal is reviled across the Middle East as the epitome of imperial arrogance, but the alternatives are grim too. By James Reinl. 12 May 2016. 100 Years Later: The Sykes-Picot Agreement. By Jonathan Zalman. Tablet. https://www.tablet BBC News. Sykes-Picot: The map that spawned a century of resentment. By Jim Muir. 16 May 2016. Elie Podeh. Diversity Within a Show of Unity: Commemorating the Balfour Declaration in Israel (1917–2017). Israel Studies. Vol. 22, No. 3, Special Section: The Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (Fall 2017), pp. 1–30. Published by: Indiana University Press. stable/10.2979/israelstudies.22.3.01?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents. The contested centenary of Britain’s calamitous promise. By Ian Black. 17 Oct. 2017. The Guardian. mise-balfour-declaration-israel-palestine. 100 Years After the Balfour Declaration, a Commemoration Rekindles Mideast Quarrels. By Simon Clark and Laurence Fletcher. Oct. 28, 2017. Wall Street Journal. icles/100-years-after-the-balfour-declaration-a-commemoration-rekindles-mideast-quarrels-150 9133165.

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Symbolic Cathedrals: Sites of Memory In September 1914, when Rheims Cathedral in northern France was seriously damaged by 25 German shells, this led to a wave of emotions across the country and abroad. With religious space, issues of spirituality, personal feelings and emotions have to be juxtaposed with the larger social meta-narratives, religious and sociopolitical constructs, and therefore the issues of phenomenology—personal experience and consciousness. Such became very obvious on Monday 15 April 2019, when people in Paris witnessed their Notre Dame Cathedral burning. Simultaneously millions of people throughout France and worldwide were looking on virtually at this landmark UNESCO monument in flames. Starting on October 20, 2018, Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral was illuminated for a show entitled Dame de Coeur (Lady of Heart) as part of WWI commemorations, though Paris had not been occupied nor damaged during the war. However the cathedral contains many small individual ‘Merci’ prayer plaques near the candle shrines put there by individuals, especially between 1914–20.14 Due to the historic separation of Church and state in France since the 19th century, military-style remembrance monuments and flags are conspicuously absent from churches there, unlike the experience in other churches or religious spaces as in the UK. Anniversaries like centenaries reference dates and time, and often occasion a period of reflection on such things as past events or founding of institutions. Frequently, this impacts on the individual; either subliminally or consciously there is a tendency to compare the ‘then’ and ‘now’ reflecting on the before and after—past and present conditions as between 1918 and 2018. While certain commemoration rituals remain the same giving continuity and identity reassurance to people, the past is somehow presented in the current political-cultural context. In some countries with constitutional monarchies such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Luxembourg, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Sweden and UK, members of royal families alongside political and military leaders participated in the official WWI centennials at places of memory such as battle sites and cemeteries, but also at new or artificially created memorial spaces to remind the public of past generations, heritages and continuity. Contemporary events as well as commemoration occasions can be interwoven into present and future history narratives and ‘new’ traditions created. Of course places can become important by associations with people alive or dead ranging from ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ to celebrities feeding into narratives, in place and imagination. Concepts of historical, collective or social memory, or the (geo)politics of memory influence ways in which groups, collectivities and nations construct and identify with particular narratives about eras, events and other peoples and places. Historical

14 Telegraph. 11 Nov. 2018. First World War centenary commemorations from the UK and around the world, in pictures.


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memories are foundational to social and political identities and are also often reshaped in the present historical-political moment.15 Good governance is essential in supporting good citizenship and the WWI commemorations offered governments and public alike an opportunity to reassess current challenges in Europe and public-fatigue with the present state of liberal democracy, its institutions and leaders along with accelerated globalization. Nevertheless, in the 2019 European elections, over 50% of EU citizens eligible to vote took part, the highest turnout in 20 years and first time since the first direct elections in 1979 that turnout has increased. Significantly, numbers increased in 21 countries, going up more than 10 percentage points in seven of them; with populist and extremist parties doing less well than many commentators had predicted.16

Narratives: Past and Present Though sometimes not too obvious, the ghosts of the past remain, and every so often may resurface. Places of memory are embedded in landscape, urbanscape and seascape—whether evident to the human eye or not. In December 2017, the ghost-like wreckage of a German submarine used in WWI reappeared on a beach in northern France. The UC-61 sank more than a century ago, with the 20-member crew abandoning the vessel and scuttling it. The rusty remains had been visible at low tide off the coast of the town of Wissant. Two sections eight meters and three meters in length resurfaced. Citizens of Wissant knew that there was a submarine there, but the wreck mostly lay in sand and therefore couldn’t be seen. The U-boat deployed in the English Channel in July 1917 off the French Opal Coast and was tasked with attacking merchant ships, sinking at least 11 of them, by laying mines and firing torpedoes. French authorities do not want to recover the whole submarine, stating that the remains are not dangerous.17 This wreckage site stands in sharp contrast to the Turkish coastline of the Gallipoli/Dardanelles/Çanakkale WWI campaign battles (Feb 19, 1915–Jan 9, 1916) with its iconic landscape, seascape and memorial sites. Box Flames in the Light Show at Haudainville and the Battle of Verdun Des flammes à la lumière—Flames in the Light is a light and sound show evoking WWI and more especially the battle of Verdun (1916). It has been organized every summer since 1996 by a local association in the old quarry of Haudainville, south of Verdun, in the department of Meuse. The amphitheatre-like stands can accommodate up to 2,400 spectators catering for regional and international visitors including many from neighbouring Germany. The show 15 McGill

Peterson Centre for International and Intercultural Studies. historical-memory. 16 See: Europe. News European Parliament. Elections 2019: highest turnout in 20 years. 27-5-2019. ctions-2019-highest-turnout-in-20-years. 17 German WWI submarine remains resurface on French coast. DW-Made for Minds/AFP. 2018.

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follows the story of three young people from French, Belgium and Germany, who meet today in Verdun. They exchange memories of their ancestors who lived in WWI. Through their conversation, the spectator follows the events of the Belle Époque which led to the outbreak of the war, then witness the harshness of the fighting, during the Battle of Verdun, and life behind the scenes, and finally, the armistice and setting up of commemorations. The show ends with a handshake between two French and German soldiers. Production of the show mobilizes 550 volunteers, including 250 actors on stage. It requires 1,000 projectors, 900 costumes, 40 km. of cables, 2 ha. of stage space, special effects and projections of giant images. I have attended the show several times and it’s quite amazing, especially taking into consideration that the project was developed, presented and sustained by volunteers. Source: Meuse Tourism. Des flammes à la lumière. pectacle-des-flammes-a-la-lumiere-verdun.html/ YouTube: Présentation du spectacle 2018 “Des flammes a la lumière”. YouTube: Reportage TV allemande SR1, les bénévoles “Des flammes à la lumière” YouTube: Bande annonce du Spectacle “Des Flammes… à la Lumière”—Verdun.

Regarding the ghost-like destroyed villages (Les villages détruits) of WWI and more specifically those due to the Battle of Verdun (1916); after 1918, it was decided that the land previously occupied by the destroyed villages in Lorraine would not be incorporated into other communes, as a testament to these villages which had “died for France”, and to preserve their memory. Three of the villages were subsequently rebuilt; however, the other six are unpopulated and are managed by a council of three members, appointed by the regional authorities. They are located in the Canton of Charny-sur-Meuse mostly north of the city of Verdun. For instance, Fleury-devantDouaumont provides a classic example of such a place of memory. These decaying sites in their simplicity surrounded by the luxuriant vegetation of the Meuse Valley natural environment, including profuse mosses and ferns, and dense forests are not evident at first glance as being the product of war; the visitor is forced to look more closely. Less evident but significant, there still remain small areas in the region, of dense vegetation fenced off with warning signs not to enter, due to the danger of unexploded munitions. These villages stand in sharp contrast to the WWII deserted village of Oradour-sur-Glane in Haute-Vienne in Nazi-occupied France where 642 of its inhabitants were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company on 10 June 1944. A new village was built nearby after the war, but President Charles de Gaulle ordered the original be maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.18 Regarding destroyed villages elsewhere as sites of memory, much research remains to be done in the borderlands of the former Ottoman, Russian and AustroHungarian empires with classic examples in Anatolia. However, regarding Les villages détruits in the Verdun region, they stand in contrast to the monumental sites of memory such as the Douaumont ossuary memorial in the national cemetery. There, through small windows from the outside of the construction, the skeletal remains of at least 130,000 unidentified combatants of all armies who were killed can be seen filling up alcoves at the lower edge of the building. Major renovation works

18 Harris



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were undertaken in the years leading up to the 2016 commemoration ceremonies, and significantly the addition of inscriptions in German.19 With many of WWI’s violent battles being fought around Ypres/Ieper, the Flanders region of Belgium is home to some of Europe’s most iconic historic sites of the Great War. Among the 185 WWI military cemeteries, a number of the most important sites of memory in Flanders include: the Käthe Kollwitz sculptures—Grieving Parents at the German Military Cemetery of Vladslo; the Passchendaele and Gravenstafel memorials to the fallen; the In Flanders’ Fields Museum near Essex Farm Field Hospital; the Ypres Last Post Ceremony every evening and many more.20 For visitors, and especially people from Australia and New Zealand, and defining events in their national narratives, the ANZAC WWI experiences are immortalized with the memorial on Messines Ridge and Pool of Peace (Spanbroekmolen) formed by one of 19 mine explosions. It’s possible to trace the footsteps of Australian soldiers at sites like Fromelles, Ploegsteert, Messines, Polygoon Wood and Passchendaele, and also see mine craters laid by the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company. Similarly, Canadians can experience the Grange subways and tunnels where the Canadian Divisions launched their Vimy assault in 1917 and visit the Hill 62 Canadian War Memorial and largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) cemetery in Europe that records the names of 35,000 combatants.21

Ypres/Ieper Despite the almost total devastation of Ypres/Ieper in WWI many iconic historic buildings were reconstructed, including its Medieval and Renaissance buildings. The town was rebuilt stone by stone, brick by brick during the 1920s–30s. The In Flanders’ Fields Museum occupies the second floor of the Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) on the Market Square in the city centre. It was largely destroyed by artillery during WWI, but was afterwards reconstructed. In 1998 the original Ypres Salient Memorial Museum was refurbished and renamed ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’. Following 19 While visiting Douaumont in August 2018, where I had been going since 1989, preparations were underway that day for a big international ceremony. The sound technicians decided to test their equipment with an ill chosen song from the charts in English, that was full of obscenities and offensive language, whether by design or more so by language ignorance. When I pointed this out, the test music was changed. 20 Flanders World War I Battlefields Tour from Brussels 2019. ERS?mcid=56757. 21 New Zealand Battlefield Tour in Flanders from Ghent 2019. tours/Ghent/Private-New-Zealand-Battlefield-Tour-in-Flanders-from-Ghent/d23079-10604P11? mcid=56757. Australian Battlefield Tour Flanders from Bruges 2019. 04P9?mcid=56757. Vimy, Belgium Canadian Battlefield Private Tour from Bruges 2019. https://

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a period of closure, it reopened in 2012. The museum does not set out to glorify war, but suggests its futility, particularly as interpreted from the West Flanders Front in WWI.22 There have been subtle shifts in creation and recreation of this museum space. When it was opened in 1998 the focus of the scenography was on human and individual experiences in the war with personal testimonials, be it that of the nurse, civilian, soldier or other, in order to bring the greater public into contact with the subject. Visiting the museum in 1999, I was struck by the ‘simple’ layout and organisation, where visitors of all ages could select a ‘real person’ by pressing a button and follow their individual life story and testimony. This facilitated connection and empathy. Going through the exhibits, I eventually arrived at an exposition of unfolding news on human rights abuses, genocide, war, media and propaganda bringing the visitor right up to the present and the wars in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sudan and elsewhere. Again most successfully, this targeted empathetic and intelligence. Now personal stories are no longer there, the museum presents the landscape of war as the great last witness. The contemporary scape is certainly one of the last tangible observers of the war narratives, where the tangibility may establish empathy, including the museum route allowing a visit of the Belfry. From its tower gallery the visitor can survey the city and surrounding battlefields, monuments and commemoration sites. Nearby is Messines with its many monuments including the Peace Park’s symbolic Irish Round Tower officially opened on 11 November 1998 honouring soldiers from all parts of Ireland and respective traditions in the British forces, attempting to create a shared ‘non conflictual’ narrative. The original idea for this Tower and park came from an individual in Ireland who got grassroots backing and then approached the Irish and other state authorities that supported the idea.23 These heritage sites—spaces and places of memory, and some would arguably say conscience, have been visited by grieving individuals and families since the end of WWI, but have also hosted major governmental, national and international ceremonial and ritual events (re)created by successive generations right up to the present centennials. These sites form an intricate part of the cultural landscape, heritage and tourism industries.24 22 Reconstruction

of Ypres from 1919: tory-1919.htm. 23 Island of Ireland Peace Park and Tower 20th anniversary to be marked. By Brendan McDaid. 30 October 2018. Derry Journal. ‘My father has helped honour all the forgotten’ BY Anita Guidera. May 18 2014. https://www. Wikipedia. Island of Ireland Peace Park. eace_Park. 24 Visit Flanders. In Flanders Fields Museum. tions/top/in-flanders-fields-museum.jsp. Great War: 1914–18. Towns and Villages on the Ypres Salient Battlefields. https://www.gre


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Geography and Heritage Geography at its most basic level promotes awareness of what’s around you—that interplay of the physical features of nature and those created by humans, and their inter-relationships and relative arrangement and patterns. A classic example would include a group of houses near a bridge across a river, or a rural village in a forested area. Awareness is enhanced by informal learning from family or community— the social milieu, and from the formal education system, leading to geographical literacy and concepts of location whether perceptual or by scientific coordinates. This enhances increasing understandings of patterns, or similarities and differences regarding places, areas such as urban or rural, war-torn or peaceful, heritage spaces along with expanding geographical scales that the individual is exposed to in the lived reality or via the imagination, hearing stories, or reading, via television, or social media. Classic examples involve asking children to draw a picture map or describe orally, their journey between their home and their destination such as school or Granma’s house. What the individual draws is significant illustrating their landmarks and also the perceived trajectory. Iterations of such an exercise can be applied to heritage spaces. Similar mental mapping is possible with older age groups and can feed into planning, local and larger geographical scales. The larger the scales encountered, the greater the areal differences become. If the individual is asked to just concentrate on a limited number of phenomena in such an exercise, then the picture becomes thematic as with the traces of war in Flanders Fields or Gallipoli. Hence, geography explores human-environmental relationships, and researches the physical features of the earth and its associated spheres such as the atmosphere, and more critically the anthrosphere or techno-sphere—that part of the environment that is created or modified by humans for use in activities and habitats. This includes human activity as it affects and is affected by physical geography, including the distribution of cultures and patterns of tangible resources such as water, but also political, economic and military actions. This embraces the existential and phenomenological or non-material aspects of human activities also. These may be embedded in culture such as ideas and emotions, but also religion, nationalism and ideologies. The aim here is to locate commonalities, variances and change over space and time; looking for patterns and differentiation at varying geographical scales. Habitat or Habitus refers to the physical embodiment of cultural capital or accumulation of knowledge, behaviours and skills that demonstrate cultural competence in societal contexts. Essentially, the deeply ingrained habits, skills and dispositions possessed due to the lived experiences of place. Psychogeography references the geographical environment of a particular location, considered with regard to its influence on the mind or on behaviours; this can hold positive or negative attributes. Topophilia (from the Greek topos meaning place and—philia, love of) relates to a strong sense of place, which often becomes blended with concepts of cultural identity among certain people and a love of specific aspects of the place. To people from outside that place, the basic attitude may be positive or not to it, and its people and their culture. In some cultures, as in Finland, Sweden and Germany, there is

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a strong love and emotional attachment to forests that has become embedded in the national consciousness, culture and identity, and indeed nationalisms. In other cultures, the emotional attitude to the forest can be ambiguous, fearful or indeed negative as sometimes witnessed in Ireland. Topophobia references fear or hatred of a place, for logical, real, imagined or perceived reasons, which may be mixed in with an attitude towards the human culture of the place also. Xenophobia (in contrast to xenophilia) makes reference to fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be strange or different—people from outside ‘your place’—comfort zone or bubble—such as foreigners, and can involve perceptions of an in-group towards an outgroup that may manifest itself in suspicion of the other without logical grounds for such. In its extreme form this may become entwined with racism or bigotry, and the lines between such and sociopathy and psychopathy can be somewhat blurred. This can work at local, regional, national and international scales. Such fears can be exploited by opportunistic politicians, demagogues, extreme nationalists, populists, propagandists or doomsday apocalypse-type actors.25

Landscape Landscape, literally meaning territorial shape includes physical elements of geographically defined landforms such as mountains, valleys, plains, rivers and sea (seascape), along with living elements of land cover including indigenous flora and fauna. Human elements include different forms of land use, buildings, structures, farming activities, industry and cultural spaces ranging from sports to religion and heritage. In short, the impact of humans on the physical setting is regarded as the cultural landscape. This is defined by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as: i.

Being the cultural properties that represent the combined works of nature and of humans, or ii. A landscape designed and created intentionally by humans, or iii. An organically evolved landscape which may be a relict or fossil landscape, or a continuing landscape. Basically, the cultural landscape represents the combined works of nature and humans that express a long and intimate relationship between people and their natural environment.26

25 See

O’Reilly (2019). Glossary.



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Time, Place and Space The concept of territorial space is essentially a continuous expanse and is therefore abstract, whereas an area within it is measurable. Within this, places of memory can have specific geographical coordinates and people attach significances to it for multiple reasons. The time–space nexus is located in a specific place and time— ranging from the mega-long-time calendar of geology spanning over 4.5 billion years, and geomorphology giving rise to location of water, river catchment area, mountains, volcanoes, minerals, energy sources and so forth to shorter-time periods of human history with the arrival of homo-sapiens on the Earth’s history.27 Within the human history span, long-term historical approaches give priority to slowly evolving historical and political structures of community and society, while short-term timescales are perceived to be the domain of such information creators as journalists, and those social and political scientists analysing immediate contemporary issues; citizen-journalists now fall into this category. For instance, in the mega-long-time calendar of geology, geographers are cognoscente of locations and distribution of water, minerals, vegetation, fauna and so forth in specific areas. Classical examples in Europe include the Alpine mountain region or vast river plains of the Danube, Rhine or Meuse. At different scales is found the karst region of the Burren in Ireland, and karst rim alongside the Uˇcka mountain range in eastern Istria to the east and south-east of Trieste. Samples of other very distinctive regions include the Lake District in England, river delta marshes of the Camargue in France, Tabernas desert in south-eastern Spain, Estonia’s long shallow coastline and so forth. Regarding the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization— World Heritage Sites, examples of transboundary WHS sites are often associated with national parks and include the Pyrénées—Mont Perdu shared by France and Spain; Wadden Sea—shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands under control of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. The Mosi-oa-Tunya (formerly, Victoria Falls) in the Zambezi River that is shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe; and Waterton Glacier International Peace Park under the jurisdiction of the USA and Canada.28 Regarding human geographies, who lived and who continues to live in these specific places, and long-term historical approaches, this includes political structures and socio-cultural footprints over the centuries. Designated UNESCO WHS can fall within one country or national jurisdiction, while others may include those that need not be contiguous and are yet nominated for UNESCO WHS status with the consent of all states parties concerned as Serial Transnational Property. This is in contrast to Contiguous Transboundary Sites, which have their own physical connections. Regarding cultural heritage, samples include the Belfries of Belgium and France— 56 bell-towers, built between the 11th–20th centuries. They are mostly found in town centres, and connected to the local town hall or church including the iconic Ypres 27 History

of the Earth. WHS Transboundary sites: dary+sites.


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Belfry associated with the destruction of the cathedral during WWI. In the 19th and 20th centuries, newly created belfries had a more symbolic value of independence and prosperity.29

Sites of Memory A site of memory (lieu de mémoire) may be defined as a concept popularized by Pierre Nora in Les Lieux de Mémoire (Realms of Memory).30 He states that a site of memory is any significant entity, whether material or non-material in its nature, which by action of human will or the work of time has become a representational or symbolic element of the memory or memorial heritage (inheritance) of any community. It may refer to any place, object or concept vested with historical significance in the popular collective memory. For instance, a monument, museum, event, emblem or symbol, even a colour vested with historical memory such as the red flag of left politics, or the tricolour flag of republicanism. According to the French-Québécois Commission for Common Sites of Memory, a lieu de mémoire signifies the cultural landmarks, places, practices and expressions stemming from a shared past, whether material (monuments) or intangible (language and traditions).31 Essentially, a space, site, repository or place that an individual, or more especially groups of people, feel a connection with or that causes positive or negative emotions and memories may be seen as a ‘lieu de mémoire’. However, the individual has to ask the how, who, what, when type questions regarding their own reactions or not, to such spaces, and especially ‘who created them literally’ and ‘who constructed the ideas or messages’ associated with them’ and passed on ideas and emotions. Sites of memory play a fundamental role in developing a collective memory of history. Because they appear explicit at first glance, they are ideally suited to learning and engaging with them offers opportunities for reflective experience on the interpretive power of place—image, language and culture. The concept itself relates to theories of collective memory based on innovative research of the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs especially in the 1920s.32 An essential aspect of this is cognizance that such individual phenomena as memory and recollection in reality exhibit a deeply social character. Individual memories are dependent on communicative contexts, but memory is also a social phenomenon in the sense that families, 29 UNESCO WHS Belfries of Belgium and France. 30 Nora,

P. 1984–1992. Les Lieux de Mémoire. Three Volumes. Pierre Nora and Lawrence D. Kritzman (Ed), translated by Arthur Goldhammer 1997. Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French past. Columbia: Columbia University Press. “Sites of Memory,” University of Toronto Library online. holtorf/2.6.html. 31 Commission franco-québécoise sur les lieux de mémoire communs, «Lieux de mémoire» https:// 32 Maurice Halbwachs.


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groups and nations create remembrances that are constructed, passed on via communicative activities such as story-telling and ballads, institutions including schools, museums, libraries; rituals and ceremonies as with recurring calendar dates in specific places for commemoration—memory develops in an individual during the process of socialization.33 While retelling the history of France according to its sites of memory, Pierre Nora worked on the ideas outlined above in Les Lieux de mémoire (Realms of Memory) (1980s). For him, sites of memory are places in which memory of the nation of France has become condensed, embodied or crystallized to a certain degree (Nora, 1998). This refers to places in the everyday meaning of the word, but also to events, persons, institutions, texts and expressions of high emotional and symbolic relevance for the way French society perceives itself. Innovative aspects of Nora’s work include: (i) the focus on the way in which history becomes symbolically charged, but without degrading this idea of history by ideologizing or mythicizing it; (ii) awareness of the role in promoting identity that sites of memory play as points of representation or landmarks in collective memory; and (iii) the contemporary significance of memory. Essentially, Nora states that the past changes because of the way in which each new generation regards, understands and constructs it, creating the memories it needs to form its own identity in the present.34 Many researchers worldwide have now adapted this concept regarding spaces of memory. As sites of memory become better known, often made official by governments or international institutions (e.g. EU, UN, UNESCO), they can tend to homogenize varied local memories.35 This can lead to a patrimonial framing of the narrative, whereby in this form of governance, power flows directly from ‘the leaders’ essentially producing a blending of the public and private sectors. Thus sites may run the risk of becoming invented or reinvented traditions. Philosopher Paul Ricoeur (1913–2005) argues that: the purpose of all interpretation is to conquer remoteness, a distance between the past cultural epoch to which the text belongs and the interpreter himself.36 33 Assmann, Jan (1999): Das kulturelle Gedächtnis. Schrift, Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen. München. (English translation: Beck Assmann, Jan (1999): Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.). Quoted in Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt. 2018 Shared history: sites of memory. Goethe Institute. 34 Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt. 2018 Shared history: sites of memory. Goethe Institute. 35 European Parliament, 2013. European Historical Memory: Policies, Challenges and Perspectives Directorate-General for Internal Policies Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies Culture and Education. 513977/IPOL-CULT_NT%282013%29513977_EN.pdf. UNESCO. Education. Sites of Memory. global-networks/aspnet/flagship-projects/transatlantic-slave-trade/activity-proposals/sites-of-mem ory/. 36 Ricœur, Paul, Charles E. Reagan, and David Stewart. “Existence and Hermeneutics.” In The Philosophy of Paul Ricœur: An Anthology of His Work. Boston: Beacon Press, 1978, pp. 101 and 106.

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Therefore, the concept of “historical memory,” often expressed as “collective memory,” “social memory,” or for many political scientists, “the politics of memory,” refers to the ways in which groups, collectivities and nations construct and identify with particular narratives about historical periods or events. Historical memories are foundational to social and political identities and are often reshaped in relation to the present.37 In this context, essentially citizenship is the position or status of being a citizen— a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized—with the rights and responsibilities of a particular state, particularly as the concept developed from the 19th century on. Active citizenship entails participation in society including paying one’s taxes, voting in local and national elections, awareness of NGOs and especially some knowledge of core values, culture and histories of the state. In countries of in-migration and especially the EU states, USA, Canada, Australia and others, in recent decades debates about citizens of foreign origin being literate in one of the official languages and associated national culture and norms have come to the forefront. The key point being how can a person or family group integrate and be active citizens in the host society if they don’t, or can’t, or refuse to learn the language and culture. Individuals and especially females in male-dominated cultures may be ‘kept at home’ and prevented from integrating linguistically. Such may lead to self-imposed ghettoization with the inherent dangers of this for minority groups and greater society. This issue is not something new as of the surge in people coming into the EU since the 2016 migration crisis, but may have generational significance for older immigrant groups, for instance, Pakistani Muslim communities in England.38 With globalization, despite challenges, drawing on the global citizenship concept is the idea that all people have rights and civic responsibilities that come with being a member of the world community, with whole-world philosophy and sensibilities, rather than as a citizen of a particular state or place. The idea is that one’s identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class—humanity. Additionally, the idea leads to questions regarding the state of global society and globalization processes of interaction and integration among people, companies and governments worldwide with geographically intricate flows of finances and products, communications, people, culture and so forth. Hence, research areas in Geography now include issues of citizenship formation, civil society, critical social geography, differencing, engagement RICOEUR: on “MEMORY”. Paul Ricoeur and his core ideas. Anthony Thiselton on Paul Ricoeur. 37 McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies. historical-memory. 38 The Guardian. Sajid Javid: 770,000 people in England unable to speak English well. By Anushka Asthana Political Editor. 14 March 2018. BBC News. How much of a problem is speaking English for some Muslim women? By Mario Cacciottolo. 18 January 2016


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in relations and practices of citizenship, endowments, entitlements and obligations, feminist perspectives, governance, postcolonial theory, radical geography, rights and the state.39 Promotion of global citizenship issues is more associated with the spectrum of Left-wing parties in the EU, than the range of Right-wing parties that often interpret this as non-pragmatic Utopianism in the face of the ‘real’ problems being confronted at home or on the European continent.

Sites: Shared Or Disputed Sites of Memory can be disputed, shared or negotiated, leading to confrontation, or else imposed, normalized, framed to the wishes of those in charge or re-framed, or rejected from top-down or bottom-up forces. They are often associated with individual and group identities, whether self-perceived or as viewed by others. Besides different voices trying to establish domain or estate over the physical or virtual space, or associated memories and histories, there is a thriving tourist industry developing around such places. Whatever concept we use, sites—of joy and cultural achievements, or else of tragedy, or grief, or darkness or conscience—the challenge for researchers and those people with a genuine interest is to prevent spaces of memory being reduced to a mnemonic (cue, reminder, prompt, aide memoir) space with a one size fits all approach, but rather to illustrate how the uniqueness of each such place holds multiple narratives and opportunities for stakeholders, experts, visitors and public alike. Historians Etienne François and Hagen Schulze adapted the site of memory concept to the German context in a book entitled Deutsche Erinnerungsorte (German sites of memory) (2001).40 They argue that sites of memory can be such heterogeneous phenomena as the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, the Reformation, Industrial Ruhr landscape, Volkswagen and Trabant cars, and Auschwitz, but also Goethe, Schiller and Heinrich Heine. To this must be added WWI’s Ohlsdorfer Friedhof Hamburg, POW Camp Quedlinburg and Ruhleben internment camp, Dachau. They include even slogans like ‘Wir sind das Volk’ (i.e. We are the people) and ‘Heil’. All of these examples provide individual points of access to German-speaking countries as a diverse and constantly shifting network of meaningful references to history—and therefore to their construction. This approach emphasizes the fragmentary changeable nature of history but also its relevance to the need for reassurance in the present day. Research on Erinnerungsort (site of memory) has flourished in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, including ‘East Germany’ itself as a site of memory,41 and on shared 39 Chouinard,

V. Citizenship, in Kitchin, R. and Thrift, N. (eds.). International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Elsevier, Vol. 7.). 40 François and Schulze (2005). 41 See: Good Bye Lenin! a 2003 German tragicomedy film, directed by Wolfgang Becker. The story follows a family in East Germany; the mother is dedicated to the socialist cause and falls into a coma in October 1989. When she awakens eight months later in June 1990, her son attempts to protect

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or common sites of memory as with Germany-Poland, and Germany-Czechia and the largely suppressed sites of memory regarding Germany’s colonial history.42 In 2018, France and Belgium applied for recognition by the UNESCO World Heritage committee of 139 WWI sites on the Western Front with the French and Belgian authorities emphasizing the dead, cemeteries and memorials as opposed to purely iconic places like trenches and bomb cratered areas. An advisory board to UNESCO recommended that the application be rejected for fear of glorifying war in the form of cemeteries and battlefields. This argument was rejected by the regional authorities.43

Sites of Memory: Sites of Education Use of sites of memory holds potential for formal and informal teaching and learning. They provide the possibility to use the example of individual places to discover not only their turbulent past but especially their—generally controversial—contemporary meanings. This may give nuanced insights into discourses in which societies such as the German-speaking people, or French-speaking public or Turkish-speaking people or whatever language group, address their identity and what binds them together symbolically. Of course centripetal and centrifugal political and cultural phenomena also come into play here as with the instances of Dutch-speakers in the Netherlands and Belgium, French-speakers in France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland and wider world; or Russian-speakers throughout the Russian Federation and former states of the Soviet Union and adjoining countries. Since the 1990s in ‘peace process areas’ including Northern Ireland and Former Yugoslavia, as with WWI centennial commemorations greater consideration has been devoted to shared sites of memory; those holding different meanings in various societies. Often, sites of memory cannot over-rigidly be attributed to one specific state, nation or group. This was reflected in ceremonies for WWI commemorations in many countries and very poignantly at Verdun and Ypres/Ieper. Of course, by association in public perceptions especially at ‘national’ memorial sites such as the cenotaphs in London and Paris, WWII and colonial war experiences also became embedded by association in the meta-narratives of the WWI commemorations. her from a fatal shock by concealing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. 42 See: Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt. 2018 Shared history: sites of memory. Goethe Institute. See: Carl Strikwerda. Europe Now. World War I and Historical Memory. https://www.europe 43 AP. France, Belgium seek UNESCO recognition for WWI memorials. By RAF CASERT June 24, 2018 Flanders Today. 16 July 2019 UNESCO advisory board rejects First World War as heritage by Lisa Bradshaw.


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Inclusion of ‘indigenous colonial’ soldiers in WWI commemorations is highly significant here, recognizing their input into evolving contemporary narratives including the immigrant, ethnic and racial tensions that have become part of the social fabric and current socio-political malaise in Europe with rising populism aimed at exploiting bias towards migrants and the ‘others’ and ambiguous attitudes of state actors. This was once again highlighted in recent years by the West Indian—Windrush scandal in the UK.44 UNESCO and the EU support work on such shared spaces of memory. Research work has included memory traces of migration regarding European colonial history. This can give rise to interest on various levels in different education contexts in the former colonies, and in Europe, especially in mixed European learning groups, when working with migrants, or people whose parents or grandparents were emigrants. When dealing with sites of memory and culture, over-simplified comparisons entail a risk of homogenization such as talking about ‘the Turkish’ versus ‘the British’ view on horrific events such as those at Gallipoli (1915–16) that ignores the fact that there is no such thing as either an unequivocally Turkish or unambiguously British standpoint. For instance, the disproportionate number of casualties at Gallipoli under the British flag, from Australia and New Zealand (ANZAC), Ireland and India remains an emotive issue. It is most likely that there are similar narratives to be researched regarding casualties among the forces of the Ottoman Empire including Kurdish and Armenian ethnicities. Essentially, broad-mindedness and empathy are necessary as a central aspect approaching sites of memory that is particularly important from an educational perspective; however, this must not include over-simplified or naïve relativist approaches.

Added Value of Sites of Memory in Formal and Informal Education Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt (2018) argue that sites of memory hold45 : i.

Contemporary relevance: When working with sites of memory, a central question is how a society constructs its identity and its orientation when engaging with

44 Wikipedia.

Windrush scandal. Independent. Rich oral histories are changing everything we thought we knew about West Indian migration to Britain. By Colin Grant. 17 October 2019. drush-scandal-caribbean-west-indian-black-history-month-a9159831.html. YouTube. Windrush: ‘Fighting to prove I’m British’—BBC Newsnight. com/watch?v=65-PdhIiNiE. YouTube. Euronews. Windrush Scandal: Britain’s Home Office has set immigrants up to fail and must reform—report. July 2018. 45 Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt. 2018 Shared History: Sites of Memory. Goethe Institute.

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its past in the respective presents. History cannot be seen as a finished process but rather as something that “is still happening” (François and Schulze 2005).46 ii. Complexity: Sites appear unambiguous at first glance, but with examination, they reveal themselves to be complex, ambiguous, contested and controversial. This reveals the true heterogeneity of societies that from the outside often appear homogenous (Badstübner-Kizik 2015).47 iii. Construct and interpretation character: When engaging with sites of memory, one can learn that reality is not an objective fact but a product of—changing— ascriptions or attributions. They are the scenes of battles for interpretation, image, linguistic and cultural predominance. By working with them, learners can develop an understanding of the way in which language and media construct can shape reality. iv. Sites of memory and the dual character of language: When learners examine and attempt to understand sites of memory, they pick up on earlier—often competing—interpretations and process them. When students are made aware of the resulting tensions between stability and instability, conventionality and creativity, norms and norm violations, they acquire the ability to understand language and communication on a more complex level. The term language is used here in the broadest sense, and is applicable to those working in the political and social sciences.

Interdisciplinarity: Geographers, Historians and Historiographers The geographer specializes in physical and human—environmental and social research on place, space and time relationships, delineation and study. Historical geography investigates the ways in which geographic phenomena have changed over time, synthesizing data which shares both topical and methodological similarities with history, archaeology, anthropology, ecology, geology, environmental studies, literary studies and other fields. The archaeologist studies the human past through its material culture and environmental data, essentially what humans before us have left behind. 46 François, Etienne and Schulze, Hagen (Ed.) (2005): Deutsche Erinnerungsorte. Eine Auswahl. Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education. 47 Quoted in Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt. 2018 Shared History: Sites of Memory. Goethe Institute. See Badstübner-Kizik, Camilla (2015): Über. Erinnerungsorte “zur Vielfalt des deutschsprachigen Raumes. In: Fremdsprache Deutsch Volume 52, pp. 11–14. Badstübner-Kizik, Camilla/Hille, Almut (2015) (Ed.): Kulturelles Gedächtnis und Erinnerungsorte im hochschuldidaktischen Kontext (=Posener Beiträge zur Angewandten Linguistik; 7), pp. 263– 273. Badstübner-Kizik, Camilla/Hille, Almut (2016) (Ed.): Erinnerung im Dialog. Deutsch-Polnische Erinnerungsorte in der Kulturdidaktik Deutsch als Fremdsprache (=J˛ezyk Kultura Komunikacja; 17).


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The historiographer uses professional skills in historiography—studying the actual writing of history and of written histories to gain closer insights. The historian examines—past events, particularly in human affairs, or a whole series of past events connected with a particular person or thing; especially that of a particular period such as the Enlightenment, Colonial or WWI eras. Or geographical regions such as Europe, Hungary, Greece, Ireland, Mediterranean, Arab world, India, Russian or Ottoman Empires. Or social phenomenon such as economics, labour, trade unions, medicine, education, art, religion, gender, heritage or places of memory.48 Local history investigates the past in geographically specific contexts and often concentrates on the resident community whether in rural or urban environments. It incorporates cultural and social aspects of history, and in some traditions ethnography, linguistic and folklore aspects. Historic plaques and monuments are one form of documentation of significant occurrences in the past, and oral histories are another. Strong synergies often exist between local history, geography and anthropology. The historian may help shape vast narratives of place, people, events, ideas and countries and may also create innovative perspectives, concepts and methodologies. Such work can leave an enduring legacy for the experts in the area, but also have a trickle-down effect on narratives for people who never formally studied or even read the original works. Due to the innovation and diffusion of ideas, the expert historians, geographers and other social and political scientists from other regions outside the specific area researched, may draw on these frameworks and interpretations to present their own local, regional, global or thematic narratives, including the longterm and short-term time-scale historical approaches. Hence the formal narratives are developed and passed down through the generations. For example, Edward Gibbons (1737–1794), History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (published 1776– 1789) traces the trajectory of Western Civilization including Islamic and Mongolian conquests from 98AD to the fall of Byzantium–Constantinople (1453). Fernand Braudel (1902–1985) was the student of the historian, geographer and economist, Henri Hauser (1866–1946) and his first book, La Méditerranée et le Monde Méditerranéen à l’Epoque de Philippe II (1949) (The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II) was among his most influential works. In a 2011 poll by History Today magazine, Braudel was chosen as the most important historian of the previous 60 years.49 Gibbons and Braudel’s works have provided todays metanarratives for many people in their respective place-time studies. In the context of WWI, much ‘history’ has been produced by the historians, and especially in the past decade in preparation for the centennial, that will not be discussed here, however the major works are referenced (see especially Historiography of World War One, 2014; and YouTube, The Great War).50 48 For

an indicative list of historians by area of study see: istorians_by_area_of_study#Ancient_history. 49 Fernand Braudel. Encyclopædia Britannica. udel; 50 See: Christopher Clark. 2013. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. Harper. John Horne. (ed.) 2012 A Companion to World War I. Wiley Blackwell.

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Meta-Narratives Meta-narratives provide an overarching interpretation of events and circumstances that give a pattern or structure for people’s beliefs and offers meaning to their experiences and identities. These big stories of place, people, nations, states and religion were re-examined and deconstructed by researchers, eventually giving greater space to grass-roots perspectives, minorities, women and individualism in the overall story especially since the post-modernist revolution in research as of the 1980s. Therefore, sites of memory can help people to connect with ‘their’ and other people’s pasts. In the geopolitical European/EU construction project, establishment of the European Communities (1958–72) was a major landmark, followed by successive enlargements bringing the Union to 28 states by 2013 with Croatia adhering.51 This was achieved by treaty as opposed to force or war, and by promoting Europe’s shared histories, identities, values and commitment to democracy. Nevertheless, this took cognizance of the Westphalian model of the state that had developed in Europe in response to the geopolitics of the wars of religion (16th–18th century), and eventually became the norm in international law. From the standpoint of memory, this must be interpreted referring to the Reformation (1517–1648) when major scholars such as Martin Luther (1483–1546) and John Calvin (1509–64) sought spiritual change, greater individual analysis of the Bible, but above all reform of the monolithic religious, social and political or power metanarratives of the Roman Catholic Church. Political elites within the evolving nationstates such as England, Sweden and the Netherlands created their national churches with the monarch becoming head of state and church, reinforcing the blending of the god and ethno-national narratives. Historically, the god narrative often became intermingled and synergized with the kingship and monarchy meta-narratives—as with the divine right of kings, embedded in the European tradition until it was significantly challenged during the Age of Enlightenment and Republican Revolution (18th–19th century). Nation-state nationalism and the Industrial Revolution (late 18th to early 20th century) helped fuel European imperial colonial projects, that exported the nation state model of power to the colonies. In response to the negative effects of industrialization and control of capital, socialism and communism took up the cause of the working class (proletariat) and colonized peoples, led by Karl Marx (1818–83), Friedrich Engels (1820–95), Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) and Rosa Luxemburg History books about World War I. bout_World_War_I. British Library. World War One. British Library. Historiography of World War One. historiography-of-world-war-one. YouTube: The Great War channel follows the events of WWI week by week. In real-time it shows the events of the war as they unfold, introduces the most important historical figures and answer your questions. The Great War (TV series). 51 Europa. History of the EU.


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(1871–1919)52 among others. Related to this are the major memory sites of Marx’s foundational text Das Kapital, housed at the British Library London, and also Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto. Visitors seek out the tomb and memorial of Karl Marx that stands in London’s Highgate Cemetery. Communism challenged abuse of the god narrative by political and religiousinstitutional elites but also the propensity of the ‘masses’ to accept it, with Marx stating that ‘Religion is the opium of the people’ (1843). It also challenged the selfjustificatory power narratives of monarchy and associated aristocracy, as well as ‘ownership’ of the wealth produced by ‘the workers’ being under the control of the ‘bourgeoisie’ and industrialists. The communist narrative interpreted WWI as a clash of imperial powers struggling for territorial and economic dominance in Europe and worldwide, and was quick to indicate that many of the monarchs in the protagonist countries were directly related by family ties including the Kaiser, Tsar and King of England, all being grandsons of Queen Victoria. Other contributing factors to WWI included the arms race, nationalism, system of mutual military defence alliances and weakness of international law. Official commemoration of WWI in Russia and its sphere of influence was largely muted or non-existent until recent decades, despite the major involvement of Russia in the war, being seen officially as part of the imperial capitalist era, and overtaken by the events of the Russian and Bolshevik Revolution (1917) in the greater Russian-Soviet narrative. In light of the above observations, it is challenging to name an ethnic group or nation or state that does not have foundational and meta-narratives. Such includes folklore, mythology, legends and oral traditions including that of battles, and more tangible aspects embedded in sites in landscape such as castles or monuments— any solid or material structure. This is often supported with documents including text or written material, census, maps, property deeds, diaries, photos, paintings and digital footprints and sources. Language and place names—typonyms also give insights into the past and current landscape and peoples as with the Latin word ‘aix’ meaning water found throughout France. For instance, the historically symbolic and once disputed border spa town of Aachen in Germany, formerly known as Aixla-Chappelle. The word Verdun, is probably of Gallo/Celtic origin, deriving from ‘ver’ meaning alder tree and ‘dun’ referring to a hill and usually hill fortress in Gallo/Celtic. And of course British forces during WWI calling Ypres in Belgium, Wipers; and Ploegsteert becoming Plugstreet and so forth. Also technology can be used in investigating landscape, for instance, carbon dating—determining the age or date of organic matter from the relative proportions of the carbon isotopes. At another level DNA—genetic testing has become part of the methodology used in studying

52 See: Guardian. Left-wingers commemorate 100th anniversary of murder of the communist writer,

pacifist and radical inspiration. 15 January 2019. germans-take-to-the-streets-to-celebrate-rosa-luxemburg-karl-liebknecht-berlin. Welt. Kultur Rosa Luxemburg. Die Freiheit, anders zu denken, bezahlte sie tödlich. Von Marc Reichwein. 13/01/2019.

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populations in areas and historical movements and events in various landscapes or parts of the world. Such is widely used at WWI sites.53

Conclusions Place-based narratives and spectres from the past exist in the present as with the destroyed villages and sea wreckages of WWI.54 The Flanders landscape abounds with places of memory—battlefields, memorials and cemeteries including the iconic city of Ypres/Ieper.55 Symbolically, narratives of Rheims Cathedral being devastated in 1914, suggest that the new industrial civilization that had developed and mechanized war no longer feared violating the sacred and taboo with echoes of Friedrich Nietzsche figurative ‘God is dead’ and arrival of the 20th century ‘Superman’ with modernity.56 53 See YouTube: Telegraph. 2014 Archaeologists dig up WW1 shells in Belgium. See YouTube: Archaeologists uncover First World War soldiers 100 years later. https://www. See YouTube: WW1 Archaeologists At The Site Of The First German Gas Attack I The Great War Special. University of Durham. Bringing no man’s land to life online (18 June 2019). https://www.dur. And especially The Villages That Died For France— Portraits of No Man’s Land BBC News. Two young British privates killed in World War One have been buried more than 100 years later. Gonzalo Linares Matás. January 2014 Archaeology and Anthropology of the First World War. the_First_World_War. Irish Times. 2 May 2015 No smoking guns: the 100-year controversy about what the ‘Lusitania’ was carrying. 54 Chemins de mémoire. Destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont. https://www.cheminsde YouTube: The Destroyed Villages of France—Fleury I The Great War Special. YouTube: Fleury-devant-Douaumont, “a village that died for France.” com/watch?v=mxOEUeLUy2U. 55 1914–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of WWI. Ypres by Spencer Jones. https://encycl 13 February 2015. The solider behind ‘In Flanders Fields’. Flanders Field: Remembering Their Sacrifice. vGTRo. World War 1: In Flanders Fields footage (Ypres, Ieper–Belgium). watch?v=TAxVxSjGswU. 56 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Friedrich Nietzsche: German philosopher. Written by: Bernd Magnus. Nov 1, 2019.


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Geographical literacy interpreting places in the present, must be cognizant of changes due to long and short time scales. This includes heritage—the cumulus of human inheritances both material and non-material along with transmission of memory encompassing scientific or provable facts and also non-provable ideas that are embedded in the mind and landscape. This impacts on identity and generational transmission. Humans have sought to comprehend the nexus between time, space, human life-spans and memory including scientific and artistic approaches. UNESCO promotes preservation of world heritage and sites in a sustainable way. However, other sites—of darkness, or shame, or conscience are included within the UNESCO remit as a reminder of human excesses that should be avoided in the future. Geographers, historians, archaeologists, historiographers, educators and researchers have a responsibility to support this work for a sustainable democratic future contributing to the meta-narratives. Anniversaries reference events, dates and time offering occasions for reflection as with the WWI centennials. Geography promotes awareness of the interplay of natural physical features and those created by humans; their inter-relationships taking into account habitat (habitus), psychogeography, as well as topophilia and topophobia, and xenophilia and xenophobia. This should be remembered while reading landscapes—with the attributes of place and time cycles. The cultural landscape is defined by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as: being the cultural properties that represent the combined works of nature and of humans; or a landscape designed and created intentionally by humans; or an organically evolved landscape which may be a relict or fossil landscape; or a continuing landscape. Within this, a site of memory is any significant entity, whether material or nonmaterial, which by action of human will or the work of time has become a representational or symbolic element of the memory or memorial heritage of any community. Essentially Pierre Nora concludes that the past changes because of the way in which each new generation regards, understands and constructs it, creating the memories it needs to form its own identity in the present.57 Here concepts of citizenship, identity and belonging are vital. As sites of memory can be shared or disputed, and the use of such sites holds much potential for formal and informal teaching and learning. They provide the possibility to use the example of individual places to discover not only their turbulent past but especially their often controversial contemporary meanings. The value added by sites of memory in formal and informal education is enormous due to their contemporary relevance as history like landscape is not a finished process. Complexity is due to the heterogeneity of societies with their constructs and interpretation character, including methods of interpretation, narratives and associated metanarratives.58

57 Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt. 2018 Shared history: sites of memory. Goethe Institute. 58 Renate Riedner and Michael Dobstadt. 2018 Shared History: Sites of Memory. Goethe Institute.

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References Arendt H (1963) Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the banality of evil. Penguin Publishing Group. Full text available. nninjerusalem.pdf François E, Schulze H (ed) (2005) Deutsche Erinnerungsorte. Eine Auswahl. Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn Harris S (5 June 2014) The Massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane: An American lawyer finds new evidence about one of World War II’s most notorious war crimes, seven decades after D-Day. Foreign Policy O’Reilly G (2019) Aligning geopolitics, humanitarian action and geography in times of conflict. Springer International Publications. pp 39–50

Memories and Experiences Gerry O’Reilly

Abstract The challenge to comprehend time, place and memory has been taken up by scientists and artists alike throughout history including Eratosthenes (born 276 BC) the first geographer, Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein and Stephen Hawkins; Freud and Bruno Bettelheim; Homer, James Joyce and Marcel Proust to name but a few. Destruction of Rheims Cathedral during WWI lies in contrast to the accidental burning of Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral in 2019. Memory, consciousness and direct experience are intertwined, and hence the importance of phenomenology, the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. This is pertinent as to how each generation experiences sites of memory and commemorations. Keywords Memory · Experience · Phenomenology · Place · Landscape · Heritage · Show

Introduction: The Quest to Comprehend Time, Space and Memory Throughout human history, people have tried to analyse time and space, and the nature of being, as with the ancient philosophers in such areas as ontology and metaphysics. Religious monotheist interpretations in Judaism, Christianity and Islam offer the same genesis creation of the earth narrative in their respective holy books through the long prophetic tradition ranging from Abraham to Mohammed, and also the end of time and world narratives in the Apocalypse. Intellectuals such as Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton (17th-18 centuries) grappled with philosophical and physical aspects of the question, and Albert Einstein’s (1879–1955) theory of relativity (1916) is one of the landmark achievements of the 20th-century, explaining that what we perceive as the force of gravity in fact arises from the curvature of G. O’Reilly (B) School of History & Geography, Dublin City University, St Patrick’s Campus, Upper Drumcondra Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, Dublin, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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space and time, while he postulated that objects such as the sun and earth change this geometry.1

Reflections on Time • Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana). • Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future (Elie Wiesel). • National memory … is constituted by different, often opposing, memories that, in spite of their rivalries, construct common denominators that overcome on the symbolic level real social and political differences to create an imagined community (Alon Confino). • Memory is deceptive because it is coloured by today’s events (Albert Einstein). • Human memory is a marvellous but fallacious instrument. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features (Primo Levi). • Memory is man’s greatest friend and worst enemy (Gilbert Parker). • Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory (Albert Schweitzer). • Memory is not wisdom; idiots can by rote repeat volumes. Yet what is wisdom without memory? (Martin Farquhar Tupper). • Memory is the fourth dimension to any landscape (Janet Fitch). • Everybody knows how fallible memory can sometimes be. You remember certain fragments precisely, but as soon as you try to join the fragments together, for a story, there is a certain—not falsification, but a shifting (Gunter Grass). • I’m interested in memory because it’s a filter through which we see our lives, and because it’s foggy and obscure, the opportunities for self-deception are there. In the end, as a writer, I’m more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened (Kazuo Ishiguro). • Literature becomes the living memory of a nation (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn). • Of what use is the memory of facts, if not to serve as an example of good or of evil? (Alfred de Vigny). • Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response (Arthur M Schlesinger).

From a historical time-perspective, acceptance of Einstein’s scientific research was less problematic than that of Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher and mathematician who supported Copernicus’ (1473 –1543) work and development of an astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the centre of the Solar System, contradicting the position of the Ancient Greeks and literalist perspectives on the Bible’s Book of Genesis—giving the earth as the centre of the universe. After trials by the Inquisition of the Roman 1 Space:

PHYSICS AND METAPHYSICS. Philosophy of space and time. Leibniz_and_Newton.

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Catholic Church, Galileo spent the remainder of his life under house arrest. Only in 1992, did the Vatican authorities, officially accept that Galileo was right. Besides scientific arguments that he was articulating at the time, monarchs and associated socio-economic hierarchies often felt that the ‘establishment and their god narrative’ was being challenged, as their control and power had been legitimated with this narrative that they were appointed by god and had the divine right of kings, similar to the Princes of the Church. While the papacy and church did not officially claim rights of heredity for themselves passing ‘divine’ power from father to son, the feudal structures, actions and myths bolstered the power of the Princes of the Church.2 The works of Copernicus and Galileo fed into that of Stephen Hawkins (1942– 2018) centuries later. Famous for his research in theoretical physics and cosmology, Hawkins achievements including writing A Brief History of Time (published in 1988, film version 1991) includes analyses of the Big Bang Theory and Black Holes, and received many international honours. He was a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Hawkins scientific mind challenged any one-dimensional form of binary logic. Other approaches to time and space, and understanding the nature of being and identity as embedded in memory, were researched by people including Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). His seminal work on psychoanalytic theory encompassed personality organization and dynamics of development. As the founding father of psychoanalysis and related topics of memory; since him, many other researchers and schools have progressed our understanding in this area. Marcel Proust (1871–1922), author of the seven-volume novel—À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–27) (In Search of Lost Time), based his work on his own life told psychologically and allegorically, giving incredible insights into place and time– space geographies often linked to memory prompts associated with his grandmother’s home, such as the sight of bougainvillea but also orchid flowers elsewhere, or the taste and smell of madeleine sponge cakes eaten with his grandmother, and how this was immortalized in his memory forever by association. With the same quest to understand time, place, the human condition and memory, author James Joyce (1882– 1941) became an influential figure of the twentieth century in his works such as the Dubliners (1914) and Ulysses (1904). Joyce’s Ulysses chronicles the geographies and encounters of an ordinary character Leopold Bloom, in Dublin on a normal day, 16 June 1904, through the technique of stream of consciousness. In Ulysses, Bloom attends the funeral of a friend in Glasnevin Cemetery that provides the basic material for the ‘Hades’ episode. Significantly, one of the most substantial and controversial Irish constitutional politicians of the late nineteenth century, Charles Stewart Parnell was also interred there in 1891 and had an important influence on the world of James Joyce, with references made to him in all of Joyce’s works. Literary pilgrims of Joyce and tourists alike can follow Ulysses footsteps by place, house, path, building, pub,


COWELL. After 350 Years, Vatican Says Galileo Was Right: It Moves. New York Times. October 31, 1992. Galileo affair


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or landmark on the respective streets and areas of Dublin using their GPS, guide or virtually from anywhere.3 James Joyce (1882–1941) attempted to integrate the concepts of place and time in memory coining the word ‘fadographs’, a neologism combining the Irish Gaelic word ‘fado’ (meaning long ago, as in the opening phrase traditionally used in storytelling: Long, long ago, with graph (meaning visual) usually signifying a diagram showing the relation between variable quantities, typically two, each measured along one of a pair of axes as in time and space. Implicit in the pun—fadographs, being photograph and image—with the English verb ‘to fade’ or become less distinct, so images like memories come gradually into, or out of focus or view, or can merge into another memory shot.4 During a person’s lifetime and life-path, the individual subconsciously and consciously ‘puts some of the bits of the puzzle together’ of their own place— time story. This process in the construction of self and identity is influenced by the individual’s experiences, and by parents, community, and friends at root level, but later by socially created narratives and institutions, both formal and informal, ranging from education to religion or other iterations of ‘conviction ideologies’, to the ‘wee world’ of ‘us’ and ‘our place’ in contrast to the others. As well as personal narratives, the individual is exposed to other peoples’ narratives at wider time and geographical scales.

Memory, Phenomenology and Notre Dame De Paris On Monday 15 April 2019, starting at 18.50 CEST and lasting just over 12 h, individuals in Paris witnessed their twelfth century Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral (area: 4,800 metres2 and length of 128 m) on the Île de la Cité (area: of 12,011 km2 ) burning. Like tinder wood, the 1,000-year-old roof oak timbers, equalling 1,300 oak trees burned. Simultaneously millions of people throughout France and worldwide were looking on virtually at this landmark UNESCO world heritage monument in flames. Shock, disbelief and strong emotions were felt by many, often expressively bonding individuals with shared or collective memories with this monumental place; whether concerning religion, spirituality, empathy, past personal, social or collective experiences, or conscious or subconscious histories or significant events. With Notre 3 Chan,

M. Modernism Lab at Yale University. “James Joyce’s Method—Regarding the ‘Stream of Consciousness’". 80%94Regarding_the_%27Stream_of_Consciousness%27%22 James Joyce, Ulysses and Bloomsday: what you NEED to know. 4 Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2017. Derek Attridge Finnegan’s Wake: NOVEL BY JOYCE. James Joyce. Fadograph’s Weblog.

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Dame being the most visited symbolic site in Paris according to tourist numbers—13 million visits annually, way more than double that of the Eiffel Tower (2018).5 French President Macron cancelled a key television socio-economic policy speech and headed in person to the scene of the blaze. He told news cameras: “It is our history, our literature, our imagination, the place where we have lived our great moments … it is the epicentre of our life.” In a tweet, Macron the leader of the secular French state expressed: “emotion of a whole nation… on seeing Notre-Dame ablaze…. and like all my compatriots I am sad to see a part of us burn this evening” he said, expressing solidarity with “all Catholics and all French people.”6 Variations and iterations of such words were expressed in social media and the twitter-sphere especially, by ordinary people worldwide, and by politicians as with German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling Notre Dame a “symbol of European culture” as the blaze raged. An estimated 500 firefighters battled to contain the fire and save its treasured artefacts. Many observers like me could channel hop between French and international media stations seeing and hearing unfolding stories as with the moment when the iconic reconstructed 19th spire (90 m) eventually crashed down to the ground. However, atop the spire, the Gallic cock or rooster, an unofficial national symbol of France as a nation, as opposed to the official Marianne female image, representing France as a State, and its values vested in the Republic, was found intact among the debris the following day. In whatever language, journalists spoke of the priceless relics including those of the Passion of Christ—Crown of Thorns, that French King Louis IX brought to Paris in 1238 and is contained in an elaborate gold case. Likewise, there was much speculation regarding the relic Tunic of the crusader king, Saint Louis as well as relics of Saints Denis and Geneviève, and dozens of paintings and other religious objet d’art. News of the state of the stained glass Rose Windows was constantly updated throughout the Breaking News, like that of the Great Organ also, and the associated choir were brought to life aurally and visually as the monument blazed. Stories of the Notre-Dame Bells and their two stone towers (69 m) were focussed on, with speculations on how would they survive. On Anglophone channels, references were made to the fictional characters Quasimodo and Esmerelda, brought to movie-world audiences with the plethora of productions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in film, cartoon, theatre, musicals, comics and video games as far back as 1905 and immortalized in the 1939 Hollywood film version, but continuing right up to the present; all based on the 1831 novel, Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, who had once described the cathedral as a vast symphony in stone. Historical novelist Ken Follett, author of The Pillars of the Earth (1989) was much in demand on the British news channels. French journalists referenced the artistic epiphany experiences of poets Paul Claudel (1865–1955) and Charles Péguy (1873–1914) at Notre Dame.


Notre-Dame is still Paris’s most-visited monument. 15/06/2018. https://www.msn. com/en-sg/travel/news/notre-dame-is-still-pariss-most-visited-monument/ar-AAyFPH5 6 AFP. Fire ravages Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, spire collapses. 15/fire-ravages-notre-dame-cathedral-paris-spire-collapses-doc-1fo2eb1


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During the fire and immediate aftermath, journalists, experts, researchers, citizen journalist and curious people in general made use of google for information regarding Notre Dame—such as the four churches that succeeded the Gallo-Roman temple of Jupiter there, before the laying of its construction foundation stone in 1163. Other stream of consciousness narratives triggered by the ‘place’ included the trial of Joan of Arc (1431), crowning of Mary Stuart (also known as Mary Queen of Scots) as Queen of France (1559), and disputed activities of the radicals there during the French Revolution (1789–99) and eventual coronation of Napoleon (1804). It is noteworthy, that the revolutionaries did only minor damage, not destroying Notre Dame, unlike the fate of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour a few hundred meters from the historic Kremlin, demolished by the Bolsheviks in 1931, and rebuilt 1995–2000. Unlike the destruction of Notre Dame de Reims and Louvain during the advance of the Imperial German forces in 1914, there was little reference to WWI, when German forces had come within 30 kms of Notre Dame de Paris in September 1914, sending shock waves throughout government and public alike as had also happened before during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). Significantly, Hitler’s Third Reich Lightening War (blitzkrieg) policy did not include the bombing of Paris and Notre Dame unlike other cities such as Warsaw, Lvov, London, Coventry, Belfast, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Leningrad (Saint Petersburg). Nazi troops marched into Paris in 1940, and with the liberation in 1944, General Charles de Gaulle attended mass at Notre Dame, but eluded an assassin’s bullet. As in many countries, ground zero represents the point of distance measured to all other parts of the country. In France, the kilometre zero is from the official centre of Paris (48.8534°N 2.3488°E) and is marked by a bronze disk embedded in the cobblestones of Notre Dame Square right in front of the cathedral’s main entrance. Nearby is located the bronze statue of Charlemagne (742–814 AD), King of the Franks (768–814) and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (800–814 AD) interred at Aix-La-Chapelle, now Aachen in Germany. His statue in Paris was erected in 1878 and was preserved during the WWII German occupation because of the importance of Charlemagne in German history also. A couple of hundred metres from Notre Dame Square is the Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation, honouring over 200,000 people deported from France to NAZI concentration camps in Germany between 1942–44. Hence the importance of Notre Dame de Paris and its archaeology of spaces of memory. This quasi-pseudonym linkage between Notre Dame, Paris and the French historical experience was echoed again by Notre Dame’s bells tolling for the victims of the 2015 and 2016, jihadi terrorist attacks on Paris. During the 2019 fire, official statements emphasized that a formal investigation would establish the cause of the fire at Notre Dame within days, but that it was most likely due to renovation works being carried out there and possibly related to electrical issues. The vast majority of responsible media outlets and journalist made similar ‘on the spot’ commentaries, avoiding igniting any dormant fears of terrorism and inflammatory double-speak that could cause a negative geopolitics of emotions among the public. Before the flames were completely extinguished, private millionaires and companies in France started pledging money for the reconstruction of the cathedral,

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including such companies as L’Oréal who though that Notre Dame was worth it. This was followed by the public with hotlines established to collect financial contributions. Local government authorities for the City of Paris and the Region, also pledged funds, as well as the Ministry of Heritage and Culture. In less than a week, the private sector contribution had reached almost a billion Euro. The international community including UNESCO, and the Vatican state promised valuable technical support. With this strong show of goodwill and solidarity, President Macron promised that Notre Dame would be reconstructed within five years (2024). However, within five days of the inferno, on Saturday 20 April, the Yellow Vests movement that had begun with populist, grassroots, political heteroclite groupings calling for greater socio-economic justice, with its weekly Saturday protests through France in November 2018, were back on the streets protesting, condemning the spending of such an amount of money on the reconstruction of Notre Dame. Despite the millions of Euro lost in damage to private and public property, and disruption to trading since November 2018 due to small groups of protesters hijacking the initial peaceful actions of the Yellow Vests, their remonstration narratives had become more visceral than ever against the ‘rich’ and ‘them’—the democratically elected ‘governing elites’ in France. Undoubtedly, in the coming months and years, there will be many emotional, aesthetic and political arguments surrounding reconstruction of Notre Dame. Nevertheless, the Yellow Vests Movement activities could be viewed as a symptom of the larger malaise in Europe and populist movements. By coincidence and with a lot less media coverage, firefighters put out a blaze at the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque, atop Temple Mount located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the same time as the Notre Dame fire. The mosque fire was much smaller than the Notre Dame blaze and was quickly brought under control. The Palestine News Agency, official outlet of the Palestinian National Authority, reported “the fire broke out in the guard’s room outside the roof of the Marwani Prayer Room, and the fire brigade of the Islamic Waqf handled the matter successfully.” Temple Mount for thousands of years has been seen as a place of memory and identity, and venerated as a holy site in Judaism, Christianity and Islam alike, and controlled by Israel since 1967. It is one of the most disputed religious sites in the world.7

Memory, Consciousness and Direct Experience—Phenomenology On Monday 15 April 2019, when news of the fire in Notre Dame de Paris broke on my radio at home in Dublin, I immediately put on television and followed the unfolding events. Within 30 min my mother-in-law telephoned from her family home in central Paris describing the sky-scape and sirens, and telling me that she was following events there on television also. My three children who had flashes via their iPhones had been 7 Firefighters

put out blaze at revered Al-Aqsa Mosque at same time as Notre Dame fire.


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in contact with their grandparents and cousins. I had flashbacks of the Notre Dame area that I had first visited in 1972 as a teenager, and many visits there over the decades, including one only three weeks previously, but also the place images and experiences of the years that I had lived in Paris. Somewhere in my subconscious I knew that history was unfolding and I knew that feeling alongside the Joycean epiphany moment. I was aware of other places and people where I was when other highly significant emergency events had occurred, including the shock that I had felt as a child to see my parents panicked and shouting ‘Kennedy is dead’, ‘Kennedy has been shot in Dallas’, and neighbours running between houses, on 22 November 1963, while I was playing in my childhood home in Navan, Ireland. And likewise also there, as a teenager, the shocked silences and sadness in my home as news of the Bloody Sunday atrocities in Derry/Londonderry broke on radio and television on January 30, 1972 when fourteen protestors were shot dead after British paratroopers opened fire. Their ghosts continue to re-appear as in U2 s music Bloody Sunday, iconography and murals in Derry, and in the British courts with ‘survivors’ and relatives of the victims seeking truth as recently as March 2019. Similarly, on October 6, 1981, while in my apartment in Tunis where I worked for several years, and hearing news of the assassination of Egypt’s President Sadat who had signed the historic Camp David Accords with Israel in 1978, and the resultant anxiety among my neighbours and friends of what this could augur for them and the region. But more recently, on 11 September 2001, just after lunch (Irish time) while driving on a small country road near Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland, stopping the car to listen to the breaking news interrupting the ordinary chat programs. As the journalists spoke, in my subconscious I had flashbacks of having visited New York and the Twin Towers for the first time in 1987, and also family, friends and acquaintances in the USA. As the focus constantly shifted to different places including Washington DC, I could visualize the iconic monuments and buildings that happy hot summer over a decade earlier, that I had been researching at the US Library of Congress. As well as the factual and scientifically provable details of the above events such as the 9/11 attacks or the Notre Dame fire, the phenomenological aspects have impacted on millions of people. Relationships between Geography and phenomenology— an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience—must not be underestimated, and especially regarding places of memory.8 All the above events have been, and will continue to be transmitted via 8 See:

Anne ButtimeR. Grasping the dynamism of lifeworld. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. First published: June 1976. Wiley Online Library. Volume 66, Issue 2. June 1976. Pages 277–292. https://onlinelibrary.wiley. com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-8306.1976.tb01090.x Note: I worked with Anne Buttimer between 1994–97 in UCD Dublin, as a postdoctoral researcher and project manager on an EU-funded international investigation into sustainable development. See: Anne Buttimer (ed.). Landscape and Life – Appropriate Scales for Sustainable Development. Cork: Cork University Press, 2001. I would like to thank Anne for her friendship over the years, and the invaluable insights that she and the Lund University School of Geography, including Torsten Hägerstrand gave me over the years.

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various media and research and art forms to the generations that had not been born when these historical markers had taken place, including my own three children who only have vague memories of seeing the Twin Towers burning on TV in 2001, but who have visited NY Ground Zero several times as a site of memory since starting to travel to the US in 2007, and witnessed the changing urbanscape and construction of the official Ground Zero memorial over the years.

Contemporary Events, Making History and Princess Narratives Meghan, Duchess of Sussex Media in the UK and internationally gave much coverage to the wedding of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle held on 19 May 2018 in St George’s Chapel at the highly symbolic Windsor Castle in the south of England. Prince Harry, is a member of the British royal family, son of the deceased Lady Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles heir apparent to the British throne as eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. Between 2005–15, Prince Harry was in the British Armed Forces and served on several missions in Afghanistan. As with other members of the royal family, Harry played a prominent part in many of the WWI centennial commemorations. Meghan, who became Duchess of Sussex, is American and previously worked as an actress. The ceremonies and rituals associated with the wedding blended such past royal occasions with some newer social-cultural changes taking place in the greater British identity. Meghan was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and has a mixed ethnic heritage, of European-American on her father’s side and African– American on her mothers’. She began her career playing small roles in television series and films. From 2011 to 2017, she played a character in the highly popular American legal drama Suits. Social media report that she is an outspoken feminist, supports international charity organizations and received recognition for her fashion and style work, releasing a line of clothing in 2016. In 2013, she was divorced from her actor and producer partner, and in 2017 announced her engagement to the Prince before moving to London.9 It could be argued that members of the younger generation tend to ‘connect’ with the Princess Meghan and Prince Harry narrative, for a myriad of reasons, while for an older generation his marriage brought memories of places 9 See:

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry marry as millions watch. Couple exchange vows in Windsor Castle chapel before celebrity-studded congregation. By Caroline Davies 19 May 2018. Who are Meghan Markle’s parents? All the details: Meghan’s parents are Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle. By Ainhoa Barcelona. Hello Magazine. 2019072075521/meghan-markle-parents-mother-father-details-update/ Wikipedia. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.,_Duchess_of_S ussex


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associated with his mother, Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. However, in 2019 the paparazzi started creating non-complementary ‘news’ about Meghan, leading to all types of speculation and the young couple stepping down from their royal duties in March 2020. It remains to be seen how this Princess story will be reinterpreted and removed from the official British royal narrative and places.

Lady Diana, Princess of Wales Much has been written about the media, official, public, individual, group and generational reactions throughout the UK and abroad, to the death of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales on August 31, 1997 in a car accident, and her funeral ceremonies imbued with religious and national pageantry, but also competing voices regarding her relationship with Prince Charles her husband and the royal family. The public had flashbacks of Diana Spenser’s wedding on 29 July 1981 to the Prince with all its pomp and ceremony at London’s iconic gothic Westminster Abbey—site of memory for over a 1,000 years for royal coronations, weddings and funerals of monarchs, national figures and Tomb of the Unknown Warrior inaugurated on 11 November 1920. Whatever perspectives people hold on Diana’s life, monuments were erected following her death including a fountain in Hyde Park officially opened by Elizabeth II in 2004, and the Princess of Wales Memorial Walk (11 km) following a trail in central London dedicated to Diana. It passes five sites associated with her life: Kensington Palace, Spencer House, Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Palace, and Clarence House, and is marked with ninety individual plaques, each of which has a heraldic rose etched in the centre. It costed 1.5 million euro and was officially opened by the PM in 2000, no members of the Royal Family were present. Mass media reporting of such events fitted into the very short cycles of history, while the long cycles of English-British history regarding constitution, monarchy, institutions and continuity facilitated the tragic death and burial. The scene of the accident was near the Pont de l’Alma, in Paris beside where the Flame of Liberty monument stands. This monument was offered to the people of France in 1989 by American donors as a symbol of Franco-American friendship referencing the flame of the Lady Liberty Statue, Ellis Island, New York that had been offered by France to the USA in 1885. The Flame of Liberty statue in Paris became an unofficial memorial for Princess Diana (Lady Di) after her death in the tunnel beneath the Paris Pont de l’Alma. The flame became somewhat of an attraction for tourists, pilgrims and fans, who fly-posted the base with commemorative material. Many people who visit it believe that this was built for Diana. While little or no controversy surrounds this monument, those to Diana in London’s historic and famous Harrods’s department store have been controversial as they depict Diana and her friend Dodi Fayed who was also killed in the car accident. On 12 April 1998, Dodi’s father unveiled photos of the couple behind a pyramid-shaped display. The second, unveiled in 2005 and entitled Innocent Victims, is a 3-m-high bronze statue of the couple dancing on a beach, beneath the wings of an albatross. Partly due to changes in

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ownership of the store, in January 2018, it was announced that the statue would be removed and returned to the Al-Fayed family.10 With the passing of time since Diana’s death in 1997, generations born after that date have less connection to her life, and her empathy with the public and charity work promotion, and are less interested in it with the arrival of new princesses such as Meghan. Diana memorials such as the Hyde Park fountain have just become embedded and normalized alongside other royal palaces and memorials in London and elsewhere referencing people and events long, long ago. Yet they remain part of the heritage and tourist trail.

Wembley Stadium Heritages During Diana’s life, the princess had attended several major events and concerts including celebrities such as Queen, Michael Jackson and Elton John at London’s Wembley Stadium, and on 1 July 2007 to mark the tenth anniversary of her death, a major Concert was staged there with proceeds going to Diana’s charities. Some 63,000 people attended and the concert was broadcast in 140 different countries worldwide with an estimated projected audience of 500 million.11 At the end of the performances, a video montage of Di as a child was presented, accompanied by the Queen song: These Are the Days of Our Lives. The iconic Wembley Stadium holds multifaceted memories and associations for many generations of people. Since the early twentieth century, generations of football fans have had various emotions and often transmitted joyful memories associated with Wembley Stadium. London’s new Wembley Stadium opened in 2007, on the site of the original football grounds opened in 1923. Much of the original Wembley Park landscape was transformed in 1922–23 during preparations for the British Empire Exhibition (1924–25) and was first known as the British Empire Exhibition Stadium or popularly as the Empire Stadium. It accommodated the 1948 Summer Olympics, just over a decade after the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games had been officially opened by Hitler. In 1966, it was the leading venue of the FIFA World Cup including the final, where tournament hosts England won 4–2 against West Germany leading to ecstatic reactions from the British fans. Wembley caters for major games including the home matches of the England national football team, and FA Cup Final. With 90,000 seats, the stadium is the largest in the UK and second largest in Europe after Camp Nou, Barcelona (99,354 spectators) and ahead of Croke Park, Dublin (82,300) in third place, followed by Twickenham Stadium, London (82,000) and Stade de France, Paris, (81,338). It hosted UEFA Champions League Finals (2011 and 2013) and both semi-finals and final of UEFA Euro 2020. The stadium accommodated the Gold medal matches

10 Dodi 11 BBC

Fayed. Concert for Diana.


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at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It caters for the Rugby League’s Challenge Cup final, NFL London Games, boxing competitions and music concerts, all appealing to millions of people at home and abroad.12 The stadium became a musical venue also in 1972 and later hosted numerous concerts and events, notably the British leg of Live Aid (1985)—for the famine appeal in Ethiopia, which featured acts including David Bowie, Queen, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Phil Collins, The Who, Dire Straits and U2, on 13 July 1985, attended by 72,000 people and broadcast worldwide, with linkup to a similar concert in the USA in Philadelphia’s J.F.K Stadium and other concerts that were spontaneously organized.13 Other notable charity concerts there have included: Human Rights Now!, The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa, Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness and the NetAid Charity concert. Other commercial ventures include the multiple concerts given by a range of artists from Michael Jackson to Celine Dion, Tina Turner, David Cassidy, Madonna, Oasis, Guns N’ Roses, Queen, David Bowie, Genesis, Johnny Cash, INXS, Pink Floyd, Spice Girls, Bee Gees, Elton John (7 times), including the 1975, 1984, 1992 concerts with Eric Clapton and Billy Joel in 1998. Also Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Rolling Stones (12 times between 1982– 1999), U2, Eagles, Bon Jovi, Cliff Richard, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and many more.14 In short, Wembley Stadium is iconic and imbued with history and especially memories and emotions. Overall, personal experiences and those associations with historical ‘moments’ and events, and places can become part of the individual’s phenomenological world as with the Notre Dame de Paris fire in 2019 or other events referenced above regarding the assassination of J.F. Kennedy in Dallas 1963, or the 9/11 Jihadi attacks on NY.

Connecting Empathetically Empathetically ‘connecting’ with WWI whether in Flanders Fields or Gallipoli, Douaumont or Fleury a century after the major events there may draw on different levels of emotions that are often mediated by groups, state and regional stakeholders and institutions. Socialization processes attempt to counteract anomie—a situation in which society provides little or no moral or ‘community’ or ‘identity’ guidance to individuals that can evolve from conflict of belief systems, and causes breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community. Like religion, nationalism draws on the counterforces of anomie encouraging individuals to avoid religious or secular nihilism and so ‘connect’ with the group and find their place in it. However, 12 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Wembley Stadium. Stadium, London, UK. Written by: Robert Lewis. Wikipedia. Wembley Stadium. 13 Gerry O’Reilly (2019). 14 Wikipedia. Wembley Stadium. https://en.wikipedia.olightandsourg/wiki/Wembley_Stadium.

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any social construct has also to be mediated by the individual concerned, or else he/she runs the possible risk of falling into extremism whether passively or actively. Social power constructs, especially regarding the state and rituals, tend to reproduce themselves over time in different adaptations to their contemporary period, events and the public’s acceptance of such as illustrated above with the Prince and Princess narratives. These are associated not only with symbolic places such as Windsor Castle, Westminster Cathedral and London’s Cenotaph annual WWI commemorations, but also Wembley Stadium with its sports and pop concert emotional, phenomenological, celebrity and historical associations that can unleash streams of consciousness.

Anniversaries and Centenaries Anniversaries and centenaries reference dates and time and often occasions a period of reflection on such things as a past event or founding of an institution. Frequently, this impacts on the individual, either subliminally or else consciously there is a tendency to compare or even link the past and present conditions. Depending on the context and people concerned, this may give rise to emotions, celebration, or else commemoration, or sometimes indifference. Depending on the social assemblage ranging from family, to clan, nation or other ethnic or socio-cultural or identity group, celebration or commemoration can have a spontaneous origin, eventually becoming a new shared tradition, or be created, imagined or manufactured due to an ideological agenda as with the classic example of government stewardship, in the nation-state construction ideal, or the reinforcement or renewal of such an agenda including rituals.15 The framing of such ceremonial events along with discourses often says more about the contemporary society and generation than the actual past generation involved in the site of memory and the specific historical events. Groups with an issue-based protest agenda, or else a larger counter-state program may also use anniversaries or spaces of memory to develop narratives so as to promote their own ideological itinerary reaching a wider audience locally and stretching out to the public at larger geographical scales. On 11 November 2018 over 200,000 people joined a commemorative parade in Warsaw, with its iconic buildings, monuments, symbolic street-scape and places of memory, marking the end of WWI and 100 years of Poland’s restored independence for the first time since 1772. However, due to disputed territories and ethnic conflict, this led to war with Ukraine in 1918–19. In an uneasy and contested event holding multiple meanings, politicians and celebrating families were obliged to mix with smaller numbers of ultra-nationalists and ‘football hooligans’. The green banners of the fascist National Radical Camp 15 Benedict

Anderson, 1983, 1991, 2006 Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.


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fluttered near the head of the march, and ultra-nationalists from Italy, Hungary, Slovakia and other countries were also present. Some people fired off illegal flares, and there were frequent football chants according to the press. A smaller group of leftists and anti-fascists held a separate march—screened from the main event by large numbers of police.16 On July 3, 2014 in Berlin, the Bundestag commemorated the WWI centenary with a special parliamentary session, with one hundred delegates from neighbouring and partner countries in attendance. In the parliamentary addresses, people were reminded that Germany’s resounding defeat—a loss of empire, reparations obligations that ruined its economy, and the introduction of an unstable democracy—paved the way for the rise of a fascist dictatorship and WWII, alongside the worst genocide of the twentieth century. “We learned much later that military measures are fundamentally not suitable means [for political change].” 17 Also on that day, Chancellor Angela Merkel attended an EU WWI commemorative event in Belgium, and continued to carry out similar engagements throughout Europe between 2014–18, as did the German President and other members of government and diplomatic services. On 11 November 2018, at the Armistice Day commemorations, Chancellor Merkel held a prominent position as the ceremonies unfolded at the Arc de Triomphe above the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris, with over 60 heads of state and government attending. In Germany over 200 new history books were produced for the centenary, and newspapers devoted specials to WWI, alongside numerous documentaries on television and exhibitions held in museums and galleries countrywide. The anniversary events in Germany were often academic, analytical and self-reflective rather than showy or militaristic, or framed in victimhood or blood sacrifice as elsewhere in the past. While many Germans may not remember the details of the problematic history, larger geopolitical history narrative is embedded in the collective memories, as is a certain guilt. The Nazi regime (1933–45) was well noted for parades, rallies and iconography that took up commemoration issues, often using WWI for propaganda purposes. This was abandoned after 1945, and a pacifist culture was nurtured with a fear of excessive nationalism, that became a reason for the seminal role played by Germany in the creation and commitment to the European project. According to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: “Through the EU, we have found a way to resolve our differences of interest peacefully. Instead of the law of the strong, Europe is now governed by the strength of the law… It is up to us to ensure that it

16 Hundreds of thousands march to celebrate Polish independence: Independence day ceremonies underline the country’s deep political divisions. By Jan Cienski. 11/11/18. article/huge-march-celebrates-polish-independence/ 17 DW. Bundestag commemorates World War I in special parliamentary session. sion/a-17755072

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(WWI) does not simply remain an uncomfortable memory but also an incentive to make the future better.”18 In contrast to WWI commemorations, refurbishment or usage of places of memory in many countries, and especially the UK and France, in Germany it could be said that neither state, interest groups nor general public engaged widely in such activities. That is not to say that citizens are not aware of history. On 18 August 2018, around 500 neo-Nazis waving flags with colours of the German Reich marched through central Berlin, marking the anniversary of the prison suicide of Nazi convict, Rudolf Hess, Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler (1933–41).19 According to Sara McDowell (2009), “The human past is recalled and appropriated cognitively, socially, and spatially, forming a significant part of our identity. Negotiated and defined in the present, memory shapes how individuals, groups, or institutions perceive themselves, and how they assign meaning to landscapes around them. As a fluid, malleable, and an ever-changing entity, memory is continuously reinvented and re-enacted to produce narratives of the past which conform to the identity requirements of a particular social order at a specific time and place. A contested terrain, it is the focus of competing interests, and is particularly susceptible to the needs of those who hold the greatest power. Memories reify the connections between people and places, and as such have become the focus of geographic interest.” McDowell emphasizes commemoration, forgetting, heritage and identity as being embedded in concepts of memory and place.20

Destruction: People, Places and Memory Historically and anthropologically, different cultural norms and customary rules existed regarding conflict resolution, violence, war, and post-conflict justice, in specific geographical regions regarding combatants and civilians. Armed conflict 18 ABC. Believe me, Germans don’t ignore WWI. The Drum. By Jennifer Macey. 5 Aug 2014.,-germans-dont-ignore-wwi/5620600 See also: CNN. Why World War I is Germany’s forgotten conflict. By Atika Shubert, Melina Borcak and Sheena McKenzie, CNN. November 9, 2018 ope/world-war-one-centenary-germany-intl/index.html Reuters. As others mark World War One centenary, Germans prefer to forget. By Erik Kirschbaum. March 19, 2014. AFP. Germans explore WWI guilt 100 years on. 28 May 2014. 19 Hundreds of neo-Nazis March in Berlin on Anniversary of Hitler Aide’s Suicide: At least one police officer injured when counter-protesters clash with neo-Nazis on anniversary of high-ranking Nazi Rudolf Hess’ death. The Associated Press and Reuters. August 18, 2018. 20 Memory. McDowell (2009).


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and war causing destruction of people, societies, places and states has a long history, along with obliteration of other people’s material, symbolic, cultural and existential heritages including their spaces of memory. Such actions may be consciously planned initially or further ‘developed’ depending on the initial experiences and contexts of the perpetrators. However, there is also the casualties of war, and the much abused modern euphemism of collateral damage—referring to any death, injury, or other destruction inflicted on an unintended target. Infamous examples range from the Roman destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem (70 AD) to the European and American colonial wars (fifteenth century-twentieth centuries), WWI atrocities carried out on civilians and their heritages, and WWII ranging from the Nazi activities on the Eastern Front to the Nanjing Massacre—mass murder and mass rape committed by Imperial Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing, then capital of China (1937) and similar atrocities in Korea and the Philippines, to the more recent examples of Daesh activities in MENA countries since 2003 and especially in Iraq and Syria. Basically destruction of people, places and memory may be due to many factors, and broadly speaking fall into two major categories: material and non-material or existential, and combinations thereof: Material: Killing the enemy and claiming the spoils-of-war and conflict; booty of every sort ranging from crops and animals to slaves, money, gold and artefacts. At another level taking territory and labour with direct and, or indirect enslavement. Or the forced enrolment of adults and children into the ranks of the conquering forces. Or sexual exploitation alongside rape for gratification or else as a war strategy to subdue a conquered people creating further divisions within the society and their cultural norms often causing rejection of the female victims and their children. Non-material: Using a stratagem to justify and get vengeance for real or imagined crimes or problems that the people targeted are believed to be guilty of, or are imagined to be responsible for. Or as a tactic in undermining the target population’s defences and resolve to defend itself physically and psychologically. Or a planned strategy for the eradication of the ‘enemy’ and their culture—in the form of the genocide project, hoping to leave no physical trace of the targeted group. Cultural genocide or sometimes euphemistically called cultural cleansing as a legal concept was distinguished in 1944 as a component of genocide—referring to the intentional action to destroy a people. The UN Genocide Convention (1948), defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”, including the systematic harm or killing of its members, deliberately imposing living conditions that seek to “bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”, preventing births, or forcibly transferring children out of the group to another group. The term Cultural genocide was reconsidered in the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and juxtaposed next to the term “ethnocide”, but it was removed in the final document, and simply replaced with the term ‘genocide’. There is not a precise agreed legal definition of the term ‘cultural genocide’ and so it remains disputed.21 21 Hirad

Abtahi and Philippa Webb (2008), Lawrence Davidson (2012).

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Destruction of Heritage and Places of Memory The destruction of Strasbourg’s cathedral and library during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, prelude to WWI and WWII, and ensuing public outcry led to an international conference in 1874, that adopted the International Regulations on the Laws and Customs of War (Brussels Declaration). Although it never entered into force, it contains the core elements for the protection of cultural property during armed conflict in place today—‘all seizure or destruction of, or wilful damage to, institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences’, historic monuments, works of art and science should be made subject of legal proceedings by the competent authorities’ (Article 8).22 Over the centuries international law has been developed as a vast legal framework to protect cultural heritage ‘indirectly’. However, history shows that laws alone cannot stop those motivated by hate ideologies and those convinced of their impunity, who show contemptuous disregard for civilized behaviour and the rule of law. This includes, those intent on looting or even worse, eradicating ‘other’ people’s cultures including ‘memory’. Nonetheless, states are encouraged to ratify Conventions and implement protective instruments in their legislation, to help them aid their own judiciary in prosecution and to protect cultural heritage through international cooperation. Major sources for law, conventions and protection of cultural heritage include the UNESCO repositories and such sources as the Peace Palace Library for data on European and international conventions regarding cultural heritage.23 Here it must be noted that the following examples of destruction of cultural heritage from WWI, were chosen because they are well known and had much exposure at the time of events and subsequently, and in no way is the choice intended to understate or diminish the genuine suffering and loss of personal, local, regional and international heritage and sites damaged or destroyed in all territories affected by war, including those of WWI in the former lands of the Ottoman and Russian empires.

22 See: Ana Filipa Vrdoljak. 2016 The Criminalisation of the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage. From the Selected Works of Ana Filipa Vrdoljak, University of Technology, Sydney. P.Vrdoljak_text1.pdf See: BP-Bepress. Selected Works of Ana Filipa Vrdoljak. ipa_vrdoljak/ 23 See: Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. https:// Peace palace Library. Cultural Heritage. cial-topics/cultural-heritage/


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Leuven/Louvain University Library Commemorating the destruction of Leuven, a 100 years after the Kaiser’s troops embarked on sacking and burning Leuven/Louvain, the town marked the centenary with a concert including Mozart’s Requiem, and a newly composed oratorio by the Flemish composer, Piet Swaerts. In Belgium during WWI, the deliberate destruction of the city of Leuven and torching with petrol of its renowned library, occurred when German forces were advancing towards France. Some 248 residents were killed, and the entire population of 10,000 expelled, with hundreds being deported to Germany in railway cattle cars for slave labour. The fourteenth century University Hall and eighteenth century library wing of ancient manuscripts were devastated on the 25th August 1914. Significantly the university was associated with Erasmus, a founding father of European humanism in the sixteenth century. Some 300,000 books, 800 incunabula (books printed until 1500 in the first years after the invention of typographic printing) and 1,000 manuscripts were lost forever. This was seen as a direct attack on learning and culture causing outrage worldwide (Fig. 1). The University launched an appeal in 1915 to replace its academic treasures. University libraries worldwide responded with John Ryland’s library in Manchester leading the campaign. By the end of 1915, 6,000 volumes had been collected or promised and the first consignment of books was sent to Belgium in 1919. Ryland’s

Fig. 1 Damage to Louvain, Belgium, 1914. Source mons/5/52/Damage_To_Louvain%2C_Belgium%2C_1914_Q53271.jpg

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Library acted as a clearing house for donations that were made and by the time the appeal had closed in 1925, around 55,782 volumes had been collected. Unfortunately, the newly built library was destroyed again during WWII. The cause of this fire remains disputed with arguments that it was bombed by mistake by the Allies and counterarguments that it was deliberately destroyed by the Nazis, who saw it as an anti-German monument. After WWII, the Library was rebuilt again with much international and American aid. Today a permanent exhibition of the library’s history is on display, including the propaganda war surrounding events at Leuven, with cartoons and statements by intellectuals for and against the militarism that restarted directly after the fire in 1914. There is a display of burned books, a reminder of the events and fires that destroyed the library twice. Here comes to mind the prophetic words of Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) about burning books, that became a NAZI policy from the 1930s in public places in Germany, and elsewhere that they considered anti-German or socially, politically or artistically degenerate. The KU Leuven Library is much used by students and a very visited symbolic place of memory highly placed on official dignitary’s itineraries such as US presidents visiting Belgium.24 Use of terror as a strategy, articulated by the 19th-century Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz, supported the idea that civilians of an enemy country should not be exempted from war, but made to feel its effects breaking their spirit, and so force them to put pressure on their government to surrender. This strategy was attempted in WWI in Leuven and elsewhere, and further adapted with the NAZI strategy of Blitzkrieg throughout Europe including Leuven during WWII. However, regarding abuse of power and use of terror to control populations without regard to their rights, similar strategies can be with the burning of books within the state as exemplified at the Bebelplatz memorial space. The Book Burning Memorial at Bebelplatz, in Unter den Linden in Berlin, speaks volumes with a glass plate set in the paving stones, and below it an underground room with empty white bookshelves. What was burnt and lost were the books, 24 History. 1914—Germans burn Belgian town of Louvain. tory/germans-burn-belgian-town-of-louvain University of Manchester. Destruction of the University of Leuven Library. https://www.ww1. YouTube. The last survivor of the destruction of Louvain in WW1 | Channel 4 News. https:// YouTube. Troops in Louvain, Belgium—May 1940 (1940). v=tH4zintf6qg Rape of Belgium. Telegraph. The city that turned Germans into ‘Huns’ marks 100 years since it was set ablaze: Louvain, the Belgian city where First World War atrocities gave Britain a propaganda gift, will mark centenary with music. By Bruno Waterfield. 25 Aug 2014. Brussels Times. Friday, 14 December 2018. The story of how Leuven’s jewel was twice destroyed and rebuilt. By Mose Apelblat. 52517/march-against-marrakesh-will-go-ahead-despite-ban/ Wikipedia. World War I film propaganda. paganda


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including those of authors whom the Nazis ostracised and persecuted, who had to flee the country and whose stories were no longer allowed to be told. Symbolically, the underground bookshelves have space for around 20,000 books, as a reminder of the 20,000 books that went up in flames there on 10 May 1933 in the middle of the square where Nazi students burnt the works of hundreds of independent authors, journalists, philosophers and academics. The Israeli artist Micha Ullman designed the Library Memorial, which was unveiled on 20 March 1995. On a bronze plaque in the ground is inscribed the prophetic words of Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), a German-Jewish poet, journalist, essayist, and literary critic, best known outside of Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert who wrote: “where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well.”25

Rheims Cathedral—Notre-Dame The symbolic city of Reims (Rheims) in north-east France can be viewed as heritage space of the Grand Est region, French, European and world memory, and particularly the thirteenth century Gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame and associated abbey that were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Reims’ Gallic—Roman origins form part of its foundation narrative, as does Clovis, King of the Franks who was baptized there in 496 AD making Reims the centre of French Christendom. Clovis had already united the surrounding territories into what would become France—transforming a large part of Europe’s political and religious landscape. Hence Rheims symbolizes the interweaving of the god and ethno-national Christian, Catholic, Gallic and Frankish French narratives. Some 700 years after Clovis’ baptism, a great cathedral was built in the same religious space. When Louis IX was crowned in 1226, he declared that all future monarchs would be coroneted at Notre Dame de Reims. This decree was largely followed for nearly 500 years with the coronations of 25 kings, including a famous episode in 1429 when Charles VII was enthroned in the presence of Joan of Arc— national heroine and saint—born some 200 km away in Domrémy-la-Pucelle—now a national heritage site.26 The eighteenth century Enlightenment attempt to deconstruct the socio-religious and political-economy narratives of the divine right of kings that legitimated power and tax structures including the Church tithe tax and vast ownership of land and property, and fuelled the French Revolution (1789) and overthrown of the monarchy. However, the fate of Notre-Dame de Reims was different to that of other church 25 Visit

Berlin. Book burning memorial at Bebelplatz. 26 See: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Saint Joan of Arc. Written by: Yvonne Lanhers and Malcolm G.A. Vale.

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property such as Cluny Abbey. Reims cathedral survived, the revolutionary citizens recognized its importance beyond the immediate political turmoil. Significantly, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) made no recognition of the special position of the Catholic Church. Cluny Abbey founded in tenth century, that played such a significant role in the social politics of Europe, was sacked and mostly destroyed, along with the burning of library manuscripts, by the revolutionaries in 1790, leaving only a small part of the Abbey surviving. Nonetheless, today it is classified officially as national heritage. Even more symbolically of course, the revolutionaries demolished the Bastille Fortress Prison, with this space of memory being redeveloped with an iconic Republican memorial (Figs. 2 and 3). During WWI, Reims was occupied briefly by German forces in September 1914, and the cathedral was intermittently bombed by them leading to its almost total destruction (estimated at 80–90%) by 1918. Around 300 German shells smashed into Notre Dame de Reims after the initial fire, while some 85% of buildings in the city were destroyed. When France passed a law supporting the reconstruction of damaged monuments in 1919, hostile debates erupted over what work should be done on Reims Cathedral, with those in favour of restoring it, and those wanting to leave the ruins as a symbolic message. Arguments were made not to “erase the traces of the war, or its memory will be extinguished too soon.” An argument was even made for building a concrete roof over the crumbling cathedral so that all could see the destruction the German army had wrought. Reconstruction began in 1919 as the Cathedral story became a global cause célèbre, with donations coming in from around the world including from the American oil baron John D. Rockefeller, who gave over $2.5 million (some 32 million Euro in today’s money) to be put towards reconstruction of several French monuments. Works continued until July 10, 1938, when the cathedral was reopened to the public. Reims was almost completely destroyed again during WWII, but while the Cathedral suffered some damage, it remained largely intact. The

Fig. 2 Reims Cathedral burning during WWI. Source mons/4/47/Reims_Cathedral_burning_during_World_War_I.jpg


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Fig. 3 The World Renowned Cathedral of Reims, France, Ruined by the Germans. Source ms,_France,_Ruined_by_the_Germans%22.jpg

act of Germany’s capitulation in WWII was signed at Reims in May 1945. As with all such works deciding on how to rebuild or restore medieval architecture requires a delicate balance between preserving the past and erasing it to make way for the future.27 Interestingly, on 8 July 1962, during German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s official state visit to France, President Charles de Gaulle and his guest observed a parade of French and German troops at a military camp before attending a mass for peace at Reims Cathedral. Significantly, in 1958 Adenauer had stayed in de Gaulle’s much beloved family home at Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, now an official space of memory—including the monumental symbolic Lorraine Cross, the de Gaulle Memorial and museum space with a permanent exhibition, just some 80 km from the Joan of Arc’s Domrémy-la-Pucelle heritage site home. These two outstanding European leaders were actively working for reconciliation and rapprochement between their countries—having witnessed two world wars. The choice of Reims for the 1962 official Franco-German ceremonies is highly symbolic remembering that the city was occupied during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), and was largely destroyed in WWI and WWII, but was also where the German army surrendered to the Allies on 7 May 1945.28 27 The Debate Over Rebuilding That Ensued When a Beloved French Cathedral Was Shelled During WWI nch-cathedral-was-shelled-during-wwi-180971999/ Thomas W. Gaehtgens. Bombing the Cathedral of Reims. In advance of a three-lecture series about World War I, a look back at a decisive moment that drove French and German intellectuals to the embrace of nationalism. 28 The Debate Over Rebuilding That Ensued When a Beloved French Cathedral Was Shelled During WWI: After the Notre-Dame de Reims sustained heavy damage, it took years

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Less May be More: Destroyed Village Narratives From the first days that the Imperial German forces invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg as part of the Schlieffen Plan, attempting to capture Paris quickly, they looted and destroyed much of the countryside and villages in their path, killing significant numbers of civilians. Hence the destruction of local places of memory which must not be overlooked when thinking about such iconic symbols as Reims Cathedral or the Leuven Library. Therefore, the significance of commemorating Les villages détruits—destroyed villages in northern France, mostly in the Meuse region and associated with the Battle of Verdun (1916). After 1918, it was decided that the land previously occupied by the destroyed villages would not be incorporated into other civil townships as a testament to villages that “died for France”, as they were officially declared, and so to preserve their memory. At least six are entirely unpopulated and are managed by a council of three members, appointed by the state’s administrative representative in the region. This includes the emblematic Fleurydevant-Douaumont, that was captured and recaptured by the Germans and French forces sixteen times; where an area around the municipality was contaminated by corpses, explosives and poisonous gas. Before 1914, Fleury was an agriculture village of 422 people. Today, it is a wooded area next to the Verdun Memorial. Arrows guide visitors to where the street and houses used to be (Fig. 4).29

for the country to decide how to repair the destruction. debate-over-rebuilding-ensued-when-beloved-french-cathedral-was-shelled-during-wwi-180971 999/Read more: Mass for peace: Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle at Reims Cathedral (8 July 1962). reims_cathedral_8_july_1962-en-93162a4b-7c22-4d61-a27a-8f053554c92e.html History Today. Joan of Arc born at Domrémy: The Maid of Orléans was born on January 6th 1412: she has been an incarnation of French national identity and pride for six centuries. By Richard Cavendish. Published in History Today Volume 62 Issue 1 January 2012. https://www.historytoday. com/archive/joan-arc-born-domr%C3%A9my 29 YouTube: Fleury-devant-Douaumont, “a village that died for France.” watch?reload=9&v=mxOEUeLUy2U YouTube: Fleury devant Douaumont—Village détruits. 4oaZPPII YouTube: Les villages morts pour la France « Fleury Devant Douaumont» com/watch?v=AcjdQw59AQE Chemins de mémoire. ant-douaumont Travel France online. yed-village-verdun-wwi/ Fleury-devant-Douaumont. List of French villages destroyed in World War I. villages_destroyed_in_World_War_I#In_Meuse


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Fig. 4 Fleury-devant-Douaumont. Source

Conclusions Due to memories and changing experiences, place-based narratives of the past exist and are (re)created for the present and future. Narratives, places and memory have their geography in the cultural and social landscapes. In the quest to comprehend, philosophers, theologians, scientists, artists and writers have all tried to capture the intricate time-place relationships of the universe and human sagas ranging from the works of Homer to the stream of consciousness novelists—Marcel Proust, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf to such scientists as Galileo, Copernicus, Einstein, Stephen Hawkins, and of course the prophets in the monotheistic religions. Besides the rational and structuralist understanding of place and memory, the individual personal experience of place is important as in the approach of phenomenology. People—religious or atheists alike—were reminded of heritages in 2019 as Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral burned. Regarding destruction of sites of memory in WWI such as Notre Dame de Rheims and the Leuven/Louvain University Library, these events are highly significant not only regarding sites and memory, but in illustrating how the invading forces attempted to wipe out the heritage of the ‘enemy’ and terrorize the population into submission, but essentially to construct their own cultural territorialisation. The history of these two sites, as with Strasburg Cathedral in 1870, helped awaken global consciousness as to the need for international law regarding destruction of people and cultural spaces; a prelude to a full genocide project as witnessed in Europe two decades later under the NAZIs and unfortunately again during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s and particularly in Bosnia. Concerning the creation of contemporary events, sometimes associated with the past and their contribution to the making of future histories, the concept of princess narratives was used in this chapter as with the British monarchy and Meghan, Duchess

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of Sussex and Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. Besides their royal image and roles, association with celebrity and pop culture—people, places, pageantry spectacles and shows—range from Windsor Castle to Westminster Abbey and Wembley Stadium where well-choreographed events including concerts become immortalized in live images now reaching all corners of the world and memory-scape. Anniversaries reference dates and time and often occasion a period of reflection on such things as a past event or founding of an institution. Frequently, this impacts on the individual, either subliminally or else consciously there is a tendency to compare the ‘then’ and the ‘now’—conditions. Commemoration rituals largely remain the same assuring continuity to many, but in the current political-cultural context is usually determined by the political elites, and can be reinforced with the god-narratives and combined, or associated or not, with monarchy-narrative and, or hero, or ethnic stories depending on the specific political regime. In a globalizing world, organization of centennials has become ever-more challenging with ceremonies at sites of memory such as battle areas and cemeteries, or artificially created memorial spaces attempting to remind the public of the past generations. Of course such places can become important by association with people, alive or dead ranging from ‘heroes’ to celebrities in an age of reality TV shows. Concepts of historical, collective or social memory, or the (geo)politics of emotions influence ways in which groups construct and identify with narratives about periods, events, people and places that are foundational to cultural, social and political identities.30 While it is often good for society to remember the past and honour those who positively contributed to the present, and those who suffered, some commentators argue that indeed it is a duty to do so, while victims and their descendants claim that it is their right to remember, and not be ignored, or cut out of the narrative and to be included in commemorations. Sometimes, commemorations can be subtly framed within the ‘Bread and circuses’ (or bread and games from the classical Latin adage) blueprint. This figure of speech refers to appraising the often superficial conciliation between rulers and the ruled. Essentially, the idea is to create public approval, not by excellence in public service or policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most base requirements of a populace, offering a hunger killer—food (bread) or/and entertainment (circuses)—chariot races and gladiatorial games and of course slaughtering dissidents, terrorists and hooligans like Christians who were perceived to be undermining the Roman Empire, before Christianity eventually became the official state religion in 323 AD. Rome’s iconic Colosseum attracts some 4 million visitors annually, while similar sites of all sizes throughout the empire attract millions of tourists. With a full stomach and minds concentrated on the games, this allowed emperors to rule as they saw fit. However, at another level it also denounced the egocentrism of common people and their neglect of wider socio-political concerns, ready

30 McGill

Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies.


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to follow the circus characters. In short, it infers a population’s erosion or ignorance of civic duty.31 The commodification of news, sports and so called reality TV shows, especially since the 1970s seeking ever greater numbers of clients has accelerated worldwide with globalization, as has the Fake News phenomenon especially since 2016. Due to the public demand for entertainment and spectacle, the challenge remains for dignity and ethics regarding commemorations as opposed to circus-style celebrations. At many WWI commemorations, reserved places ‘by invitation’ within cordonedoff areas, are choreographed catering for dignitaries and representatives of interest groups. While this usually ensures a certain dignity and that a significant number of people attend the ceremonies, this cohort of people also become part of the pageantry, observed by the public ‘placed’ in adjoining cordoned-off areas with varying levels of security barriers. TV camera-people and journalists create iconic images and significant moments juxtaposing actors, invitees and public in creating the new narratives. As the soldiers and invalided returned home following WWI, the onus was now for them to find work and a decent standard of living for themselves and their families; no longer was it possible for them or their governments to return to the pre-1914 socio-political order. For Russia and sections of its old empire, civil war was followed by the new Soviet Union offering a socialist utopia.32

31 Bread and Circuses in Rome and America. By William Astore, Writer, History Professor, Retired Lieutenant Colonel (USAF). HUFFPOST 06/10/2013 LmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAHMsZNycaPyuKVbPxoW_rEuW8vapPFy1vNdla_eXy Wx4dn-Bi_7wbqfDa2addVF4pS_bdS3M2LWxIOxfHfzFhtR6-8H9V966B8jKZlxBmso2OCC7e hY2OqnX-vc6mAz-6bcxEI2TFTjy1RHzeSnppRL9g5PLQd9cDW39Dbvl0v_Y. Bread and circuses. Wikipedia. 32 For further analysis of countries, regions, ideologies, construction of monuments including the ‘tomb of the unknown soldier or hero’ cult, commemorations and so forth regarding WWI and its aftermath see: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. https://enc See: Life and Nothing But (French: La vie et rien d’autre), a 1989 French film directed by Bertrand Tavernier. Among the different layers in this film, the main character is ordered to search for the remains of the Poiliu (unshaven, hairy soldier) who will be the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.

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References Gerry O’Reill (2019) Aligning geopolitics, humanitarian action and geography in times of conflict. Springer International Publications McDowell S (2009, Jul) International encyclopedia of human geography. In Kitchin R, Thrift N (eds), vol 7, pp 59–63. Elsevier Hirad Abtahi, Philippa Webb (2008) The Genocide Convention. BRILL. p. 731. ISBN 978–90–04– 17399–6. Retrieved 30 July 2019 Lawrence Davidson (2012, 8 March) Cultural genocide. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978–0– 8135–5344–3. Retrieved 30 July 2019

Cultural Landscape and Heritage Sites Gerry O’Reilly

Abstract Concepts of region and place in geography—physical and human-made— are appraised here. UNESCO and World Heritage Sites (WHS) reinforced by the Council of Europe (CoE), EU and other governmental institutions promote heritage and culture as witnessed in their collaborations, including with NGOs. Work on regional geography and cultural landscape has a long tradition. Such research was often closely allied to work in regional and urban planning and especially so after 1945. With the post-modernist revolution as of the 1970s, there developed a more people-centred approach in Geography, especially regarding concepts of power, democratization and use of space ranging from old concepts of the Commons up to public parks and squares and Geoparks. Now with the aid of GIS, geoinformatics, social media devices, ordinary citizens participate in the discovery and creation of spaces. With globalization, concepts and policies promoted by the UN, including their filtering into World Bank and IMF programs, government and grass-root organizations, there is ever-growing awareness of the need for sustainable development as articulated in the UN SDGs that embraces human rights, good governance and citizenship, and prescriptions for not repeating past mistakes. Therefore, places of memory must include not only positive sites of remembrance to be celebrated, but also darker places such as sites of conscience—to serve as a reminder of the inherent dangers. Not only from hazards including technology as exemplified by the Chernobyl nuclear site disaster (1986), but especially political constructs as with extreme nationalism, dictatorial regimes and populism. In challenging negative legacies of the past typified by the World Wars, the EU construction project has been nurtured in Europe since the 1950s. Keywords Cultural landscape · UNESCO-WHS (World Heritage Sites) · EU sites · Policies · Sites of conscience · Human rights · SDGs · European project · Populism

G. O’Reilly (B) Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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Introduction: Regions and Sites In essence, concepts of region and sites in geography—physical and human-made or cultural—are appraised in the context of UNESCO conventions and World Heritage Sites (WHS) including the legal processes for their nomination to the official WHS List. Great geographical variations and uniqueness of sites is presented here through a range of examples. There is much collaboration between UNESCO and the Council of Europe (CoE) and EU and governmental institutions that promote heritage and culture as witnessed with the European Landscape Convention. In this analysis, the classification categories of the Cultural Landscape Foundation (CLF) are explored. This sample of top-down institutions works in harmony with state organizations, ministries and governments. In the European context, these liaise closely with bottom-up or grass-roots groups and organizations and NGOs. The above institutions and conventions have drawn their concepts and methodologies for regional analyses from a long tradition in Geography as with the seminal work of Paul Vidal de La Blache (1845–1918), often referred to as the father of cultural landscape studies and its influence on evolving disciplines in several areas including geopolitics—territory and power, place and milieu. Vidal was much influenced by the works of other researchers including Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904), geographer and ethnographer in Germany.1 Essentially, concepts of territory, power, (geo)politics, identity, history and memory lay at the core of their work. Regional geographical and cultural concepts were further researched by later generations including the American academic Carl Sauer (1889–1975) and others following largely positivist approaches before being superseded by the so called quantitative revolution (1950s–60s) and associated methodologies guiding landscape and regional research into a spatial science. In reaction to this, the post-modern revolution (1970s–90s) challenged structuralist approaches and orthodoxies, and this was succeeded by post-structuralist approaches (late 1990s–present). In this process, social and political scientists greatly contributed to Geography, including perspectives from Noam Chomsky (2002, 2015), Edward Said (1978), Michel Foucault (1966, 2009) and geographers like Derek Gregory (2004) to name but a few. Interdisciplinary collaborations were used as a means of gaining greater insights into place, people, region and space. This included phenomenology and sensitivities regarding landscape, emotions and places of memory—but particularly concepts of power and social-construction, democratization and human rights. Of course these changes were mirrored in geopolitical research with the shift from classical and traditional perspectives to critical geopolitical analyses as promoted by such geographers as Gerard Toal (Gearóid Ó’Tuathail).2

1 Stogiannos

(2019). Britannica. Geography. Written by Ron Johnson. ence/geography. Gearóid Ó Tuathail. Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space. Murphy, Alexander B. Geographical Review; New York Vol. 88, Issue 3, (Jul 1998): 446–447.

2 Encyclopaedia

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In this chapter, the above ideas are taken into account including landscape architecture and parks. Here ideas relating to power and use of space are explored, including symbolic squares and memories. Several examples and short case studies reinforce concepts of sites of memory, including commemoration.

Geography and World Heritage In the development of geography as a discipline, emphasis was particularly placed on concepts of regions, either physical, such as planes, mountainous, forest or desert areas—predominantly the work of nature. Or else cultural due to the distinctive imprint of humans as witnessed with artefacts, farm types, villages and so forth. Iterations of this developed as with ‘combined landscapes’ with strong natural and cultural characteristics interwoven. The UN Convention regarding Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage was signed in 1972 becoming effective in 1975. By 2019 it had been ratified by 193 signatories—189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, Vatican, Niue, and Palestine. The depositary is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).3 For international recognition as World Heritage, a country must first list its significant cultural and natural sites, then the results can be entered on the UNESCO Tentative List. Sites selected from the Tentative List can be placed on the UNESCO Nomination List. This is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and World Conservation Union. The Council then makes recommendations to the World Heritage Committee which meets annually to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List. It can defer, or refer the decision to request more information from the country that nominated the site.

L’histoire de la géographie. John Agnew and David N. Livingstone (dirs.), The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, SAGE Publications Ltd, 2011. Paul Claval, Histoire de la géographie, PUF, coll. « Que sais-je? », 2011. Phil Hubbard and Rob Kitchin (dirs.), Key Thinkers on Space and Place, SAGE Publications Ltd, 2010. Geoffrey J. Martin, All Possible Worlds: A History of Geographical Ideas, Oxford University Press. 2005. YouTube: Geography’s Influence on World History, Society and Human Development. https:// History of Geographic Thought: Dr Derek Gregory. Xp90GKlM. Critical Geopolitics: A Quick Introduction. 9QY20. 3 See: World Heritage—Criteria for Selection.


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There are ten selection criteria in order to be included on the list. Nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” meeting at least one of the ten prescribed criteria.4

UNESCO: World Heritage Sites The UNESCO World Heritage List (2017–18) is comprised of 1,092 properties of Outstanding Universal Value in 167 countries party to the Heritage Convention. Natural heritage sites represent 23% of this number, including 38 mixed sites (both cultural and natural) and 209 natural sites. Many are within national and transnational parks ranging from the well-known Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks in the USA to Lake Baikal and Virgin Komi Forests in the Russian Federation; from UluruKata Tjuta National Park and Greater Blue Mountains Area in Australia to the Mount Sanqingshan National Park and Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas in China, and India’s Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area. There are 93 UNESCO WHS in Africa—6 being transboundary, 51 cultural 37 natural, and 5 mixed. While there are 42 UNESCO WHS in South America, 3 are transboundary, 30 cultural, 10 natural and 2 mixed sites. Regarding Europe (44–47 countries depending on categorizations used) approximate figures are given here from various sources: in Western Europe—practically 121 cultural, 9 natural, and 2 mixed sites are listed; and in Southern Europe, 150 cultural, 12 natural, and 7 mixed sites are given. In Northern Europe—32 cultural, 3 natural, and 1 mixed site and in Eastern Europe, 69 cultural, 8 natural, and no mixed sites.5 A random selection of outstanding natural WHS in Europe include: Malta’s Blue Grotto, the volcanic basalt Giant’s Causeway in the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland in NI, Étretat Cliffs in north-west France, the Göreme—Rock Sites of Cappadocia in Turkey, Italy’s Dolomites, Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst on the Hungary—Slovakia Border, Western Caucasus in southern Russia, volcanic Surtsey island in Iceland, Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia; Bay of Koto, Montenegro; also Norway’s Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, and Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.6

4 See:

World Heritage. The Criteria for Selection. WHS, 2017 Natural sites. UNESCO WHS List: 2018. 6 UNESCO WHS, 2017 Natural sites. 5 UNESCO

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Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia. Source wikipedia/commons/c/c1/G%C3%B6reme_National_Park_and_the_Rock_Sites_of_Cappadocia110765.jpg

Other examples of UNESCO WHS include: The “Heritage of Mercury—Almadén and Idrija” and consists of the two largest mercury mining sites in the world—the Slovenian Idrijia and Almadén in Spain. Mining stopped here in the early 21st century. The inscribed area includes the town centres of Almadén and Idrija. Their related buildings such as a Mining Academy (Alamadén) and miners’ theatre (Idrija) can be found there.7 Another fascinating WHS includes the Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps that are the remains of stilt houses at the edges of lakes and rivers. The site consists of 111 locations, spread out over 6 countries and dated 5,000–500 BC, representing the life of early agrarian communities in Europe. Rising water levels since prehistory led to the abandonment of the settlements which were then covered by lake and river sediments. About 30 different cultural groups were responsible for creating these pile dwellings.8 The Ste´cci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards are 28 medieval cemeteries located in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. The decoration and inscriptions on the mostly limestone monolithic tombstones represent a specific tradition of the area. They include Christian religious symbols, dancing and hunting scenes, 7 UNESCO WHS Heritage of Mercury—Almadén and Idrija. list/Heritage+of+Mercury. 8 UNESCO WHS Prehistoric Pile Dwellings. Pile+Dwellings.


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geometric shapes and Cyrillic alphabet inscriptions. The inscribed tombstones have been selected from the surviving 70,000 or so still standing in the region and date from the 12th–16th centuries.9 The Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine comprises 16 wooden churches built by horizontal log construction.10

Radimlja8, Bosnia and Herzegovina (The Ste´cci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards). Source https://

Sites of memory can range from a few square meters, to hundreds of km2 . According to UNESCO, Angkor in Cambodia is one of the most important archaeological sites in south-east Asia. It is over 163 hectares and full of temples, reservoirs and other structures dating back to the 9th century. Similarly, the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls are listed as UNESCO WHS, as a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance, among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount stands out, the rock over which the Muslim shrine was built is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, and was built in the 7th century. It is recognized by all three monotheistic religions as the site of Abraham’s sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the respective religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church 9 UNESCO WHS Ste´ cci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards.

Ste%C4%87ci+. WHS The Wooden Tserkvas. rkvas+of+the+Carpathian+Region.


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of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ’s tomb. Much controversy surrounds Temple Mount right down to the smallest few square metres regarding the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, and wider Jewish and Muslim worlds, and within UNESCO and other international institutions. Other highly significant authorities and bodies that liaise with UNESCO include the Council of Europe (CoE) Landscape Award Alliance: its awards bring together the exemplary achievements of the States Parties to the European Landscape Convention. They show that it is possible to promote the territorial dimension of human rights and democracy by improving the landscape characteristics of the living environment of the populations.11 According to the Cultural Landscape Foundation (CLF), such landscapes are those areas that have been affected, influenced, or shaped by human involvement. They can be associated with a person or event, and can be thousands of hectares or a very minor area such as a homestead. It can entail a grand estate, industrial site, park, garden, cemetery, campus, and more. They are works of art, narratives of culture, expressions of regional identity.12 According to the CLF, there are primarily four types of cultural landscapes, but any one landscape may fall under more than one typology: Designed landscapes: consciously planned or laid out by a landscape architect, master gardener, architect, or horticulturist according to design principles, or by an amateur gardener working in a recognized style or tradition. Here comes to mind the contrasts between the Versailles Gardens and Claude Monet’s much visited garden at his home in Giverney, where art pilgrims search for natures images as reflected in his impressionist paintings. Ethnographic landscapes: containing a variety of natural and cultural resources that the associated people define as heritage assets. Historic sites: cultural landscapes significant for their association with a historic event, activity, or person. Vernacular landscapes: those that evolved through use by the people whose activities or occupancy shaped those landscapes. Through social or cultural attitudes of an individual, family, or a community, the landscapes reflect the physical, biological, and cultural character of those everyday lives. Therefore, the cultural landscape refers to the imprint of people on the territory, and has long been of interest to geographers. A brief sample of seminal researchers includes Paul Vidal de La Blache’s (1845–1918) work, kernel to understanding 11 The Council of Europe (CoE) Landscape Award Alliance: landscape-award-alliance. 12 The Cultural Landscape Foundation. For further information, see: Sara Beth Keogh. 2016 Oxford Bibliographies. Cultural landscape. Medeomed. The definition of Cultural Landscape. National Geographic. Landscape: ape/.


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culture, landscape, identity and regional geographies. His work is highly significant in the development of geopolitics, where concepts of territoriality and defense of place, resources and identity are key ideas. His concept of genre de vie entails the belief that the lifestyle of a particular region reflects the economic, social, ideological and psychological identities imprinted on the landscape. He like his pupil Albert Demangeon (1872–1940) deeply influenced the Geography discipline, emphasizing the significance of historical influences. Core to this were perspectives on landscapes (paysages), “settings” (milieux), “regions”, “lifeways” (genres de vie), and population density which Vidal intensely researched in eastern France. Vidal was also influenced by the works of neighbouring German researchers such as the Geographer and ethnographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844 –1904), who was highly conscious of the prevailing 19th century deterministic and Darwinian standpoints. Ratzel is notable for developing the Germanic concept of Lebensraum (vital living space) that involves policies and practices of settler colonialism that flourished in Germany (1890s–1940s) and was central to its Geopolitik policies of Imperial Germany during WWI (1914–18), and later a core element in NAZI ideology until 1945.13 However, Vidal promoted Possibilism—the standpoint that humans take the opportunities offered by physical geography and nature and moulded them to their own needs and beyond. Therefore humans were largely in control of landscape, and had shaped it the over millennia. In short, Possibilism is the theory that the environment sets certain constraints or limitations, but culture is otherwise determined by social conditions, or cultural constructs; hence humans are masters of their own destiny and landscape. Geopolitics, with geo-referring to earth or territory, and politics signifying power—analyses the inter-relationships between physical and human geography, and its impact on people, organization within states and between them, and how this impacts on national and international power, politics and relations. While geopolitics deals with analyses of relationships between territory and people in time contexts, there are no exact one-to-one relationships of cause and effect due to the unique combination of factors for each specific place, including spaces of memory and associated emotions. These geographical variables acquire political meaning through perceptions including memories to which they are linked. Memory refers to the ways in which people construct a sense or meaning of the past, and how they relate that past to their present in the act of remembering and identity formation.14 Geopolitical analyses can give insight into dispute and conflict, and use of power and ideological objectives to disguise territorial and resource ambitions, and also act as a tool for finding solutions such as terms of negotiations, ceasefire and armistice, boundary delimitation, creation of peace process and building sustainable peace. From a democratic perspective, geopolitical understanding can be applied to regional

13 Stogiannos

(2019). of Memory: rlz=1C1GGRV_enIE751IE751&oq=UN+Definition+of+site+of+memory&aqs=chrome..69i57. 11008j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8. 14 Sites

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and urban planning as with top-down/bottom-up inputs and stakeholders, good governance and sustainability frameworks. Among the key concepts are territoriality, identity, ethnicity, power, political-economy, nation and state. Originally, critical geopolitics contended that intellectual shapers of statecraft construct ideas about places and that these ideas influenced and reinforced political behaviours and policy choices, affecting how citizens—the people—process ‘their’ own notions of places and politics. Critical geopolitics aims to deconstruct geographical assumptions, frameworks and labels that underlie the making of power and world politics, so as to elucidate and explain how political actors spatialize power, frame and represent it as a ‘world’ characterized by specific types of places. Imagine contrasting perspectives of ordinary people on the ground in North Korea regarding their ‘own place’ and that of ‘other places’ in America and Europe, and similarly that of ordinary people anywhere in the USA or EU, as well as their policy makers themselves. Similar exercises could be carried out regarding territory and power construct perceptions within Iran and also regarding citizens in neighbouring regions, countries, Israel, Europe and USA; and vice versa. By questioning assumptions that underpin geopolitical claims, critical geopolitics moved from its original postmodernist, poststructuralist, feminist and postcolonial critique of traditional positivist geopolitics into mainstream human geography. It problematizes statist and elitist conceptions of power and argues that spatiality is not only confined to territoriality. The formal and informal construction of social reality is shaped by specific political agents, including the ‘experts’ of statecraft. Herein lies major challenges as in the evolving debates regarding monitoring and regulation of cyberspace, including social media and the dark web—allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable. Daesh’s mastery of the latter in attempting to create a Caliphate or so-called fundamentalist religious power-territory and society in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere—came as a major surprise to citizens worldwide, largely due to their own perceptions of the MENA region and associated cultures. Popular geopolitics now considers social media, Internet, videogames, films, cartoons, magazines, television, radio and so forth—the ways in which they contribute to the circulation of geopolitical images and depictions of people, territory, resources, identity and power.15 Iterations of this particularly came to the fore during the US presidential election campaign in 2016 and different areas and sections of American society that supported Donald Trump’s standpoints on the American Dream-space for instance, and how it was being played out in the USA with winners and losers, and who was responsible for what, including countries outside the USA ranging from Mexico and the Global South Countries to the EU and China. Such recurring themes as perilous immigrants were also taken up by politicians and sections of the electorate in the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign, and again in the 2019 European elections in the UK, France, Austria, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland and so forth. Alongside populism, 15 Merje

Kuus. Critical Geopolitics in International Studies. Print Publication Date: Mar 2010. Political Geography, Online Publication Date: Nov 2017. udies/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190846626.001.0001/acrefore-9780190846626-e-137.


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discerning citizens have become more aware of the phenomena of ‘fake news’ and so called ‘alternative truths’ especially since 2016. A geopolitics of emotions must now be factored into analyses of public behaviours, attitudes and voting power. WWI centennial commemorations in many areas of Europe and beyond provided state elites and ordinary citizens alike with the possibility of reflection, ‘then and now and where are we going’.

Regional Geography In the Anglophone world, Carl Sauer (1889–1975) greatly influenced geographical research on the cultural landscape postulating that most of our imprints on the land could be considered unconscious or subliminal. This approach focused on description of rural areas centred around cultural products or artefacts, rather than the processes that created those products. Influenced by this, The Making of the English Landscape was first published in 1955 by the English local historian William George Hoskins and was illustrated with 82 monochrome plates, mostly photographs by Hoskins, and 17 maps or plans. It has appeared in some 35 editions and reprints in English and other languages, and greatly influenced geographical perspectives or approaches in other countries, especially throughout the former British Empire. Through innovative research and its diffusion, various cultural landscape approaches developed in the respective countries ranging from Sweden, Portugal, Ireland16 and beyond as well as landscape planning and engineering traditions as found in the Netherlands, Russia and former Soviet countries. The social movements of the 1960s–70s brought about a change in the way geographers approached landscape, especially because of the highly urbanized nature of society. Researchers recognized that urban areas now held as much evidence to modernizing culture as did rural ones. During this time, representational cultural geography emerged where sign, symbol, and meanings in processes of cultural landscape creation emerged thus necessitating interdisciplinary approaches. The post1960s era witnessed the beginnings of a cultural shift away from positivist empiricism and by the mid-1990s, cultural geography was shifting towards a nonrepresentational 16 Prominent geographers in the development of cultural landscape and historical geographical studies in Ireland include: Emyr Estyn Evans. Tom Jones Hughes. William Smyth.[email protected]. William Nolan. Patrick Duffy. Kevin Whelan. 2018 Religion, Landscape and Settlement in Ireland: From Patrick to Present. Dublin: Four Courts Press. F. H. A. Aalen, Kevin Whelan, Matthew Stout (eds.). 1997. Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape. University of Toronto Press. over&dq=Kevin+Whelan++publications&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjFttHrvrrmAhVWhlw KHfDDATQQ6AEIQzAF#v=onepage&q=Kevin%20Whelan%20%20publications&f=false.

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approach to studying people and place that emphasized the significance of practices and experiences rather than cultural landscape phenomena exclusively embracing concepts of social reproduction and context in processes of landscape analyses. This led researchers of the cultural landscape to consider both the theories of landscape creation, physical objects, artefacts and monuments in the landscape, but significantly how issues of power, inequality and social justice play out in the cultural landscape, and of course human-environment inter-relationships.

People-Centred Geography and Anthropology Essentially, the imperial project and associated explorations of the 19th century colonial powers generated a wealth of new information on the world that could not be accommodated within the traditional academic disciplines. So moving beyond classical models of presentation and interpretation, new sciences emerged with Geography being prominent, but gathering ethnographic data remained an appendage until Friedrich Ratzel turned to the complexity of human culture in his ethnographic compendium (1886–88) and anthropogeography works (1891). Ratzel provided many of the structures for Sauer and the ‘Berkeley tradition’, with its emphasis on material culture, culture hearths, and historical diffusion, while in the British tradition, social anthropology began to play a leading role in research. Leading French social anthropologist and ethnographer, Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908–2009) argued that the ‘savage’ mind had the same structures as the ‘civilized’ mind and that human characteristics are the same everywhere. His structuralist approach—guiding the search for the underlying patterns of thought in all forms of human activity—greatly impacted on sociology, geography, and social and political research, and humanities in general.17 During the 1960s, research overlapped between geography and anthropology, in the form of culture or study of human adaptations to social and physical environments. With human adaptation referring to both biological and cultural processes that enabled a population to survive and reproduce within a given or changing environment; alongside political ecology— studying relationships between political, economic and social factors with environmental issues and changes. It differs from apolitical ecological studies by politicizing environmental issues and phenomena. With the post-modernist revolution, some human geographers found a renewed interest in ethnography—scientific description of peoples and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences. Similarly, as with geo-archaeology, geographers researched the impact of human activities in space and time. These perspectives examine how processes such as degradation have

17 Encyclopaedia

Britannica. 2019 Claude Lévi-Strauss. French anthropologist. Written by: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica.


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been perceived and managed in different cultures; how conclusions about cause-andeffect relationships are drawn, given environmental, social, and political factors that favour similar outcomes. How one distinguishes mismanagement from the impact of extreme weather or shifting climate that may cause, precondition, or trigger soil erosion for instance. Geo-archaeology may help interpret environmental history as well as assess scenarios for long-term change or sustainability.18

Interdisciplinary: Landscape, Emotions and Places of Memory In the interdisciplinary work promoted by the post-modernist revolution, social and political scientists greatly contributed to Geography, including the perspectives of Noam Chomsky (2002, 2015), Edward Said (1978), Michel Foucault (1966, 2009) and geographer Derek Gregory (2004) who included—political processes linked to power narratives and elite attempts at the manufacture of consent in their research. This helped to deconstruct geographical, cultural and political orthodoxies—the authorized or generally accepted theories, doctrines, or practices. However, it could be argued that such a postmodernist and poststructuralist approach created research frameworks and associated concepts and lexicon or vocabulary including PC-speak aiming for political correctness, that have become almost a counter dogma, and pursuant orthodoxies targeting to establish the ‘new norm’ which may have fed into the ‘fake news and alternative truths’ phenomenon backlash as witnessed in the second decade of the 21st century. Nonetheless, this has contributed greatly to diverse understandings of crucial conflict issues like identity politics, nationalism and commemoration within and between societies, and time, as well as historical and human rights issues whose narratives were once the preserve of ‘public’ or ‘state’ funded state institutions or media with their own specific agenda. In essence, there are two basic approaches with the physical and cultural landscapes. Methodologies for the study of landscape perception are grounded in the humanistic cultural geography tradition. Quantitative landscape research developed in Anglophone geography (1960s–70s) in the context of behavioural geography’s critique of spatial science. “This psychological turn in human geography emphasized the role of cognitive processes in mediating and producing one’s perception of landscapes and environments. The other branch of landscape perception studies is more qualitative in approach with cultural geography that focused on empirical observation of morphological features of landscapes as evidence of cultural difference. As a critique of it, a further social theory-oriented approach focused on how people ascribe meaning to their surroundings based on the structural forces of race, class, gender and other difference, in combination with individual subjectivity and agency. Therefore, here emphasis is on behavioural geography, gendered landscapes, humanistic 18 Butzer


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geography, perceived environment and representation.19 The geographical research of Denis Cosgrove (1948–2008) combined historical and archival exposition with theoretically innovative ideas about the power and duplicity of landscape. He emphasized cultural, historical and humanistic geographies, with a keen exposition of the impact of iconography—re-examining the adage that a picture paints a thousand words. Landscape architecture—the study of planning and altering features of an existing natural or cultural landscape, basically entails the art and practice of designing the outdoor environment, as with parks or gardens to harmonize with nature, buildings and roads. It should be noted that from an applied perspective, Landscape Architecture studies is a thriving discipline in many countries.20 A major area for landscape architecture work entails parks that are much sought after by the public, especially in an era of ever-increasing urbanization with people seeking green spaces for leisure, health and environmental reasons, but also entertainment as with attractions. A park can be defined as an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space reserved for human recreation, or for protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Geoparks are UNESCO-designated areas containing one or more sites of particular geological importance, intended to conserve the geological heritage and promote public awareness of it, typically through tourism. There are 147 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 41 countries, including the Hondsrug area, a geological complex of linear till ridges of about 60 km in length in the east of the Netherlands; and the Ha¸teg located in central Romania, in the southern Transylvania near the main routes to Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria that has a relief—amphitheatre shape with a central piedmont plain, with terraces and meadows surrounded by picturesque mountain chains.21 The three UNESCO Global Geoparks in Ireland include: the Copper Coast in County Waterford; Burren region and Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare; and Marble Arch in Fermanagh NI and Cavan (RoI).22

19 Morin

(2009). information on landscape architecture see: IFLA Europe: International Federation of Landscape Architects. IFLA works closely with: ECLAS—the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools— and ELASA—the European Landscape Architecture Students’ Association. 21 List of UNESCO Geoparks (UGGP). nment/earth-sciences/unesco-global-geoparks/list-of-unesco-global-geoparks/. 22 Geological Survey Ireland. Geoparks and Geo-tourism. 20 For


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International Network of Geoparks. Source onal_Network_of_Geoparks_map.jpg

Heritage parks have become common throughout the European landscape especially since the 1970s. Their importance culturally, politically and commercially has been enhanced by the possibility of gaining the European Heritage Label, for which specific criteria have to be met. The European Heritage labelled sites reference milestones in the creation of today’s Europe celebrating (or in some cases commemorating), and symbolising European ideals, values, history and integration. Since 2013, these sites have been selected for their symbolic value, role played in history and activities that can bring the EU and citizens closer together. Three key differences exist between the European Heritage label sites and UNESCO World Heritage List: (i) European Heritage sites bring to life the European narrative and history behind it. (ii) The focus is on the promotion of the European dimension of the sites and providing access to them; including a wide range of educational activities. (iii) European Heritage sites can be enjoyed singly or as part of a network. So far 38 sites have been designated. A random sample includes—Heart of Ancient Athens; Leipzig’s Musical Sites; Tallinn’s Great Guild Hall in Estonia; Union of Lublin in Poland; Münster and Osnabrück—Sites of the Peace of Westphalia, Germany; Historic Ensemble of the University of Tartu, Estonia; Charter of Law of Abolition of the Death Penalty— National Archives of Torre do Tombo in Lisbon, Portugal; World War I Eastern Front Cemetery No. 123 (Łu˙zna–Pustki), Poland; Camp Westerbork, WWII Nazi transit camp—the Netherlands; the Natzweiler Nazi concentration camp and c. 50 satellite work camps in Alsace that operated 1941–45; Franja Partisan Hospital in Slovenia; Robert Schuman’s House, Scy-Chazelles, France; Village of Schengen, Luxembourg; and Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park, Sopron, Hungary.23

23 EC.

Creative Europe. The European Heritage Label.

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World War I Eastern Front Cemetery No. 123 (Łu˙zna–Pustki), Poland. Source https://upload.wik Cmentarz_Wojenny_nr_123.JPG

Power, Democratization and the Use of Space: Parks and Squares Urban Parks and public squares often epitomize spaces of personal and public memory. For instance, urban parks are usually green spaces set aside in towns and cities. National and country parks are green spaces used for recreation in the countryside. State and Provincial parks are usually administered by sub-national government agencies. Parks may consist of grassy areas, rocks, soil and trees, but may contain buildings and artefacts such as monuments, fountains or playground facilities. Many parks have fields and sometimes sports areas. Sometimes there are trails for walking, biking or similar activities. The largest parks can be vast natural areas of hundreds of thousands of square kilometres, with wildlife and natural features. In many large parks, camping is allowed. Many natural parks are protected by law, and users may have to follow restrictions such as rules against lighting open fires. Large national and sub-national parks are typically supervised by a park ranger or a warden. Amusement parks may have live shows, fairground rides, refreshments, and games of chance or skill.


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In the history of parks in Europe, one thinks of the fenced domain parks once associated with the hunting grounds for deer or other animals of the feudal lords in the Middle Ages, or later on, the planned estate parks and gardens of the 18th–19th centuries adjacent to the manor houses of the aristocracy, with some of them now in state or public ownership and open for public use as well as being part of the heritage and tourist industries. Random samples include France’s Fontainebleau Castle and forests, the Luxemburg Gardens, Tuileries and Versailles now designated national patrimony under the control of the Republic and listed European and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Similarly, for Spain’s Palacio de Viana Patios, Córdoba and the Generalife—Alhambra de Granada;24 while Russia’s Alexander and Catherine Gardens in St. Petersburg are sought out by local people, visitors and tourists alike.25 London’s Hyde, Regent’s, Richmond and St. James Parks all have their respective historical and contemporary narratives as part of the royal parks for centuries. Ireland’s Phoenix Park in Dublin, is 2–4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 11 km perimeter wall encloses 707 hectares; one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city.26 In contrast to the histories of the latter category of parks, Liverpool’s Princes Park in England is reputed to be the first purpose-built public park in the world i.e. not one attached to a palace or aristocracy, and significantly was opened in 1842, at the height of the Industrial Revolution and associated factories, rapid urbanization and challenging environmental conditions.27

24 Alhambra

de Granada. Generalife. generalife.asp. World Heritage Journey. World heritage sites of Andalusia. 20 March 2018. https://worldheri 25 Wikipedia. Alexander Garden (Saint Petersburg). den_(Saint_Petersburg). 26 For a list of the most popular parks in Europe, see: The 17 Best City Parks in Europe https://www. 27 Wikipedia. Prince’s Park, Liverpool.,_Liverpool.

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Prince’s Park, Liverpool, England. Source Princes_Park%2C_Liverpool_%286%29.jpg

One of the most filmed iconic locations in the world is Central Park (341 ha) in Manhattan, New York City that is the most visited urban park in the USA, with 37–38 million visitors annually. In terms of area, it is the fifth largest park in New York City, and the largest city park in the USA.28 Public Squares planned or organic in their development, have diverse historical origins and often acquire overlapping functions in their growth and planning. Broadly: (i) market areas; (ii) the once military training and parade grounds; (iii) areas where religious and/or political or state elites attempt to construct or reconstruct images of their power with iconic buildings such as churches, town-halls, palaces, museums or libraries; (iv) once private squares, but now mostly public due to political and/or economic historical changes; (v) squares planned and manufactured or re(created) for purely ideological purposes ranging from nationalism to commemoration of past events—ranging from mythological narratives to more recent histories including war; (vi) prestige squares, to illustrate financial dominance for the attraction of finance, commercial enterprise and tourism; (v) squares specifically created as places of memory. Public Squares have played a cardinal role in the development of Greco-Roman civilization, citizenship, civil society and democracy. In ancient Greece, the Agora 28 Encyclopaedia



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was a public open space used for assemblies and markets, while in Roman civilization, the Forum constituted the meeting place where ideas and views on particular issues could be exchanged. The agora and forum played significant roles in the historical development of free speech and democracy. For instance, a Speakers’ Corner is an area where open-air public speaking, debate, and discussion are allowed. Iterations of this tradition continue to exist in the north-east corner of Hyde Park in London, England. Historically there were a number of other areas designated as Speakers’ Corners in other parks in London. In this historical tradition, the populace and state continue to use public squares to commemorate and (re)present past events, but also for popular protest, as with the historic Place de la Republique in Paris, especially in 2015–16 regarding the collective stand being taken against jihadi attacks there. Other prominent examples include: Grand Place or Grote Markt (Big Market) Square (68 × 110 m) in Brussels, surrounded by guildhalls and two larger edifices— the Town Hall, and King’s House or Bread-house containing the Brussels City Museum. In Poland, Warsaw’s Old Town Market Place, that was systematically destroyed during WWII, but reconstructed following 1945 and similarly Kraków’s Main Square (3.79 ha) one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. The impressive Heroes’ Square in Budapest invites onlookers to read Hungary’s historic narrative written in stone and referencing national figures from many periods, but the WWI narrative is physically missing. Like Vienna’s Heldenplatz (Heroes Square), London’s Trafalgar Square holds multiple narratives and manifold uses ranging from pop concerts to demonstrations whether by right or left wing groups or other.

Kraków’s Main Square, Poland. Source Sukiennice_and_Main_Market_Square_Krakow_Poland.JPG

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For the people of Slovenia, Ljubljana’s Congress Square is a major site of memory. It was built in 1821 on the site of the ruins of a medieval monastery, which was demolished by order of the Habsburg monarch. After the Concert of Europe— Congress (1821), a park was laid out in the square centre, popularly called the Star due to its form. On October 29, 1918, independence from Austrian-Hungarian rule was proclaimed, with the establishment of the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (Yugoslavia) during a mass demonstration on the square. In 1945, Yugoslav Communist leader Tito gave an outstanding speech on the balcony of the University of Ljubljana, facing the square. During the communist period (1945–90), it was renamed Revolution Square and later Liberation Square, but the local population continued to use the old name, and in 1990, it officially regained its original name. On 22 June 1988, the first free mass demonstration was held on the square marking the beginning of the Slovenian Spring Revolution that culminated in the declaration of Slovenia’s independence on 25 June 1991. In 1999 Bill Clinton became the first US president to visit Slovenia. On June 21, he publicly addressed the crowd gathered in Congress Square, quoting the opening verses of the Slovenian national anthem. Amid celebrations on Congress Square, Slovenia adhered to the EU as a full member state in 2004.

Postcards of Congress Square 1960. Source a0/Postcards_of_Congress_Square_1960.jpg

During the Arab Spring protests (as of 2010) in Tunisia, protestors made use of Bourguiba Avenue (formerly Avenue Jules-Ferry during the French colonial period 1881–1956) and its associated squares in Tunis. Similarly, in Damascus in 2011,


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Marjeh Square/Martyrs’ Square and Sabaa Bahrat Square (Seven Fountain Square) became foci of protest. Likewise, Tahrir Square in Cairo, and Pearl Square in Bahrain became known worldwide during the Arab Spring revolutions (2010 on) due to TV news and social media. Historically used for state celebration and sometimes protest, Taksim Square in Istanbul took on extra dimensions in 2013, when the city municipality attempted to demolish Taksim Gezi Park, a small green area, in order to construct further commercial shopping venues; violent conflict ensued between protesters and security forces, and a stalemate followed, but the square and park remain under heavy state surveillance.29 Interestingly, Taksim Square became a nonofficial venue for commemoration of the Armenian genocide as of 2010.30

Conclusions The concepts of region, places and sites, both physical and human-made or cultural, have a long tradition in Geography. National and international organization such as UNESCO have drawn on this in the development of conventions and World Heritage Sites (WHS). The multiple examples of WHS outlined above illustrates the differences and similarity that are found. Collaboration between UNESCO, the Council of Europe (CoE), EU and national institutions promotes heritage and culture. In the European context, these organizations liaise closely with bottom-up or grass-roots groups and NGOs. The architecture of these institutions and conventions, and the research that they support have drawn their concepts for regional analyses from the long tradition in Geography including the seminal works of Paul Vidal de La Blache (1845–1918) and Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904). Regional geographical and cultural concepts were further developed by geographers such as Carl Sauer (1889–1975) in the USA, with positivist approaches. The quantitative revolution (1950s–60s) guided landscape and regional research into a spatial scientific approach. The post-modernist revolution (1970s–90s) challenged structuralist approaches and orthodoxies and this was followed by the post-structuralist approaches (late 1990s–present). Here social and political scientists contributed greatly to Geography, and interdisciplinary collaboration became the order of the day searching for greater insights into place, people, region and space, and concepts of power and social-construction, democratization and human rights. In this context landscape architecture and concepts regarding parks must be borne in mind relating to power, democratization and use of space, including symbolic squares, memorials and memories. 29 Beyond the riot zone: Why Taksim Square matters to Turks. By Susannah Cullinane, CNN updated 7:27 AM EDT, Fri June 7, 2013. 30 Guardian. Turkey eclipses centenary of Armenian massacre by moving Gallipoli memorial. By Constanze Letsch. 16 April 2016.

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With globalization of concepts and policies promoted by the UN, including their filtering into World Bank and IMF programs, government and grass-root organizations, there is ever-growing awareness of the absolute need for sustainable development as articulated in the SDGs that embraces human rights, good governance and good citizenship, and not repeating past mistakes. Hence sites of memory must include positive sites of remembrance to be celebrated, but also darker places such as sites of conscience—to serve as a reminder of the inherent dangers posed by technology as exemplified by the Chernobyl nuclear site disaster in the Ukraine, but more especially human-made disasters as with political constructs including imperial wars, extreme nationalism and populism. In challenging negative legacies of the past as with WWI and WWII, the European construction project has been nurtured by many people since the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1952, a landmark event in the formation of the EU.

References Butzer KW (2009) Anthropology and human geography. In: Kitchin R, Thrift N (eds) International encyclopedia of human geography. Sage Publications Inc., pp 148–151. https://www.sciencedi Morin KM (2009) Landscape perception. In: Kitchin R, Thrift N (eds) The international encyclopedia of human geography. Elsevier Ltd., Oxford Stogiannos A (2019) The genesis of geopolitics and Friedrich Ratzel. Dismissing the myth of the Ratzelian Geodeterminism. Springer

Sustainable Development Versus Human-Made Atrocities—Never Again Gerry O’Reilly

Abstract The humanities, social and political sciences are sometimes accused of not being ‘applied enough’ with smart ‘products’ for the consumer. In education and Geography, getting the skills-competencies balance—along with reflection is vital for sustainable development including approaches to spaces of memory. Human rights abuse and conflict is the corollary of the democracy ideal and sustainability. Preservation of sites of shame or conscience enhances the duty, responsibility and right to remember. These sites embody the inherent political dangers faced by humanity and must be recognized as still existing today at another scale with use of social media by extremists promoting hate speech and terrorism, and by groups justifying themselves with spurious reference to history and sites of memory. With this in mind, the Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit NGO combats dangerous groups “by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulations”. Extremist groups can attempt to erase or else promote sites or memory with their own corrupted narratives. Danger exists for those who cannot remember, or at lease empathize with the victims of past political constructs and aberrations. WWI witnessed the clash of the major imperial powers, a prelude to WWII and creation of the UN in 1945, and subsequent founding of UNESCO promoting World Heritage Sites (WHS) and sites of conscience. Keywords Education · Skills · Competencies · Geography · Extremism · Responsibility · Memory · UNESCO WHS · Sites of conscience

Counter Extremism Project 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Memory of the War: Popular Memory 1918–45, 1945–Present. By Susanne Brandt. 24 May 2017. https://encyclopedia. present. G. O’Reilly (B) School of History & Geography, Dublin City University, St. Patrick’s Campus, Upper Drumcondra Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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Introduction: Skills and Competencies—Past Histories Knowledge, Competencies and Skills Researchers in academia and especially in the humanities, social and political sciences have often been accused of not being ‘applied enough’ in their results or cut off from the ‘real world’ in their ‘ivory towers’. Whatever perspectives people may hold on this, such maxims help nourish populist imaginations of the ‘elites’—‘those others’. Due to industrialization in the largest sense, there is often the underlying philosophy that people must keep creating more capital regardless of negative costs to environment, society, culture and capital itself, going beyond societies’ needs in pursuit of individual personal, or company gains. Machino-logic with humans as part of the production ‘system’ became embedded in industrial processes since the early 20th century with Fordism1 that now exists with multiple iterations in international divisions of labour at worldwide scales. Naturally, the employers, public and clients want quick smart ‘product’—material and non-material, at the cheapest cost in the name of competition, held to be the motor of capital creation. Educational systems, especially since the 1990s, have rightly been encouraged to be more cognizant of skills alongside competences in degree content such as Geography. But here remains the challenge, getting a balance between skills and competencies needed in hyper-active employment markets with entrepreneurs, employers and ‘market’ alike demanding flexibility from employees. Hence the precarity of employment created in many societies. The gap often found, but cognitively presumed to exist, in the balance between ‘educated and informed’ reflection, and machino-logic skills has become part of the social-political crisis threatening democracy and also undermining ethics. Therefore, the need for employee and company reasonability, responsibility and ethics, or else the dangers of ‘normalizing the abnormal’. Geography graduates should possess competencies and skills including ethics, catering for sustainable development that includes approaches to places and memory. While the principle of free speech and personal choice must be protected, the citizen’s obligation of personal responsibility and duty must be enhanced when it comes to areas ranging from online hate speech to abusive pornography and

1 Documentary—People’s


Century. Part 05. 1924 On The Line.

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paedophilia. Companies and individuals fudging the spirit of the law (where it really exists) must be made responsible, by the force of law, as the limits of the concept of self-regulation and accountability have been stretched beyond many citizens’ belief. For instance, in 2018, revelations about the activities of Cambridge Analytica and the data scandal alerted the global public of the dangers to individuals, society and democracy; major changes remain to be made in Facebook and similar companies.2 Essentially, Facebook–Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political advertising purposes, influencing electorates. Use of social media by extremists, ranging from neo-Nazis to jihadi for recruitment and propaganda purposes, promoting hate speech, murder and terrorism continues to be a foremost challenge for society and government.3 Of course, such extremist groups attempt to erase or else promote sites of memory reinterpreted to their own current narratives, as with WWI and WWII sites conflated by neo-Nazis in Germany.4 Conflation of narratives is also found in the actions of Jihadi groups such as Daesh.5

2 The

Cambridge Analytica scandal changed the world—but it didn’t change Facebook. By Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian. 18 May 2019. the-cambridge-analytica-scandal-changed-the-world-but-it-didnt-change-facebook. 3 See: The Counter Extremism Project. It is a non-profit NGO that combats extremist groups “by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulations.” https://www.counterextremism. com/. 4 See: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. Memory of the War: Popular Memory 1918–45, 1945–Present. By Susanne Brandt. 24 May 2017. 1918-1945_1945_to_the_present. See: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. Commemoration, Cult of the Fallen (Germany). By Nadine Rossol 8 Oct. 2014. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-onl See: for a collection of articles concerning memory, WWI and tourism; e.g. Myriam Jansen-Verbeke et Wanda George. Memoryscapes of the Great War (1914–1918): A paradigm shift in tourism research on war heritage. https://journals. 5 Blast through the Past: Terrorist Attacks on Art and Antiquities as a Reconquest of the Modern Jihadi Identity. By Kristy Campion. Perspectives on Terrorism. Vol. II. No. 1. 2017. http://www.ter


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Auschwitz aerial view RAF reconnaissance picture 1944. Source ipedia/commons/5/56/Auschwitz_aerial_view_RAF.jpg

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Victims shoes—Auschwitz. Source 2179-1.jpg

Too often there is confusion over the right to free speech and the cliché ‘I’m entitled to my opinion or I have a right to my opinion’ or the slightly more sophisticated ‘Let’s agree to disagree’—which is a logical fallacy in which a person tries to discredit any opposition by claiming that they are entitled to their own opinion. This type of cliché is used to terminate thoughtful discussion by shouting loudest, or more forcefully translated meaning—‘I’m right’—but without explicit truth or justification or scientific backup for the opinion. Such assertions can be a statement of refusal to relinquish an opinion ‘whatever’, or else to participate in a system of logic at hand. Whatever entitlement or right one may have, nonetheless the assertion is either true or false (usually!). This is especially important regarding dark sites of conscience and denialism—whether intentionally or subconsciously. Overall, in education and especially in Geography, getting the skills-competencies balance—with knowledge and reflection is vital for sustainable development—environmentally, socially and long-term economically. Human rights abuse and violent conflict is the corollary of sustainability and democracy itself. Spaces of memory and


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sites of shame or conscience are most necessary and often controversial regarding the duty and right to remember, and in reminding ruling institutions, electorates and public in general of the intrinsic political dangers faced by ignoring, or refusing to engage with such sites.

Those Who Cannot or Else Refuse to Remember the Past Santayana (1905) reminds us that: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”6 WWI witnessed the clash of major imperial powers in Europe—both on land and sea, with the paradox being that the core belligerent states of these empires had nurtured extreme nation-state nationalism at home in Britain, France, Germany and Russia while keeping a firm grip on their ‘nations’ within their states, but also inadvertently exporting the nation-state model to their colonial territories. These territories are replete with a spectrum of atrocities committed during WWI, colonial era and immediate period after the independence of the Newly Independent Countries (NICs). Examples include the Amritsar massacre (also known as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre) (13 April 1919) when nonviolent protesters and pilgrims in India’s Punjab region were fired on by troops of the British Indian Army. The casualty number estimated by the Indian National Congress was over 1,500 injured, with 1,000 dead. Paradoxically, Punjabi Indians in the British forces also served in British East Africa, adjacent to the German East Africa colonies (1914), and similarly in Singapore (1915). However, they mutinied and a total of 47 mutineers were executed, 64 were transported for life and 73 imprisoned for varying terms.7 Some 500 men of the 19th Punjabis were also deployed to the Russian Transcaspia war zone (1918).8 Historians estimate that almost 1,400 Indians died at Gallipoli and up to 3,500 were wounded.9

6 Santayana

(1905). (1981). 8 1914–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of WWI WWI_websites/index.html See: India. 9 ABC News. Anzac Day 2015: Up to 15,000 ‘forgotten’ Indian soldiers fought alongside Anzacs By Stephanie March. 24 Apr 2015. 7 Hoyt

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Amritsar/Jallianwala Bagh massacre, India 1919. Source commons/6/66/Jallianwallah.jpg

Bullet marks, visible on preserved walls, at present-day Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar). Source https://


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Iteration of this were witnessed in Ireland, in Dublin’s Gaelic football stadium Croke Park (21 November 1920) when British forces indiscriminately opened fire killing 14 civilians and wounding at least 60 others, following Irish Republican Army hits that morning targeting undercover British intelligence agents—killing or fatally wounding 15 people, during the War of Independence (1919–21).10 During Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries (1913–22), several of the victims graves were refurbished and commemorations held.11 Iterations of the above examples occurred at the Sétif and Guelma massacres (8 May 1945) that occurred where Muslim Algerian protesters were confronted by the French authorities and ‘French/European Pied Noir citizens’, the casualty numbers remain disputed as does those people responsible, with historians claiming 6,000– 20,000 people dead, and the French state claiming 1,020 and Arab Radio Cairo saying 45,000 casualties. This was a prelude to one of the bloodiest revolutions in modern colonial history with the Algerian revolution starting in 1954 and independence gained in 1962.12 Paradoxically, the day of the massacre—8 May 1945 was being marked in Algeria as VE Day celebrating acceptance by the WWII Allies of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender. In the 2014–18 WWI commemorations in France, the participation of Algerian and other combatants from the North African colonies was acknowledged. The ambassadors or political leaders of many former colonies were present at the major commemorations such as the Armistice Day centennial in Paris, and French citizens of immigrant heritage could view the inclusive rituals and narratives being presented. In recent history, the Belgian colonial divide and rule strategies in favouring one ethnic group over others in territories such as Rwanda was a factor in the Hutu extremist domination regarding the Tutsi genocide (1994). Similarly, the difficult situation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka after the independence of Ceylon from Britain in 1948, and bloody repression of the Tamil uprising (1983–2009) finds its roots in the colonial period. Today, less obvious examples of such are found in Zimbabwe, Mali and Myanmar that are on the Genocide Watch list.13 Educators have a responsibility to remember the atrocities and genocides of WWI and WWII, and more recently in the Former Yugoslavia (1991–2001) and be aware that such human-made catastrophes are not unique to Europe or Africa.

10 GAA. Croke Park Bloody Sunday Victims Remembered. 21 November 2016. https://www.gaa. ie/news/croke-park-bloody-sunday-victims-remembered/. 11 Decade of Centenaries Times. Victims of Croke Park’s Bloody Sunday remembered after almost 100 years: Headstones erected to honour three people fatally shot at the football match in November 1920. By Ronan McGreevy. Nov 21, 2019. ody-sunday-remembered-after-almost-100-years-1.4091040. 12 Sétif and Guelma (May 1945)—Algeria. By Peyroulou Jean-Pierre. SciencesPo. 26 March, 2008. 13 Current Countries at Risk of Genocide, Politicide, or Mass Atrocities. http://www.genocidewatch. org/alerts/countriesatrisk2012.html.

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Heritage and Sites of Conscience In the spectrum of landscapes, heritage and places of memory, sites of conscience form a very necessary but often controversial category. They reference the duty to remember and the right of victims, survivors and citizens to recall and to get recognition. Landscapes of remembrance and sites of conscience can act as a medium for exploring ways of avoiding past mistakes encouraging empathy beyond historical spectacle, and support human and civil rights based on democratic values as espoused by the UN and so permeate international culture and law as with the UN Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle and work of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The UN World Heritage Convention (1972) constituted an historic milestone in international awareness, promoting recognition and guidance for nature conservation and preservation of cultural properties, some 20 years before the UN Conference on Environment and Development—Rio Summit in 1992, that became foundational in global awareness for sustainable development and subsequent international agreements like the UN MDGs and SDGs, and the Paris Agreement—UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (2016), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance. Heritage and memory are inextricably enmeshed, as with sites of memory and those of conscience. A formative study was produced for UNESCO (2018) by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC), laying out criteria for the recognition, listing and management of such sites. Many of these can be controversial, taking into account cultural and political centripetal-centrifugal balances within and beyond countries, and also the massive growth of tourism activities that can be key elements in regional and national economies.14 Regarding historic events, people, sites and memory, it is good for a lapse of time to have occurred between the event which is being memorialised and its formal recognition as a heritage place. This is to allow a balanced understanding among stakeholders of the nature and significance of an event. However, at times, Sites of Conscience can be an exception to this rule since their function may be to help resolve recent conflicts and happenings as with post-Apartheid South Africa (1994), or the Northern Ireland Peace Process as of 1998. In the former Yugoslavia and especially Serbia, and also former Soviet Union and its satellite states, much work remains to be done regarding sites of conscience. It is important to remember that there may be a need to include multiple narratives in interpretive plans so as to confront the lessons from the past, but including current controversy. For instance, in the USA regarding the Jim Crow period (1877–1950s) and Confederate monument disputes over the past decade.15 Through the passage of time, a community more broadly

14 International

Coalition of Sites of Conscience: 15 Confederate monuments: What to do with them? By Peter Grier. The Christian Science Monitor. August 22, 2017.


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begins to understand and interpret memorials to the specific past events that are seen as divisive or repressive. It is not just the issue of past ‘heroes and memorials’ that may pose problems, present ‘heroes’ may also cause issues as with Winnie Mandela (1936–2018) a seminal actor in the African National Congress (ANC) liberation narrative, struggle and downfall of the Apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994. Diverse attempts have been made to cut her out of the narrative for varying reasons. Here must also be mentioned the narrative of Aung San Suu Kyi (1945–present), Nobel Peace Lauriat and recipient of many international awards and honorary titles, with dedicated plaques and wall murals honouring her struggle to establish democracy and civil rights in Myanmar. She led the National League for Democracy in the 2015 general elections and her victory raised hopes for a successful political transition from military rule to a free democratic system, a change that was expected to determine the future of Myanmar. Yet her relative silence and perceived lack of action regarding the Rohingya minority massacres and attempted genocide as of 2015 in Rakhine State has left international NGOs and Western governments, once her greatest supporters, somewhat bewildered.16 In December 2019, Aung San Suu Kyi appeared before the ICC (International Criminal Court) to explain the situation, but rejected accusations of state supported genocide.17 Many commentators in the international community were not convinced by her arguments.

Sites of Conscience and Long-Time-Scales Even at greater time-scales, sites of conscience can engender controversy. Classic examples include the Slave Trade—15 to 19th centuries and its legacies embedded in the Colonial Project. While there is international recognition of such sites of conscience in areas such as Gorée in West Africa, and in parts of the Caribbean, Latin America, USA and Europe—more has to be done at smaller geographical scales regarding the duty to remember and raising public awareness. Taking into account the colonial project and its aftermath—greater acknowledgement was given to the role played by the former colonies in the forces of the ‘motherland’ or imperial powers during the world wars, as in the WWI centennials including the Armistice Day ceremonies held in Paris in 2018 and elsewhere. Sites of Conscience provide spaces to remember, enabling visitors to make connections between the past and related contemporary issues. In this way, WWI Flanders Fields or the Douaumont Ossuary memorial or a WWII NAZI camp, or Soviet gulag becomes a catalyst for discussions of the people who suffered or died

16 BBC News. How Aung San Suu Kyi sees the Rohingya crisis 25 Jan. 2018. com/news/world-asia-42824778. 17 Aung San Suu Kyi defends Myanmar from accusations of genocide, at top UN court. 11 Dec. 2019.

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or survived with the possibility of enhancing public empathetic and emotional intelligence and gaining greater insights into those responsible, including ideologies of the past and present. Like sites of memory, there is no ‘one size fits all’ for sites of conscience or shame, due to the unique characteristics of each site historically and geographically. What may unite them is the dangers posed by ‘group-think’ and ideologies promoting hatred and depravity in attempting to justify their own power and actions endeavouring to normalize the abnormal, along with denialism and the banality of evil. In attempting to appraise the concept of ‘destruction’, case studies of the devastation of Rheims (Reims) Cathedral in France and Leuven/Louvain Library in Belgium during WWI were explored previously as sites of memory. Lessons learned from them regarding cultural heritage in conflict areas have permeated international thinking and law, as well as reconstruction techniques and their place in commemorations during ceremonies and events that took place 2014–18. The phrase ‘The war to end all wars’ regarding WWI is usually attributed to H.G. Wells who like many idealists of his time, hoped that the sheer destructiveness of WWI, unprecedented in its time, would persuade mankind to abandon war as a means of solving political disputes. Many agreed, and most notably US President Woodrow Wilson, who argued that the war could become a catalyst for promoting democracy.18 While international collaboration was attempted with the creation of the League of Nations (1920), its successes were circumscribed by predatory nationalisms, and intensification of colonial projects; peace was short-lived with the outbreak of WWII (1939). With the creation of the United Nations Organization (UN) in 1945, another attempt was made at world governance and avoidance of atrocities and war. Building on multilateralism, pragmatic idealists such as Robert Schuman and Jean Monet in 1950 set about establishing the European Construction Project, knowing that integration of European countries was an unavoidable necessity for development and prosperity, and if future wars in Europe were to be avoided.

Heritage and Sites of Memory Sites of conscience form a very necessary, emotive and often controversial phenomenon that helps to validate the duty to remember—never to forget or else run the risk of repeating the human-made atrocities of history due to ignorance, hatred, massive human rights abuses, crimes against humanity and genocide often instigated by authoritarian systems or regimes guided by opportunism, dictators, or exclusivist or destructive ideologies. Such sites endorse the right to remember, for victims and their descendants. Landscapes of remembrance and sites of conscience provide a

18 Vision.

History. Spring 2014. A War to End All War by Edwin Stepp. tory-the-great-war-can-a-war-end-all-war-33.


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medium for exploring ways of learning—empathy beyond historical spectacle, intellectual pedantry, exploiting real and imagined grievances and militarising mind maps of the future. In short, supporting human and civil rights, and peace-building.19 According to the UN, human rights are those inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. They include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and more.20 The UN has defined a broad range of internationally accepted rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social. It established mechanisms to promote and protect these rights and assist states in carrying out their responsibilities.21 Supporting human and civil rights approaches, the UN Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle is an evolving norm in international relations that is becoming integrated into international law—that state sovereignty is not an absolute right, and that states forfeit aspects of their sovereignty when they fail, or else refuse to protect their populations and citizens from mass atrocity. The R2P emphasizes that sovereign governments have rights, as well as responsibilities. The main three pillars of the R2P are: 1. A state has the responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. In the historical evolution of states, reciprocal duties and rights between government—state leaders or regimes, and citizens were normalized, and legitimated by the sovereign raison d’être of the state being to protect its citizens. 2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state fulfil its primary responsibility. 3. If the state manifestly fails, or refuses to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, then the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures including economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered as the last resort and must be approved by the UN Security Council in the context of multilateralism.22 The International Criminal Court (ICC) that was created in 2002 is important in this context as a permanent multilateral tribunal established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war

19 Herborn

and Hutchinson (2014). UN Human Rights. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Human rights. Written by Burns H. Weston. topic/human-rights. 21 See: UN Civil Rights. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Civil rights. Written by Rebecca Hamlin. O’Reilly (2019). 22 UN Office on genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. Responsibility to Protect. 20 See:

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crimes and the crime of aggression.23 The role of the ICC is to bring anyone accused of such crimes, and especially politicians and government officials to trial. It is hoped that no longer can such people hide behind the concept of state sovereignty and immunity in international law; the message being that perpetrators and collaborators will be brought to justice, and so this will act as a deterrent to future potential war criminals.24

World Heritage Convention The most significant feature of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972) is that it links together in a single document the concepts of nature conservation and preservation of cultural properties. The Convention recognizes ways in which people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.25 Such a corpus of international law has helped to advance concepts regarding criminalisation of the intentional destruction of cultural heritage.26

Crime, Heritage and Memory Memory refers to ways in which people construct a sense or meaning of the past, and how they relate that past to their present in the act of remembering and is closely

23 To read more: sked%20questions/Pages/1.aspx. 24 See: YouTube: Multilateralism meaning and explanation What is Geopolitics? ICC; Why is the International Criminal Court under attack?—BBC News watch?v=CxfHYjg6MOU). R2P: What is the responsibility to protect (R2P)? vhAnb4. R2P in Crisis Following UN Syria Vote: 3 problems with the Responsibility to Protect: STiBw. Noam Chomsky: Against ‘Humanitarian Intervention’: xZQMhGe1pgM Humanitarianism and the R2P doctrine: A conversation with Professor Gareth Evans. https:// Which Countries Are Neutral? 25 The World Heritage Convention 26 See Criminalisation of the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage Ana Filipa Vrdoljak, University of Technology, Sydney. 2016. DestructionHeritage/NGOS/A.P.Vrdoljak_text1.pdf.


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linked to identity.27 Memory is an integral part of heritage that is recognized by the international scientific community as well as by many international and national government bodies and NGOs as a critical factor in the identity of communities and groups, and is included within the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. This recognition is linked to the development of changing perceptions of history to include concepts such as shared authority and co-created histories. Increasingly too, heritage sites are seen as a major contribution to sustainable growth and social and economic wellbeing of local communities, as well as to their sense of identity. According to International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, such a site is a place of memory—a museum, historic site, memorial, or memory initiative—that confronts both the history of what happened there and its contemporary legacies. Sites of Conscience begin by facing all aspects of history: stories of great cruelty, great courage, or everyday life. Then they go a step further, activating the historical perspective with dynamic public dialogue on related issues that can be faced today and what can be done about them. Sites of Conscience are places that interpret history through place and so to: (a) Engage the public in programs that stimulate dialogue on pressing social issues. (b) Share opportunities for public involvement and positive action on the issues raised at the site. (c) Promote justice and universal cultures of human rights.28 UNESCO in collaboration with NGOs and governments have promoted sites of memory regarding the Slave Trade in Africa, Indian Ocean areas (e.g. Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles), Europe, Caribbean, Latin America and USA.29 Some such sites include The House of Slaves and its Door of No Return, a museum and memorial to the Atlantic slave trade on Gorée Island, 3 km. off the coast of the city of Dakar, Senegal; dockland sites that formed part of the economic triangle slave trade in Nantes and Bordeaux in France, and in England, Bristol and Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum located in the Albert Docks, that focuses on the history and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade.30 A slavery 27 Memory. GGRV_enIE751IE751&oq=UN+Definition+of+site+of+memory&aqs=chrome..69i57.11008j 1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8. 28 International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. What Is a Site of Conscience? inky/stali-jsme-se-cleny-mezinarodni-koalice-mist-svedomi-sites-of-conscience/ICSC-Press-Kit. pdf. Sites of Conscience. George M. Anderson October 09, 2006. issue/586/article/sites-conscience. European Sites of Conscience Network. 08/Coalition_booklet_FINAL_LOW-RES.pdf. 29 See: UNESCO: Sites of Memory. mes/slave-route/transatlantic-slave-trade/. See: Slave Route 30 See: Island of Gorée:

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museum was established in the historic “Mercado de Escravos” (Slave Market) of the Portuguese port of Lagos, which is said to be the site of the first trade in enslaved Africans in Europe.31 Yet, Lisbon remains largely silent on its slavery legacy. UNESCO supports sites of conscience, defined as a place of memory—such as an historic site, place-based museum or memorial—that prevents the erasure of the memory from happening so as to ensure a more just and humane future. It could be argued that the generational time span between the horrific event that occurred in the past and that is embedded in the site of conscience, and the current observer at the site may pose cogitative challenges for several reasons. Therefore, the importance of witnesses and their accounts. In current conflicts, or political situations where populations are endangered, or major human rights abuses are being experienced, NGOs such as Amnesty International, Freedom House and MSF observe, witness, record and report in order to counteract official or unofficial denials, encouraging the international community to take action or at least a stance. Similarly, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières), is an international non-profit NGO that conducts political advocacy on issues regarding freedom of information and the press. Therefore, the perpetrators cannot credibly hide behind denials, propaganda, fake news, state or diplomatic immunity, or excuses that they didn’t know what was happening. A clear example of this is the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar as of 2015.32 Regarding witnesses, it is believed that the last living veteran of any nationality, of WWI (28 July 1914–11 November 1918) was Florence Green, a British citizen who served in the Allied armed forces, and who died 4 February 2012, aged 110. Claude Stanley Choules, an Anglo-Australian navy veteran died 5 May 2011 at 110 years old also. The last French veteran of WWI was Lazare Ponticelli who died in 2008, and concerning the German Empire—Central Powers, Erich Kästner (10 March 1900–1 January 2008).33 During the WWI commemorations worldwide, sites of memory along with the narratives of individuals were brought to global audiences Nantes Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery: Route des Abolitions. Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum: Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations. International Seminar on the management of slavery sites of memory. new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/slave-route/spotlight/international-seminar-on-themanagement-of-slavery-sites-of-memory/. 31 Portugal Visitor. Mercado de Escravos (Slave Market UNESCO. The African Slave Trade from the 15th to 19th Century. in/rest/annotationSVC/DownloadWatermarkedAttachment/attach_import_ef67d225-da66-45acb18f-1ec254681f76?_=038840engo.pdf. 32 Amnesty International. Freedom House. MSF: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) 33 List of last World War I veterans by country. War_I_veterans_by_country.


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by all sorts of media, and especially internet as with 1914–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of WWI, and Facing History and Ourselves.34 If a site of conscience is not formally marked or possibly not even acknowledged for various reasons by the local and, or national or international authorities or NGOs, then remembrance may just remain in the oral and ballad traditions, with multiple narratives that can become geographically dislocated or even replicated, disputed, reinterpreted and less accessible to historical and scientific analyses. The story may become more interesting than the truth! The actual site of conscience may be reinterpreted and reinvented successively by different elites or protest groups over the generations, using the site to legitimate their own actions and power; or to create a perception of ‘being important’ by association with a specific site suggesting a social, cultural, religious, political or ideological relationship or historical continuity with it. Specific dates or times of year may be chosen for official or unofficial ceremonial events and rituals. Here of course, certain historical actors may be added, restored or returned to the narrative, or else removed or made to disappear—depending on a multitude of agenda. Historical hindsight due to genuine scientific research may raise questions and warrant changes to be made to the narrative in word, icon or stone. However, legitimate revision is often challenged, usually on the grounds of the principle of free speech, especially in the liberal democratic traditions. Again revisionists may wish to bring new scientific evidence to the corpus of knowledge on events or sites, but such can also be abused falling into denial. Historical revision must not be confused with denial, popularly known as denialism—that aims to deny reality as a way of avoiding some psychologically uncomfortable truths as with all aspects of persecution, holocaust projects and crimes against humanity.35 Controversies exist regarding commemorative spaces dedicated to France’s Marshal Philippe Pétain, hero of the WWI Battle of Verdun (1916). He later became head of the puppet Vichy France state (1940–44) during the NAZI occupation, while the Vichy authorities participated in the roundup of prisoners of all categories and especially Jews for deportation to the concentration camps (1942–44). Denial of the systematic genocide killing of six million Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, is illegal in 17 European countries and Israel. Many countries also have broader laws that criminalize genocide denial.36 The disputed Armenian Genocide during WWI was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly citizens within the Empire. This included major massacres at Van in 1915. Other ethnic groups were 34 1914–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of WWI WWI_websites/index.html. Facing History and Ourselves. chapter-3/brutal-realities-world-war-i. 35 See: Denial—a 2016 British-American biographical drama film directed by Mick Jackson and written by David Hare, based on Deborah Lipstadt’s book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. It dramatizes the Irving v Penguin Books Ltd. case, in which Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar, was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel. 36 Wikipedia. Holocaust Denial.

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targeted for extermination also in the Assyrian genocide and Greek genocide during the period 1914–23. By 2018, 29 countries officially recognized these mass killings as genocide, as do most genocide scholars and historians. The Turkish authorities dispute the term genocide for these events.37 The Turkish government was accused of “trying to eclipses the centenary of the Armenian massacre commemorations by moving the Gallipoli memorial date, which leads to a clash of ceremonies, and the consequent participation of international dignitaries; this was condemned as an ‘indecent manoeuvre”.38 A network of 25 concentration camps was set up by the Ottoman government to dispose of the Armenians who had survived the forced deportations to their ultimate point, in the region of Turkey’s present-day borders with Iraq and Syria. Some of the camps were only transit points. Others, such as Radjo, Katma, and Azaz, were briefly used as mass graves and then vacated by Autumn 1915. Camps such as Lale, Tefridje, Dipsi, Del-El, and Ra’s al-’Ayn were built specifically for those whose life expectancy was just a few days. In this context also mass graves contained over 60,000 people in Meskene in present day northern Syrian. The citizens of Meskene once again witnessed the horrors of war with the occupation of the area by Daesh during the Syrian war (2015–).39 After WWI, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) in the Ottoman administrative system was found guilty of systematic and multi-faceted strategies for the destruction of the Armenian people and culture.40

37 See: Interview with: Gevorg Vardanyan—Acting Director of the Armenian Genocide MuseumInstitute. This video is part of the Global Campus MOOC on Memory Sites and Human Rights. Free enrolment at memory-sites-human-rights. See: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Armenian Genocide. By Ronald Grigor Suny. 38 Guardian. Turkey eclipses centenary of Armenian massacre by moving Gallipoli memorial. By Constanze Letsch. 16 April 2016. enia-1915-centenary-gallipoli-massacre-genocide. 39 Institute of the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem. ELIE WIESEL GENOCIDE AND ATROCITIES PREVENTION ACT SIGNED INTO LAW. 27 Fe. 2019. 27/elie-wiesel-genocide-and-atrocities-prevention-act-signed-into-law/. US Holocaust Encyclopaedia. The Armenian Genocide. tent/en/article/the-armenian-genocide-1915-16-overview. ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives (CHI): Planning for Safeguarding Heritage Sites in Syria and Iraq1 NEA-PSHSS-14-001 Weekly Report 87–88—March 30 to April 12, 2016 Michael D. Danti, Amr Al-Azm, Allison Cuneo, Susan Penacho, Bijan Rouhani, Marina Gabriel, Jamie O’Connell, Kyra Kaercher. ASOR_CHI_Weekly_Report_87%E2%80%9388r.pdf. 40 Encyclopedia Britannica. Armenian genocide—Turkish-Armenian history Written by: Ronald Grigor Suny. Armenian Genocide.


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Each Site of Conscience Is Unique Every site of memory and especially conscience is unique due to its specific tragedies and narratives, including internment camps. The term concentration camps comes into the literature in the decade prior to WWI, during the South African War— Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) between Great Britain and the two Boer (Afrikaner) republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State.41 The arguments for and against the preservation and presentation of such sites remain highly controversial but can be influenced by the length of the time-memory distance between the events that took place there, and the ‘now’—the current period, and what type of legacies may remain in the socio-political archaeology. Many examples of such political dilemmas remain to be resolved in Russia, while the authorities in Northern Ireland face challenges with such sites as the Maze H-Block Long Kesh Internment Camp.42 As a site of memory and conscience, UNESCO supports the Auschwitz Birkenau—German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940–1945) that is known worldwide. According to UNESCO: “The fortified walls, barbed wire, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place in the former concentration and extermination camp, the largest in the Third Reich. According to historical investigations, 1.5 million people, among them a great number of Jews, were systematically starved, tortured and murdered in this camp.”43 The Holocaust victims were people who were targeted by the NAZI authorities due to their ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation. Other Nazi camps included Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald in Germany that were then later used by the Soviets as a detention centre following WWII, and are now memorial sites of conscience. With Russian withdrawal from WWI, after the October Revolution (1917) and subsequent Civil War (1917–22), Soviet-Bolshevik Communism eventually became a major totalitarian ideology of the 20th century. Throughout the communist period in Russia, little official interest existed in commemorating WWI, being interpreted as a war amongst imperialists that took place before the birth of communism and WWII—the clash with fascism and the Nazis.44 41 1914–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of WWI. Enemy Alien and Internment Camps. By Matthew Stibbe. BCCD. British Concentration Camps of the South African War 1900–1902 https://www2.lib. 42 Irish Times. A prisoner of its past? The future of the Long Kesh/Maze. M.K. Flynn. 6 July 2016. Wikipedia. HM Prison Maze. 43 Auschwitz Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940–1945). https:// 44 See: 1941–18 Online—International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. Russian Empire.

By Joshua A. Sanborn. 30 Nov. 2014. mpire.

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A Soviet Gulag museum in Russia can now highlight repression of free speech.45 Regarding the Gulag Museum at Perm-36 Russia, in 1995 in the Perm region a unique memorial museum of the history of political repression was created in the former forced-labour camp for political prisoners. The core of this camp is the only surviving camp complex of buildings from Stalin’s gulag era. From 1919 on gulags were created, but only took on major proportions from 1929 until Stalin’s death in 1953. For nearly 20 years, the Memorial Centre in Perm-36 preserved and restored the dilapidated camp construction, and engaged in research, collecting, exposition, exhibition and education activities. In 2014, with the political changes in Russia, the Memorial Centre Perm-36 was removed from the museum and all buildings and facilities of the former camp, which are state property, were transferred to establish a state institution that has dramatically changed the mission of this former site of memory. It now presents the gulag as a vital component of the Soviet victory in World War II, so central to the nationalist vision of President Vladimir Putin regime in attempting to make Russia a world power once again.46

The fence at the old GULag in Perm, Russia. Source mons/e/e1/The_fence_at_the_old_GULag_in_Perm-36.JPG

The former Stasi (East German State Security Service) prison—Hohenschönhausen Memorial in Berlin is a reminder of the fate of the thousands who fell victim, 45 Russia’s

Gulag History State Museum. Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Gulag Museum at Perm-36 Russia. https://www. The Tag Gulag in Czechia was recognized as a site of conscience in 2009. https://www.siteso Fund B92 Serbia Initiative for the construction of a memorial educational centre. https://chwb. org/albania/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/08/Coalition_booklet_FINAL_LOW-RES.pdf. 46 International


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as prisoners of conscience, to political persecution in the former East Germany.47 Looking carefully at this site of memory, it’s possible to read the use of this place during WWI, and leading up to WWII, when this building was associated with the Nazi regime, but its role changed after 1945. This site is now open with guided tours for visitors.

Hohenschönhausen Gedenkstätte, Berlin. Source ensch%C3%B6nhausen_Gedenkst%C3%A4tte_02.jpg

In Vilnius, Lithuania—the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights (commonly known as the KGB or Genocide Museum) reflects the WWI, NAZI and Soviet periods with its chilling torture and death chambers included in the iconic building, while its usages by the different occupying forces during WWI are also presented.48

47 Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. enkstatte-berlin-hohenschonhausen/. 48 THE KGB BUILDING. PRISON and MEMORIALS. VILNIUS. lithuania/the-kgb-building-prison-and-memorials-vilnius/.

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Museum of Genocide, Vilnius. Note: Interrogation/Execution chamber: glass floor over skeletal remains (bottom right). Source Gerry O’Reilly

In 2001, the Museum of Communism in Prague, Czechia was opened and dedicated to presenting an account of the post–WWII Communist regime in Czechoslovakia offering an immersive look at life behind the Iron Curtain, but also referencing the flow of events from 1914 to 1945.49 Of note in promoting sites of conscience is the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, an educational project of the EU bringing together government institutions and NGOs from EU countries active in research, documentation, awareness raising and education about the crimes of totalitarian regimes. Its membership includes 55 government agencies and NGOs from 13 EU states as well as from the USA, such as the Institute of National Remembrance, the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, the Stasi Records Agency and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. The platform has offices in Prague and Brussels.50

49 Museum of Communism duct_id=2571aid=1703766;label=&aid=318615;label=New_English_EN_IE_201537060251owzNxtgdokbg*yIzxrErgS77620568665:pl:ta:p1:p2:ac:ap1t1:neg;ws=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI ksTR8Z_x4wIVSrDtCh1TRQKxEAAYASAAEgK5yPD_BwE. 50 See: Platform of European Memory and Conscience and


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The Challenges of Racism Racism pertains to prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Also, the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. However, in everyday language and culture, the term racist is now becoming used in a myriad of ways to designate someone (or group, or organization) that expresses prejudicial views or actions against other people because they are, or are perceived to be different—including racial characteristics such as colour, but also ethnicity, culture, religion, language and so forth. This can lead to stereotyping with all its negative consequences. Unconscious, and also organized racial profiling uses such as grounds for suspecting someone of being dangerous and, or having committed an offence. When translated into fundamentalist-speak—of any religion, the ‘different ones’ can be seen as degenerate, corrupt, evil, not favoured by god, unholy, not fully human and iterations thereof. Daesh managed to bring its hatespeak to new levels globally via the Internet, as have neo-Nazi, white supremacist and Alt-Right groups also. This has engendered much debate regarding state security organization such as policing, but also foreign relations policies as with the USA in the past decade and its travel bans. Executive Order 13769, entitled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the USA, often referred to as the Muslim ban was an executive order by US President Trump that his administration tried to implement between January and March 2017, but was eventually rescinded due to the actions of other branches of the US political and legal administrations. At the present time, it could be argued that the over-use, loose, or imprecise usage of the word racist by many people in ordinary everyday speech has almost rendered it a synonym for accusing someone of prejudice against anybody or anything, or at worst simply to put someone down whoever disagrees with the accuser on any social or political issue. Over time this may lead to a banalization of the term detracting from its original meaning.

Memory and Attempted Eradication of People, Culture and Sites Holocaust perpetrators use propaganda including fear, pride and prejudice—demonizing the targeted ‘enemy’ in order to try justify their means and ends. Regarding anti-Semitism ranging from state collusion in pogroms in Tsarist Russia (especially 19th century) to direct state action and Shoah with Nazism (1938–45) in Germany, Austria and numerous countries, there are many sites of memory as epitomized by death camps such as Auschwitz, but the memories are also upheld outside Europe as in Israel with Yad Vashem—The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, situated

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on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. Likewise, the official US Holocaust Memorial Museum is located in Washington, DC, while the first Holocaust centre in Africa, was South Africa’s Cape Town Holocaust Centre established in 1999.51 In contrast to such large sites of memory, the Stolperstein or “stumbling stone” (10 by 10 centimetres) concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution have been installed in several countries including Germany, Netherlands, Czechia, Italy, France and so forth, starting in 1992. The little unobtrusive slab or plaque embedded in the path or wall of a building or ordinary house recording the person or family name of the victim, date and event is found in many parts of Germany providing a memory cue stirring empathy to connect with another real individual as does larger places of memory at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam for instance.52

Cultural Eradication As well as killing specific ‘categories of people’ there have been many attempts at cultural eradication as symbolized by places of memory ranging from the Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans, to 1948 following the conquest of the Old City of Jerusalem by the Arab Legion, under the Jordanian annexation when Jewish sites were systematically wrecked, all but one of the 35 synagogues of the Jewish quarter were destroyed.53 The walls and dome and roof of the 7th-century Al-Omari Mosque in Gaza City, Palestine, were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in 2014, in addition to several other mosques that were destroyed in the assault. Regarding other Palestinian symbolic sites it is alleged that they cannot be accessed “to protect them or even collect data for UNESCO… leaving… them vulnerable to damage and destruction by settlers, the Israeli army and looters,” The Palestine Chronicle (2016) also states that more “than 200 sites have been taken over by illegal Jewish settlements, and 1,000 damaged or destroyed by Israel’s construction of its separation barrier”.54 51 MEMORIAL and MUSEUM: AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU FORMER GERMAN NAZI CONCENTRATION and EXTERMINATION CAMP. Yad Vashem—The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre The official US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Cape Town, Holocaust Centre 52 Re: Stolperstein, see: Anne Frank Museum. http:// 53 Wikipedia. Islamization of East Jerusalem under Jordanian occupation. wiki/Islamization_of_East_Jerusalem_under_Jordanian_occupation. Simone Ricca (2007) Reinventing Jerusalem: Israel’s Reconstruction of the Jewish Quarter After 1967. Bloomsbury Academic. 54 Palestine Chronicle. Palestinian Heritage Sites in Need of Protection from Israeli Annexation. May 20 2016. AL JAZEERA, PC.


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During the Balkan Wars, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), parts of Mostar’s old city and highly iconic bridge were targeted and destroyed by Serbian backed forces in 1993. It has since been reconstructed as a priority. While during the Serb siege of Sarajevo (1992–96), the historic National Library—City Hall was set on fire destroying almost two million books. The building was ceremoniously reopened in 2014.55

Vedran Smailovi´c playing in the partially destroyed National Library in Sarajevo in 1992. Source

For many observers, the ‘book burning’ held echoes of Germany, May 10, 1933, when university students burn upwards of 25,000 “un-German” books in Berlin’s Opera Square and some 40,000 people gathered to hear Joseph Goebbels deliver a fiery address; followed in the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass, 9–10 November 1938) when Nazi paramilitary forces and German civilians murdered or else arrested Jewish people for deportation to concentration camps and destroyed Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools and 1,000 synagogues were burned including 95 in Vienna.56 55 The Telegraph. 9 May 2014. Sarajevo reopens historic city hall and library destroyed in war (Reuters) toric-city-hall-and-library-destroyed-in-war.html. 56 List of destroyed heritage List of book-burning incidents nia_and_Herzegovina_.282014.29.

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The deliberate destruction of Warsaw’s old town buildings and poignant iconic historic sites by the Nazis in 1944 was prolonged due to the alleged deliberate delay of the Soviet entry into the city to liberate it.57 The old town square was meticulously reconstructed between 1945 and 51 by the Polish authorities in collaboration with UNESCO in a refusal to let this physical representation of Poland’s memory be obliterated.58 While the theft of works of art throughout Europe by the Nazis must be noted here.59 Events witnessed in WWI and its sites of memory in such places as Leuven/Louvain, Reims, Van and Anatolia were harbingers of the above sample of examples throughout the 20th century. Hence the importance of greater input into the educational aspects of such sites and support for the enforcement of international legislation including the ICC. In more recent times, Jihadi Islamists deliberately planned the destruction of cultural sites including the 6th century monumental statues of the Buddha, at Bamiyan, Afghanistan, dynamited by the Taliban in 2001. In Syria, Daesh destroyed the pre-Islamic Lion of Al-l¯at, the temples of Bel and Baalshamin, the Arch of Triumph and other major sites in historic Palmyra, as well as the Monastery of St. Elian, the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church, and several ancient sculptures in the city of Raqqa (2014–15). In the same mind-set, in 2013, Islamists in Mali, affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) burned two libraries containing thousands of the Timbuktu Manuscripts, dating back as far as 1202 and written in such languages as Arabic, Songhai, Tamasheq, Bambara, Hebrew, and Turkish.60 Again reminiscent of the burning of books—Louvain (1914), the Nazis (1939–45) and Sarajevo (1992). Greater reflection as with WWI commemorations, including spaces of memory, and conscience, is vital in order to prevent repetition of human-made atrocities committed due to ‘upping the ante’ in extremism in the name of political constructs often fuelled by distortions of ethnic or national or god narratives producing syncretic ideologies that sustain hate, violence, war and destruction. In countering this, the work of the UN, UNESCO, CoE, EU and others must be acknowledged and further supported by government, multilateralism and populace alike. Significantly, on Armistice Day 2018, the Paris Peace Forum was launched, underlining the message 57 Warsaw

Uprising. Centre of Warsaw 59 Regarding some major artistic achievements of civilization, their birth places, and what they represent and their messages, in contrast to the activities of the Nazis, ‘The Monuments Men’ (2014) war film was directed by George Clooney and based on the non-fiction book, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (2007) by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter. See: The True Story of the Monuments Men: Without the work of these curators and professors, tens of thousands of priceless works of art would have been lost to the world forever. By Jim Morrison. February 7, 2014 60 Manuscripts in Timbuktu nia_and_Herzegovina_.282014.29. 58 Historic


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that peace is linked with good global governance, and promoting a range of projects directly related to current challenges ranging from environment and climate change to economic development, sustainability, migration, war, peace, education and globalization and the SDGs.61 Electorates in the so called mature democracies especially, must take personal responsibility in endorsing or not the power of political leaders and parties as witnessed during the 2019 European elections.

Conclusions In order to credibly subscribe to sustainable development, underwritten by human rights and democracy ideals, Geography as a discipline—with skills, competencies and knowledge must contribute to innovative and radical approaches. There is an ethical obligation to go beyond machino-logic in the financial drive to increase educational ‘product’ at any cost in order to increase client numbers. Personal responsibility and international regulation of corporate entities must be enhanced. One has just to think of the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, and also use of social media by extremists ranging from neo-Nazis to jihadi promoting hatred, racism, holocaust and denialism. Those who cannot, or even refuse to remember past human-made atrocities run the risk of repeating them. Helping to counter this is the positive work being done on sites of memory, and conscience or shame with UNESCO, interstate agencies and NGOs often leading the way. Analyses of sites of memory help give insights into socio-political constructs, that can be used in either positive or negative ways. Educators in Europe as elsewhere, have a responsibility to include knowledge of remembrance and atrocities and genocides ranging from WWI and WWII, to the colonial and Yugoslavia wars (1991–2001); today human-made catastrophes are not unique to the Global South. Interpretations of sites of memory from various standpoints include geopolitics of memory and emotions, and so research is expected to respond, empowering citizens to reflect and create sustainable futures. Now, memorialization contributes to wider inclusive interpretations of history, heritage, human rights and tourism. This is supported by the European Construction Project that embraces challenges, with its geographies of memories that can foster debate and cooperation as witnessed throughout Europe during the 2014–18 WWI commemorations including ceremonial usage of symbolic sites in Verdun, the Somme, Gallipoli and elsewhere. This serves as a reminder that in recent decades, state regimes that refuse to protect, or perpetrate crimes against their populations from war crimes and massive human rights abuses can no longer hide behind traditional state sovereignty constructs and immunity concepts, due to the UN Responsibility to Protect (R2P), whereby the international community is obliged to take action against such regimes, or groups or individuals. This is reinforced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its remit to prosecute and bring to trial those accused. Those promoting crimes 61 Paris

Peace Forum.

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against humanity, holocaust or eradication of people, their culture and heritage are now confronted by the R2P and ICC premised on a multilateral remit and actions, underpinning the advances made by the UN since 1945. The landmark, UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972) brought together existing legislation, recognizing that heritage and memory are intermeshed, as with sites of memory and consequently those of conscience. By 2018, UNESCO being informed by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC), had laid out enhanced criteria for the recognition, listing and management of such sites. Many of these can be controversial that confronts both the history of what happened there and its contemporary legacies. Also must be taken into account the massive growth of tourism activities in such areas with regional and national implications. The generational time span between the horrific event that occurred and that is embedded in the site of conscience, and the current observer at the site may pose cogitative challenges for several reasons. Sites of Conscience are places that: interpret history through site and engage the public in programs intended to stimulate dialogue on pressing social issues; share opportunities for public involvement and positive action on topics raised at the site; and promote justice and universal cultures of human rights.62 The actual site of conscience may be reinterpreted and reinvented successively by different power elites or protest groups over the generations, using the site to justify or legitimate their own actions and power. Vigilance is needed against any form of denialism ranging from the number of fatalities in conflict to the deliberate targeting of ethnic groups, nations or heritages, to the genocide projects nourished by racism and extreme nationalism. Due to the new world order, geopolitical reconfigurations and ideals that emerged in the aftermath of 1918, many countries ranging from the Baltic states and Russia to the Balkans, Turkey and Greece, eastern and central Europe to Ireland are continuing with commemorations vis-à-vis their specific place-based memories in the wider European context. Despite conflicting voices, contentions and ghosts from the past, shared memorial spaces can act in post conflict areas as sites of ‘working together’ and reconciliation. Nonetheless, ‘the peace’ cannot be taken for granted with insecurities, globalization, and nationalistic reactions in the USA and Russia; the UK’s Brexit stress and populist movements in Europe—France, Netherlands, Greece, and some Visegrád and Balkan countries. Citizen-fatigue is reflected in socio-political malaise and violence mirrored in many areas in Europe. Empathy with other peoples’ official and unofficial memory places and narratives can assist citizens learn from the past.

62 International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. What Is a Site of Conscience? inky/stali-jsme-se-cleny-mezinarodni-koalice-mist-svedomi-sites-of-conscience/ICSC-Press-Kit. pdf. Sites of Conscience. George M. Anderson October 09, 2006. https://www.americamagazine. org/issue/586/article/sites-conscience. European Sites of Conscience Network. 2016/08/Coalition_booklet_FINAL_LOW-RES.pdf.


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Memory sites promoted by the EU, Council of Europe and UNESCO may tend to homogenize diverse local memories. Nevertheless, they act as vectors in memorialization, stimulating debate and re-evaluating narratives—that can help in the construction of better sustainable futures. According to Paul Ricœur (2000) in La mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli—the purpose of all interpretation is to conquer remoteness, a distance between the past cultural epoch to which the text belongs and the interpreter himself.

References Herborn Peter J, Hutchinson Francis P (2014) ‘Landscapes of remembrance’ and sites of conscience: exploring ways of learning beyond militarising ‘maps’ of the future. J Peace Edu 11(2):131–149. Hoyt EP (1981) Guerrilla: Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck and Germany’s East African Empire. Macmillan Publishing Co. National Library Singapore. 1915 Indian (Singapore) Mutiny. By Tan, Bonny written on 2001-11-22., http://infope O’Reilly G (2019) Aligning Geopolitics, Humanitarian Action and Geography in Times of Conflict. Springer Santayana G (1905) Reason in Common Sense, p. 284, volume 1 of The Life of Reason

The First World War and Peace: Boundaries, Legacies and Commemorations

Introduction In Part 2, places of memory are appraised in Ireland, Turkey, Slovenia and Italy regarding WWI commemorations and legacies. At the start of the Great War in 1914, Ireland was part of the UK at the centre of the British Empire, Turkey was at the core of the Ottoman Empire, Slovenia was an integral part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as was the Trieste port-city region. Due to the war by 1918, their geopolitical landscapes and borders were in flux. Ireland’s historical trajectory of seeking independence from Britain via cycles of constitutional and armed resistance was epitomised by the Easter Rising (1916), overwhelming victory of the nationalist Sinn Féin party throughout most of the island with the exception of the north-east in the 1918 general elections, establishment of a counter state (1919) and pursuant War of Independence (1919–1921) between the Irish Republican Army and British forces, Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) partitioning the island and Civil War between Pro- and Anti- Treaty forces (1922–1923). Ireland gained the status of Free State and eventually became a constitutional Republic. A major figure in shaping the narrative in Ireland was Éamon de Valera and his Fianna Fáil party, elected to government in 1932, that promoted a nationalist and highly conservative catholic ethos in collaboration with the church authorities, largely writing WWI out of the state narrative and commemorations. This was in contrast to the ‘new’ state of Northern Ireland (approximately 17% of the territorial area of the island) that remained within the UK that promoted a highly conservative Protestant state with an armed police force in which nationalists were discriminated against; with Edward Carson being the major figure in the creation of Northern Ireland’s Unionist narrative. Ireland declared its neutrality during WWII, in contrast to Northern Ireland within the UK. Both Ireland and the UK joined the EU in 1973, and this facilitated many issues regarding Northern Ireland that has a 500 km. border with the Republic. With the defeat of the Central Powers and collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish War of Independence (Turkish: Kurtulu¸s Sava¸sı—War of Liberation, 1919– 1923) was fought between the Turkish National Movement and the proxies of the Allies—namely Greece, Armenia, France, royalists and separatists in various cities,


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and with them, the UK and Italy in Istanbul (the historic Constantinople). A few of the occupying British, French and Italian troops were engaged in combat. All parts of the Empire were occupied and partitioned as in the Middle East with Britain and France. Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938), hero of WWI and the Turkish War of Independence, was the architect of modern Turkey and left strong legacies, including the official separation of state and religion. While he promoted a strongly nationalist perspective at home promoting Turkification at all costs, including that of the Kurds, he followed a strong multilateralist approach internationally in the many inter-state organizations founded after WWII including joining the Council of Europe in 1950. Turkey remained neutral until the final stages of WWII and tried to maintain an equal distance between both the Axis and the Allies until February 1945, when Turkey entered the war on the side of the Allies against Germany and Japan. Turkey applied for full EU membership in 1987, promoting its progressive economy and market opportunities, longstanding membership of European and international organizations, NATO involvement, and geographical location on two continents facilitating a bridging role between the Middle East and Europe, and Christian and Islamic cultural spheres.1 Regarding governance in Turkey today, the following considerations have to be borne in mind: (i) balancing the challenges of conservative tradition juxtaposed with modernity and globalization processes; (ii) the class and urban-rural socio-cultural divides, and rural exodus; (iii) the historic political agitation regarding the Kurds; (iv) fallout from the attempted coup d’état (2016) whatever its origins; (v) fundamentalistterrorism and associated-networks throughout the country; (vi) geopolitical implication in the Syrian War; (vii) providing security for at least 3.5 million registered Syrian refugees, not including the number of ‘unofficial’ refugees by 2020; and (viii) the challenging role that Turkey is playing at the behest of the EU to ‘prevent’ refugees and migrants exiting Turkey on their trek from the Middle East to the EU through the Balkans. With the defeat of the Central Powers and downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the new Kingdom of Yugoslavia (literally meaning Southern Slavs) was created with the proclamation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs in Congress Square in Ljubljana on 20 October 1918. This caused shifting narrative paradigms in Slovenian memory between forgetting, and defeat and triumph. This entails some strands almost denying the WWI experience with the loss of territory and how a majority of Slovenian men had fought in the forces of the defeated Austro-Hungarian Army. This perspective diverges from the triumphant rhetoric of the Serbian narrative that emphasized the ‘Yugoslav’ volunteers in the fall of Austrian power and creation of the new Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers in 1941. In 1943, a socialist Federal Yugoslavia was proclaimed by the Partisan resistance. In 1944, King Peter II recognised it as the legitimate government and the monarchy was subsequently abolished.

1 Helen

B. McCartney and David G. Morgan-Owen. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War: national and trans-national perspectives. Journal War and Society. Volume 36, 2017— Issue 4. Pages 235–238 | Published online: 27 Oct 2017.

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Following WWII, the ‘conflict was withdrawn’ from public memory as was territorial loss and international treaties, being put to the margins of remembrance. WWII sidelined WWI and changed perspectives on interpreting the Great War. The Austrian storyline had promoted the multi-ethnic nature of the empire for the Slovenians and the rest, and the new Serbian-Yugoslav narrative presented the defeat of Austria as a liberation for the Slovenes but within the new Yugoslav story. The public bearers of the interwar Slovenian memory were Slovenian war veterans, looking for support and acknowledgement of the efforts of the Slovenian soldiers in WWI. This prevented the formation of a uniform Yugoslav historical discourse for WWI. The principal activity of Slovenian war veterans was concentrated around the economic issues of the veterans, war invalids and war widows, as well as dedicated to the memory of their fallen comrades, which resulted in more than 160 memorials and memorial plaques all over the Slovenian territory, but they were unable to ensure a central Slovenian memorial or a monument to the Unknown Soldier. The strains in the Slovenian narrative come to the fore during WWII and are exemplified by the collaborationist General Leon Rupnik, who cooperated with the Fascist Italian and Nazi German WWII occupation and he also served as the President of the Provincial Government of the Nazi-occupied Province of Ljubljana (1943–1945) and chief inspector of the Slovene Home Guard, a collaborationist militia.2 After WWII, the Slovenian narrative of WWI was further marginalized by the Communist Yugoslav narrative. With the Yugoslav Wars (1991–2001), Slovenian independence was declared in 1991 in Ljubljana’s Congress (Republic) Square, and it became a member state of the EU in 2004. By establishing the National Committee for commemorating the 100th Anniversary of WWI in 2012, Slovenia became actively involved in the Pan-European commemoration of the WWI Centenary.3 The shifting boundaries in the Slovenian-Italian borderlands 1918–1945 greatly impacted the region and its peoples producing many places of memory, including several dark sites of consciences that still have to be researched. Trieste is approximately 40km. from the Slovenian border, or 95 km. from Ljubljana and over the centuries has acted as an economic pole for many Slovenes. In November 1918, it was incorporated into Italy. While the formal annexation of the city and Venezia Giulia, however, came only two years later, 1920–1921, when it became effective with the Treaty of Rapallo.4 In Italy, Benito Mussolini (1883–1945—Il Duce—The Leader) created the Fascist Party (1919) and eventually became dictator (1922–1943). Regulating relations between church and state, he signed the Lateran Treaty (1929) with the Vatican and also promoted extreme nationalism and imperialism. In 1940, Italy joined WWII as an ally of Nazi Germany, but switched sides in 1943 seeing how the war was progressing. Italy was a founding member of the EEC/EU in 1957 with the Treaty of Rome. 2 Leon

Rupnik. Military. memory of you will be eternal: WWI. By Petra Svoljšak, Milko Kos Historical Institute, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. and_world_war_i/index.html. 4 Centenario Prima Guerra Mondiale 2014/18. 3 The


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In the Italian-Ottoman War (1911–1912), Italy captured the Tripolitania province in Libya including Cyrenaica and Tripoli, with them eventually being merged into Italian Libya. In the second war with Libya (Italian-Senussi War, 1923–1932), Italian forces had mainly colonial troops fighting against indigenous rebels. One quarter of Cyrenaica’s population of 225,000 people died. Italy committed multiple war crimes including the use of chemical weapons, often refusing to take prisoners of war and executing surrendering combatants, and mass executions of civilians. Italian authorities forcibly expelled 100,000 Bedouins, half the population of Cyrenaica, from their settlements that were taken for Italian settlers. In 2008, an agreement of compensation for damages caused by Italian colonial rule was signed between Italy and Libya. At the signing ceremony, the Italian Prime Minister declared: “In this historic document, Italy apologizes for its killing, destruction and repression of the Libyan people during the period of colonial rule… a complete and moral acknowledgement of the damage inflicted on Libya by Italy during the colonial era.” Several political groups in Italy protested this act of acknowledgement and reconciliation.5 Following WWI, not only Ireland, Turkey, Slovenia and Croatia, but also Italy, Austria and the UK had to face not only state building or rebuilding depending on the respective countries, but also consensus and democracy construction that took different paths including the state’s relationships with god, monarchy, republican or Left or Right wing narratives. Challenges in all these states remained the issue of minorities beside the strong nationalist storylines, alongside the reinvigorated imperial project for Italy and Britain. Remembrance of WWI, official in some countries or ‘ignored’ by the regime in others, took on different iterations among the populations. Nonetheless, the WWI Centennial has reinvigorated both official and public reactions to commemorations and places of memory, especially in Europe showing the differences, but highlighting the shared similarities for the public on the horrors of war, achievements and fragilities in the democracy project and the importance of having places of memory and associated ceremonies that cut across cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and ideological lines, reinforcing concepts of ‘humanity’, in an age of the globalization of individualism and indifference.

5 Storia.

March 2009 Italy-Libya: controversy over Berlusconi’s “historical apology”. By Emanuele Mastrangelo

Kaleidoscoping Centennial Memories (2012–23) in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin Gerry O’Reilly

Abstract Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin is appraised here as a space of memory; a nexus for people from the area and Ireland, containing ordinary graves, but also monuments of national figures. According to the state website—Decade of Centenaries: “The period 1912–22 was one of the most eventful in Ireland’s history… (the centennial) aims to commemorate each step… in a tolerant, inclusive and respectful way.” It is understood this includes the Civil War period (1922–23), occasioned by the Anglo-Irish Treaty and partition of the island (1921). Reference is made to student exploratory projects carried out in 2017. Framing of metanarratives is reviewed in contexts focalizing on WWI centennials and current national issues. The UK’s Brexit Referendum to leave the EU took place (2016), with majorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland voting to remain. People were reminded of the burdens of history but also development progress achieved since Ireland and the UK joined the EU (1973), and how membership facilitated the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and Peace Process bringing an end to armed violence (1968–98) in Northern Ireland. Keywords Glasnevin · Cemetery · Memorials · Narratives · Nationalisms · WWI centennials · Brexit

Introduction: Commemorations and Glasnevin Cemetery Glasnevin Cemetery (53.3728° N, 6.2768° W) Dublin is reviewed as a space1 of memory with its interweaving of iconography, utopian ideals and narratives, before investigating its uses in commemorations for Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries that 1 Decade of Centenaries should be noted here, that since its launch, this website has been continuously updated adding historical data and commemoration events as they are evolving. It is becoming a site of memory for future generations to engage with. 2 BBC News. EU Referendum Results.

G. O’Reilly (B) School of History and Geography, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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is creating2 new storylines and iconic sites within the cemetery. For instance, new monuments include the WWI Cross of Sacrifice for people from Ireland in the British and Commonwealth forces, the France-Ireland Memorial, and Necropolis Memorial Wall regarding the 1916 Easter Rising. Spaces of memory signify cultural landmarks, practices and expressions stemming from a shared material and existential past. Essentially, a space, site, repository or place that an individual or groups, feel a connection with or that causes emotions may be deemed as a ‘lieu de mémoire’.3 A milieu ‘de mémoire’ references immediate community and social environments in which people live, where something happens or develops. It includes the culture that the individual was educated or lives in; people and institutions with whom they interact; experiences, perceptions and witness of those in situ who lived through the actual events, and those who organize commemorations, and the public participating in remembrances. Glasnevin cemetery acts as a node of memory for people from the local area and other parts of Dublin who have been interring loved ones there since 1832, but it also contains monuments and graves of many national figures including romantic nationalist personages: O’Donovan Rossa (1831–1915) legendary republican activist, and human rights campaigner and revolutionary Sir Roger Casement (1864–1916) executed in England in 1916, and reinterred in Glasnevin in1965, for the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.4 In 2001 the remains of medical student Kevin Barry and nine other volunteers from the War of Independence, executed by British forces in 1920, were given a state funeral being ceremoniously transported from Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison for reinternment in Glasnevin.5 With over 1.5 million interments, innumerable plots—individual, family and wider collective narratives exist. For instance, 800,000 people have been buried

3 Commission franco-québécoise sur les lieux de mémoire communs, « Lieux de mémoire» https:// Encyclopaedia Britannica. Cemetery. Written by: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 4 Century Ireland. State Commemoration of the Funeral of O’Donovan Rossa. RTÉ coverage of the State Commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery on 1 August 2015. Presented by David McCullagh studio guests Professor Mary Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy and Dr. Conor Mulvagh, lecturer at the UCD School of History and Archives. AMoVw. Irish Honour Sir Roger Casement (1965). Century Ireland. Sir Roger Casement Features. the stone native eland/index.php/articles/themes/sir+roger+casement/guides. Who was Roger Casement? Author and historian Angus Mitchell talks about the life and work of Roger Casement. Embassy of Ireland, Great Britain. Roger Casement: human rights campaigner and Irish patriot. 5 Johnson (2005).

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in unmarked graves. Included here are victims of the Great Famine (1845–48).6 In 2016, the first official famine memorial at Glasnevin was inaugurated.7 Generally, people believe Glasnevin is an official national cemetery like Arlington in Virginia, USA, or the Pantheon in Paris. It has taken on the role of the national cemetery more so by stealth that legislation, and is managed by the Glasnevin Trust, governed by the Dublin Cemeteries Committee established in 1828. It has become a major space in the state’s organization of restoration works, monuments, commemoration rituals and pageantry, projecting past, present and future images of Ireland, creating new memories and traditions. This is reinforced with the museum that was opened in 2010, with burgeoning visitor numbers.8 According to the Decade of Centenaries Commemoration programme: “The period from 1912 to 1922 was one of the most eventful in Ireland’s history. From the campaign for Home Rule, through WWI and the Easter Rising of 1916 to the foundation of the Free State, this was a decade of great change. Campaigns for social reforms—highlighted by the suffrage movement and the 1913 (Workers) Lockout, for example—also went hand in hand with political events. The… programme aims to commemorate each step that Ireland took between 1912 and 1922 in a tolerant, inclusive and respectful way.”9 Though not explicitly stated, this includes the Civil War (1922–23). For manifold reasons, people in Ireland have held conflicting perspectives on WWI commemorations as Ireland was part of the UK when the Great War started in 1914, but the period 1916–23 witnessed major changes in Ireland’s political landscape due 6 Independent.

The final resting place of the nation’s great and good. By Damian Corless on why even in the after-life it is location, location, location. August 6 2014. 77728.html. 7 Irish Times. Sep 11, 2016 President unveils new memorial to those who died in Famine: Midnineteenth century cross ‘will serve as a permanent memorial to and reminder of those people’. Written by Fiach Kelly. Merrion Street: Irish Governments News Service. 11 September2016 Famine Cross Unveiled at Annual Famine Commemoration. Unveiled_Annual_Famine_Commemoration.html. Nuala C. Johnson. Where Geography and History Meet: Heritage Tourism and the Big House in Ireland. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Vol. 86, No. 3 (Sep. 1996), pp. 551– 566. O’Neill, A. (2016). Ghosts of the Great Hunger Irish at Grosse Île, Canada. [online] Available at: See Movie: Black ‘47 (2018)—Irish period drama film directed by Lance Daly with by PJ Dillon, Pierce Ryan, Eugene O’Brien and Lance Daly, based on the Irish-language short film An Ranger, written and directed by Dillon and Ryan. Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the narrative follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. The title is taken from the most devastating year of the famine, 1847, which is referred to as “Black ‘47". 8 Glasnevin Cemetery Museum Glasnevin Cemetery: Nine fascinating facts you never knew about the historic graveyard. By Kayla Walsh. 24 FEB 2017. cinating-facts-12652401. 9 Decade of Centenaries


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to the independence struggles. In Glasnevin at the Armistice Day commemoratives on 11 November 2018, the President spoke of Ireland’s ‘official amnesia’ regarding WWI.10 Restoration work began in Glasnevin in 2007 in preparation for the Centenaries— people and events that have been seminal in shaping Ireland, with the organizers projecting an open inclusive democracy honouring its past, and moving forward while reconciling old and new perspectives. Along with restorations, such as that of the O’Connell Tower, work was carried out on the Angels Plot, at a period when controversies continue surrounding women and children’s rights, historical legacies and deficiencies of the state authorities in establishing a more democratic post-colonial Ireland. Whether people want to visit a loved one’s grave, meditate or just stroll around a park; or in a place-specific context connect with historical figures and plots, or have a professional tour guided emplotment of thematic narratives including that of revolutionary women, this is possible.11 Now with museum facilities, Glasnevin cemetery is being rated among the 10 must see sites by tourist websites.12

Landscape and Organization Walking around the Cemetery, one is reminded of the Danse Macabre artistic genre of allegory on the universality of death. No matter one’s station in life, the dance unites everyone. Its images consist of the dead or a personification of death summoning people from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and labourer. These mementos (mori) or reminders, retell people of the fragility of their lives; how vain are earthly glories.13 In their project work in Glasnevin, several third level Geography students made reference to the juxtaposition of elaborate memorial graves in contrast to the simplicity of others such as that of Eamon De Valera in his family plot, a formative figure in Ireland’s national narrative. Such ‘national’ graves are located very close to those of ordinary citizens (Fig. 1).

10 Irish Times. Nov 11, 2018 President speaks of Ireland’s ‘official amnesia’ on first World War: Michael D Higgins also warns against new international arms race at Armistice event. Written by Marie O’Halloran, Colin Gleeson. 1& resident-speaks-of-ireland-s-official-amnesia-on-first-world-war-1.3693673. 11 Glasnevin Trust. 2014 Women’s Tours Return. news/womens-tours-return/. 12 Trip Advisor. Glasnevin Cemetery. 4896-Reviews-Glasnevin_Cemetery_Museum-Dublin_County_Dublin.html. 13 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Dance of death.

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Fig. 1 The De Valera family plot, Glasnevin cemetery 2018. Source Gerry O’Reilly

Landscape Architecture Glasnevin was designed to be a garden cemetery in a style that had become fashionable since Père Lachaise cemetery was created in Paris (1804). The initial area of 3.6 ha. (now 50 ha.) was judiciously laid out to avoid it evolving organically. Large paths were created to facilitate carriages and hearses, and are lined with ornamental trees: Lebanon Cedar, Red Sequoia, Oak, Beech, and Yew sacred to Celts and Christians for its longevity. While its main function was for burial, it was designed to be a park to wander and enjoy the architecture and sculpture. Artists were pleased to accept commissions, including James Pearse, father of the revolutionary leaders Padraig and Willie, executed following the 1916 Rising.

Spatial Organization The rich and powerful were interred in ornate private tombs, while the poor often went into unmarked common ground—the pauper’s plot. Special areas were created for victims of epidemics such as smallpox (1871–72), cholera (1865–66)


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Fig. 2 Orientation map: glasnevin cemetery. Source Glasnevin cemetery

or typhoid (1846–49) and famine-related illnesses (1845–48). The Spanish flu— influenza epidemic (1918), witnessed 240 funerals over a 48-day period; the norm being twelve. As the cemetery grew, further burial areas were created, for different groups of people including the working and middle classes, and others included the area for the College of Surgeons, and spaces for religious communities such as the Jesuits, Dominicans and Carmelites. Among the most famous area is the Republican plot for people involved in the national liberation struggles (1916–23). At a short but significant distance, the distinctive Irish Army area holds the grave of the ProTreaty revolutionary ‘hero’ Michael Collins killed in the Civil War.14 Overall in the cemetery-scape exists a spatiality of archaeologies; territorialities reflecting power structures that have gradually changed, being reinvented over time (Fig. 2).

Glasnevin Cemetery—Spaces of Memory and Narratives: 1832—Present Contexts Narratives, tangible and existential, with framing of people, places, monuments and commemorations are interwoven; graves and tombstones are projecting messages. The foremost utopian metanarratives evident are the Christian, and nationalist ones,

14 Originally

known as Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin is Ireland’s largest burial place.

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Fig. 3 Cremation memorial plaques. Source Gerry O’Reilly

while the Centennial commemorations formally translated the inclusive democracy theme also. Depending on approaches, parts of the cemetery resemble a pentimento with pealing layers of tableau paint revealing ghost-like images underneath. From other perspectives, we witness a kaleidoscope of changing styles ranging from austere, simple, high stone constructions of the period up to the 1860s, to elaborate Celtic crosses of the nationalist revival era (1860s–1960s), to the plain marble of the late twentieth century, and smaller plaques designated for those that have been cremated as of 1982 when the crematorium was opened. Interplay of languages on memorials: Latin, English and Irish (Gaeilge) usually references periods and stances, but significantly emotional individual, family and group identities (Fig. 3).15 Dominique Moïsi in The Geopolitics of Emotion (2010) argues: “… mapping of emotions … is …. as legitimate and compulsory … as … mapping geographical realities…; geopolitics of today is characterized by a clash of emotions…; cultures 15 Brunn,

Stanley D. (Ed.) 2015 The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics. Springer. David E. Sopher. 1967 Geography of Religions. Series: Foundations of cultural geography series. Publisher: Prentice-Hall, Inc. (1967). David E. Sopher. Geography and Religions. Progress in Human Geography. First Published December 1, 1981. 500402.


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of fear, humiliation, and hope are reshaping the world.” To understand our changing world, we need to confront emotion. “Self-preservation means change—the status quo is untenable”.16 This can be argued at a variety of geographical scales.

Discovering Glasnevin Cemetery BOX Discovery learning in Glasnevin Cemetery.17 In 2017, 40 third year university Geography students carried out individual and small group project work on Glasnevin Cemetery. The following themes were researched for presentation in: (a) individual reports and (b) group presentations via PPT, ArcGis StoryMap or Vodcast. (i) Death and religion, framing a god narrative (social construction as opposed to individual spirituality). (ii) New memorials: Centennial Wall (2016), Cross of Sacrifice (2014), FranceIreland Memorial (2016). (iii) Colonialism, nationalisms, Post-colonialism and today. (iv) Women: (a) Political or Revolutionaries. (b) Framing a Women and Children’s Story including the Angel’s Plot. (iv) Tourism, exhibitions and events. (v) Museum: educational and research centre—historical and genealogical digital records. (vi) Re-imagining Glasnevin Cemetery— future narratives. A selection of comments is given in the chapter.

Death and Religion: Framing of the God Narratives In the monotheistic Judaeo-Christian tradition and Islam, adherents believe that god spoke directly to them through the sacred books; depending on how the individual behaves, god will eventually send them to the ‘next world’—following the Danse Macabre. Associated utopian geographies hold heavenly bliss, in contrast to the dystopian infernal hell, with the Last Day and end of the world, when all bodies will rise. This eschatological construct: life-death, judgement, final destiny of soul/spirit is promoted as a universalizing concept for all humanity in Christian and Muslim traditions in contrast to Judaism’s ethnic-religious construct that does not seek converts. Other atheistic and humanist perspectives, and Theo-philosophical systems including

16 Dominique Moïsi (2016) The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation and Hope Are Reshaping the World. London, Penguin. Isocracy network. fear-or-hope-or-geopolitics-emotion. 17 The organization and tasks included in this student project work are available in the final chapter of this book: Reflection and Autonomous Learning.

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reincarnation concepts are found in Ireland and especially amongst newer immigrant communities.18 In giving life and death a meaning, root cultural systems, traditions and identities are often reflected in iconography found in Glasnevin e.g. crucifixion cross and its literal history, but enigmatic metaphors for framing suffering, death, hope and resurrection. Such metaphors are often associated with the prominent architects of the 1916 Easter Rising such as Pádraig Pearse.19 Other monuments include angels expressing allegories. Such iconographies can become politicized in identity politics, normalizing takenfor-granted processes. This can be socially constructed by interest groups with a power agenda who translate ‘life meaning’ and ‘social organization’. This includes clerical classes—gate-keepers between this world and the next, socio-economic elites supporting this, or the political establishment. However, the religion construct can be used by counter establishment power groups, including ethnic actors, anticolonialism players, nationalists and so forth as witnessed during the colonial era. These agents are not mutually exclusive, and can overlap or become syncretic depending on territorial-time contexts as witnessed in Ireland in the interweaving of nationalisms and imperial narratives. Historically, burial sites in Ireland developed around places of worship such as churches, but Glasnevin cemetery is quite unique in that it was officially opened in 1832 as a non-denominational graveyard. According to the Glasnevin Trust: “Since then people of all and non-religions have been buried” there.20 Now, humanist ceremonies are increasing in number there.21 Student comments: “Religion is the first metanarrative encountered in Glasnevin cemetery. Death can affect people through things such as fear and superstitions. For religious people—death is not the end of life—but the next part of the journey. Good behaviour in this life will determine their outcome in the other world.” Significant symbolic sites selected and commented included: The Jesuit plot and Fr. Michael Morrison (55.2253° N, 6.1682° W): “with seven headstones … and over 200 names. Morrison (1908–73) served as a chaplain for the British Army, and was present when

18 CSO—Central Statistics Office, Ireland. Census of Population 2016—Profile 7 Migration and Diversity. CSO—Central Statistics Office, Ireland. Population and Migration Estimates. 27 August 2019. ril2019/. 19 Patrick Pearse Museum. RTE Century Ireland. Joost Augusteijn. Patrick Pearse: proto-fascist eccentric or mainstream European thinker? History Ireland Magazine. No. 6. Vol. 18. 2010. temporary-history/patrick-pearseproto-fascist-eccentric-or-mainstream-european-thinker/. 20 Glasnevin Cemetery. 21 Humanist Association of Ireland.


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the Nazi Concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, was liberated…Other well-known people include the famous priest and poet Gerard Manly Hopkins.’22 Carmelites Plot (Latitude: 53.3713° N, −6.2790° W): “Three panels exist with names of each person buried there… Notably… use of their religious names as opposed to their real names…’.23 Frank Duff (1889–1980)—grave (53.3696° N, −6.2733° W): “Founder of the Legion of Mary in 1921, … with 10 million followers in Ireland and worldwide… calls for his canonization, … his controversial attitudes and actions are disputed… He struggled for ‘moral’ revolution and cleaning up the brothel area in the wake of national independence.”24 Holy Angels Plot (53°22 07.8"N 6°16 27.0"W): “Over 50,000 infants buried here up to the 1970s… one of the only places to allow stillborn babies to be buried in consecrated ground… Scandals… and lack of proper records.”25 Concluding student statements: “The Carmelite and Jesuit plots are just two of the many religious orders that are represented… We noticed that the Angels plot was a lot better kept than others. I feel the Angels plot will be a major landmark as it is one of the first areas that went against the restraints of religion in Ireland and allowed parents to have their children buried in holy ground… All four places are popular tourist attractions” (Fig. 4). Overall, the research was largely descriptive with implicit attempts to deconstruct the metanarratives. There was limited attempt to link the god-narrative and iconography to the memorials associated with WWI, national figures and recently added ‘military memorials’—suggesting that it’s just ‘normal’ the framing of death with Christian iconography. The largescale plots of the religious orders were given much prominence.

22 See: BBC WW2 Peoples War. Bergen-Belsen: Fr Michael Morrison. By CSV Media NI. https:// Glasnevin Trust: Gerard Manly Hopkins. ctive-map/gerard-manly-hopkins/. 23 See: The Carmelites and Easter 1916. wfs_church_easter_1916_pdf_use.pdf. 24 Wikipedia. Frank Duff. Glasnevin Trust. Frank Duff. frank-duff/. Irish History Podcast. Feb. 13 2012 Torture, Murder and Exclusion: Ireland’s first 10 years of Independence. 25 RTE Radio 1. Documentary on One. Report into the history of adoption in Ireland since 1922 and Sean Ross Abbey, Castlepollard, and Bessborough Mother and Baby Home. July 2013. Compiled by the members of Adoption Rights Now with cooperation, assistance and support from the members of Beyond Adoption Ireland and Open all Adoption Records Now.

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Fig. 4 Angels plot, glasnevin cemetery. Source Gerry O’Reilly

New Memorials and Commemorations The 1916 Remembrance Wall The contested Necropolis Wall inaugurated in 2016 contains the names of all people killed in the 1916 Easter Rising. Many people expect the future inscription of the names of those who died in the continuing liberation struggles following 1916 i.e. War of Independence (1919–21) and Civil War (1922–23), however this has not been officially confirmed to date. The Wall bears the names of all those who died in the rebellion—Irish and British, military and civilian. Names are engraved chronologically on reflective black granite stone, without distinction between categories. Almost 500 people were killed including 268 civilians and 119 British forces, some of whom are buried in Glasnevin. Controversy surrounded inclusion of the names of British military on the Wall and protesters demonstrated outside the well policed cemetery perimeter during its inauguration.26 A year later, buckets of paint were thrown indiscriminately on the names on the Wall, described by the RTE national media as an attack by vandals. Interestingly during the inauguration ceremonies, with the usual choreography of VIPs—military, political and religious representatives of 26 Ireland:

Decade of Centenaries. 3 April 2016: Interfaith service to mark unveiling of 1916 Remembrance Wall, Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin 11. “It’s an aberration”: A memorial to British soldiers killed in the Rising to be unveiled. The wall will be in Glasnevin Cemetery. 2975-Apr2016/. Glasnevin Cemetery.


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Fig. 5 1916 remembrance: Necrology wall, Glasnevin cemetery. Source Gerry O’Reilly

Fig. 6 The wall. Source Gerry O’Reilly

the main Christian churches and Chief Rabbi, the latter group included a Humanist who also spoke and an Imam who chanted prayers. Largely due to immigration, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Ireland: 3,875 persons in 1991 increasing to 49,204 in 2011and 63,443 by 2016. Since 2006 the number of Muslims has almost doubled, increasing by 95% (Figs. 5, 6 and 7).27 27 CSO—Central Statistics Office. Census of Population 2016—Profile 8: Irish Travellers, Ethnicity

and Religion.

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Fig. 7 1916 memorial column—near the necrology wall, Glasnevin cemetery. Source Gerry O’Reilly

According to the Glasnevin Trust the Wall is an attempt to present the historical facts, without hierarchy or judgement, attempting to reflect modern Ireland. “Behind each … of these lost lives is a story of heartbreak, no matter what side the person served on or indeed for those innocently caught up in the conflict… 100 years on we believe this memorial reflects the time we live in, with the overwhelming majority of the Irish people wishing to live in peace and in reconciliation… But it is for each visitor to take from the wall what they wish.” The project drew inspiration from the international memorial near Arras in France that lists the names of 580,000 people from all sides killed in fighting on the Western front in WWI.28 28 1916 ‘Remembrance Wall’ unveiled at Glasnevin Cemetery.

779141-1916-events/. Vandals attack 1916 Rising remembrance wall in Glasnevin Cemetery. https://www.indepe Chemins de mémoire. Notre-Dame-de-Lorette International Memorial. https://www.cheminsde


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Student comments: “There are tangible and intangible narratives depending on your own interpretations of the Remembrance Wall. I feel a story of conflict and heartbreak behind each name. I think that the wall reflects modern Ireland … Having the mix of Irish and British names adds a peaceful touch between the countries.” When I saw the marble pillars, close to the Wall, with the bronze plaques of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation as part of the monument to these great men, … I thought of others who were engaged in the independence struggle... and wondered what have my generation done so far and the social rights problems that must be tackled…

2014: Dedication of the Cross of Sacrifice, Glasnevin Cemetery In 2014, the President of Ireland led a ceremony dedicating the newly installed Cross of Sacrifice, a venture between the Glasnevin Trust and British Commonwealth Graves Commission (CWGC). It was unveiled by the President and UK’s Duke of Kent, CWGC president who also addressed the event and laid a wreath. Representatives of the defence forces of the Republic and UK, with dignitaries from the Republic, Britain, NI and foreign embassies attended. Throughout the ceremony protesters heckled the proceedings from outside the cemetery walls.29 In 2017, Prince Charles laid a wreath there as part of a Victoria Cross Medals ceremony, and also another wreath at the 1916 Remembrance Wall (Figs. 8 and 9).30 The memorial cross is embedded with a bronze sword, mounted on an octagonal base; such is usually erected in cemeteries containing over 40 graves of soldiers commemorated by the CWGC worldwide. Glasnevin contains 166 Commonwealth burials from WWI, with another 41 burials from WWII.31 In 2008, the Trust and CWGC set about marking previously unmarked graves of WWI and WWII soldiers,

29 Irish Times. Peter Murtagh. Aug. 1, 2014 Cross of Sacrifice for Irish war dead unveiled in Dublin: Republican groups interrupted ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery with catcalls. https://www.irisht 3989?mode=sample&auth-failed=1& ews%2Fireland%2Firish-news%2Fcross-of-sacrifice-for-irish-war-dead-unveiled-in-dublin-1.188 3989. Irish Times. Peter Murtagh. Aug. 1, 2014 Protesters heckle at Cross of Sacrifice ceremony: President Higgins urges respect for those who fought in first World War. 30 Prince Charles lays poppy wreath and unveils Victoria Cross memorials in Glasnevin Cemetery. He took part in ceremonies to honour those who died in World War I and the 1916 Rising. May 12th 2017. The Journal.i.e. RTE News. 12 May 201 Prince Charles ‘struck by strength and vitality’ of UK-Irish relationship. 31 31 July 2014: Dedication of Cross of Sacrifice, Glasnevin Cemetery. Decade of Centenaries. vin-cemetery/.

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Fig. 8 Cross of sacrifice, Glasnevin cemetery. Source Gerry O’Reilly

sailors, air men and women. Some 104 headstones or Gallipoli markers were also placed on family graves containing the soldiers remains. Student comments: “Cross of Sacrifice (2014) … colonization … meant that Irish soldiers fought on behalf of the British Empire around the world… in WWI and WWII despite Ireland being neutral in WWII. The inauguration ceremony …. was attended by President Higgins, …. as well as Prince Edward on behalf of the British Empire. Despite Ireland no longer being a colony …, the monument illustrates the continued close ties and mutual respect between both states to commemorate the part Irish people played on behalf of the Empire and across both World Wars.”

2016: Dedication of the France-Ireland Memorial On 13 November 2016, Ireland’s Minister for Heritage, and French Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance at the Ministry of Defence, dedicated the France— Ireland Memorial, in conjunction with Glasnevin Trust. The “monument created specially by the Beaux-Arts de Paris was gifted to the Irish people by France, in recognition of those Irish men and women who died in defence of France, particularly during WWI.” Essentially, the monument is a tumulus-like structure, reminiscent of many archaeological monuments embedded in Ireland’s landscapes, and mounted atop is a Celtic style cross. This is a replica of the iconic Ginchy wooden cross (the original is now housed in the War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge, Dublin)


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Fig. 9 President Michael D. Higgins leading a dedication ceremony at the cross of sacrifice 31st July 2014. Source Gerry O’Reilly

built by the men in the British forces—the 16th Irish Division, for the churchyard at Ginchy, following the slaughter there and at Guillemont in 1916 during the Somme offensive, when 1,200 men from the division lost their lives. Minister Todeschini stated: “Forming an integral part of the Memorial, three bronze helmets dedicate the memorial: « Ce lieu de mémoire est dédié aux Irlandais et aux Irlandaises qui ont combattu pour la Liberté et la Défense de la France lors des guerres de 1870– 1871, 1914–1918 et 1939–1945.» The Trust chairman stated the memorial’s position in Glasnevin is significant as thousands of those who served on French soil in the defence of France have found their final resting place here, as have so many from the different strands and traditions in Irish history since 1798 (i.e. reference to the Ireland’s Republican rebellion and arrival of supporting French forces) … It will stand as a reminder to future generations of the mutual experience of France and Ireland, but also of the frightful cost of war’.32 32 Dedication of ‘France-Ireland memorial’, Glasnevin Cemetery, 13 November 2016. Decade of Centenaries. vin-cemetery-13-november-2016/.

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Fig. 10 Information panels near memorials, Glasnevin cemetery. Source Gerry O’Reilly

Fig. 11 The French Irish memorial, Glasnevin cemetery. Source Gerry O’Reilly



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Information Panel, near WWI Memorials, Glasnevin Cemetery. Source Gerry O’Reilly

Student comments: “The France-Ireland Memorial (2016) … is very original …. It opens up the Irish narrative wider than just the usual English-Irish story… and French-German stories.” Overall, the student research comments attempted to deconstruct the metanarratives of these three monuments and especially the first two highlighting the protests during their inauguration and vandalizing of the Remembrance Wall.

Spatiality of Memorials A very small area separates the France-Ireland memorial, from the British CWGC site, in which the Armistice Day commemoration took place on 11 November 2018. At the ceremony, Ireland’s President referred to a historical reticence over many years in Ireland to recognise the human reality of WWI and those who fought and died in it. He referred to a “form of official amnesia that had left a blank space in Ambassade de France a Dublin. La France en Irlande. Inauguration du Mémorial France-Irlande. Ambassade de France a Dublin. La France en Irlande. A symbol of France’s tribute to Ireland. Remembrance ceremony at the France-Ireland Memorial. rance-ceremony-at-the-France-Ireland-Memorial.

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our public memory” but said this had now changed as Irish people had discovered a greater insight. Over 47 countries, including all EU states were represented at the ceremonies, and officials laid wreaths at the Irish—British Commonwealth military plot.33 Some 210,000 Irishmen served in the British forces during WWI. As conscription was opposed by all sectors of Irish society including the church, some 140,000 volunteers joined and 35,000 died. This does not include officers, men who joined the British navy or air force, or those who served in the forces of Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. There were many Irish people also in the WWI American forces. However, the official narrative of the Irish state since the start of WWI, has been that Ireland is a neutral country.

Clashing Narratives Surrounding Why Irishmen Volunteered to Join the British Forces. The Unionist standpoint for being in the armed forces was to strengthen their place in the UK and prevent home rule happening for Ireland. They were strongly represented in the north-east of the island. The nationalist perspectives of the Volunteers targeted ‘home rule’ with a parliament in Dublin, believing that this would be granted once the war ended. The defence of ‘gallant little Belgium’ many volunteers identified with, and the ideal of national self-determination that was progressing throughout Europe as in Poland, Serbia, Czechia and so forth. But for many, the reality was that of men and especially husbands, joining for a wage in the face of grinding poverty at home. As of the outbreak of WWI, the banner: “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser, But Ireland” was displayed on Liberty Hall, headquarters of the trade union movement that was actively engaged in the 1916 Rising.34 33 RTE News.

11 Nov. 2018 Commemorations mark centenary of ending of WWI. https://www.rte. ie/news/ireland/2018/1111/1010110-100th-anniversary-of-ending-of-world-war-1-today/. Decade of Centenaries. 11 November 2018: State commemoration on Armistice Day, Glasnevin Cemetery. Irish Times. 11 Nov. 2018. Armistice Day marked with solemn ceremonies. https://www.irisht Decade of Centenaries. 11 November 2018: State commemoration on Armistice Day, Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin 11. tion-on-armistice-day-glasnevin-cemetery-dublin-11/. Commemorations in Ireland and abroad mark centenary of the end of World War I. https://www. President attends Armistice Day Centenary Commemorations. ails/president-attends-armistice-day-centenary-commemorations. 34 Decade of Centenaries. 1 November 2014: ‘We serve neither king nor Kaiser’: 2014 Irish Labour History Society Conference, Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin 4. https://www.decadeofcentenaries. com/1-november-2014-we-serve-neither-king-nor-kaiser-2014-irish-labour-history-society-confer ence-beggars-bush-barracks-dublin-4/.


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Severe suppression of the Rising was influenced by the general belief in the British military that the rebels were acting with German support. Public revulsion at the executions of the 1916 leaders exacerbated alienation from the British administration in Ireland. This fuelled support for the republican Sinn Féin movement (literally meaning—Ourselves), which systematically defeated the old nationalist parliamentary party in the December 1918 UK general election, providing a political underpinning for the pursuant War of Independence (1919–21). In the elections, essentially the only areas where Unionist candidates won were in areas of the North. This electoral mandate provided Sinn Féin with confidence to set up a counter state. Many soldiers returning to nationalist areas after the war were rejected, stayed silent or were written out of the narrative of the new Irish state. WWI memorials were normalized as part of the new Northern Ireland state, and especially in Unionist areas. In the nationalist republican narrative throughout the island, such memorials were often interpreted as propaganda symbols for recruitment into the army, glorification of British nationalism and militarism, imperialism and romanticizing death, in ritual and pageantry—where ceremonies in the following decades included all British military losses in all wars, and not only WWI.35 Conflicting sensitivities were similarly manifested in the wearing of the memorial red poppy flower, concerning British losses in WWI, in contrast to the blue cornflower (bleuet) symbol created in 1916 in France. In NI in 1987, a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb exploded near Enniskillen’s cenotaph on Poppy Day, leaving 11 dead and 63 injured during remembrance ceremonies.36

BBC History. Keith Jeffery. 2011–03-10 Ireland and World War One. history/british/britain_wwone/ireland_wwone_01.shtml. 35 Richard S. Grayson. 2018 Dublin’s Great Wars: The First World War, the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution. Cambridge University Press. Nuala C. Johnson. 2003 Ireland, the Great War and the Geography of Remembrance. Cambridge University Press. Commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War, November 2018. https:// Ireland and World War One. By Professor Keith Jeffery. 2011–03-1. tory/british/britain_wwone/ireland_wwone_01.shtml. The Irish Times. 2 August 2014. Irish soldiers in the first World War: who, where and how many? 36 Wikipedia. Remembrance poppy. Wikipedia. Bleuet de France. BBC 8 November 2017. Enniskillen Poppy Day bomb memorial unveiled. By Louise Cullen and Michael Fitzpatrick. See YouTube: BBC News - 8th November 1987—Enniskillen Bombing. com/watch?v=YhQbvVRw0UE.

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Colonialism, Post-colonialism and Today Regarding Glasnevin cemetery—colonial and post-colonial monuments and narratives, students commented: “This space of memory allows people from the modern day world to empathise and learn about the people who lost their lives during the Troubles, and in different wars in Ireland and abroad. The 1916 Rising was not simply part of a series of Irish rebellions against British rule, but became part of a wave of challenges to imperialism globally… The Chittagong uprising in Bengal, India (1930) was inspired and modelled on the 1916 Rising.” The British Empire was the largest that the world had ever known... Ireland played various roles which both supported and threatened it, 1912–22. As a colony, Irish soldiers fought as part of the British Army during WWI. Glasnevin commemorates these through various memorials such as the Battle of the Somme, 16th Irish Division and Cross of Sacrifice. It commemorates major events such as the 1916 Rising also having an international impact on the Empire. Graves like those of Kevin Barry and Elizabeth O’Farrell can be understood to represent particular ideologies / opinions on the nature and importance of their lives regarding the struggle for Irish freedom... Both nationalists were victims… which can be comprehended from different aspects... Barry’s narrative and longstanding wait for appropriate burial deliberately works to highlights the oppressive … British soldiers responsible for his death in 1920, while O’Farrell’s story and grave is representative of the lack of respect women received for their role in helping to break with empire and establish independence… Yet the very idea of placing her tomb within the republican plot highlights its essentiality to commemoration ... Kevin Barry’s tomb due to its positioning at the front entrance of the cemetery, … after his re-interment in 2001, cannot be missed...

Other comments: “The monuments, graves, statues and plaques that can be found in the cemetery allow the public to empathise and show gratitude to those brave men and women who fought against colonialization and won back our independence.”

Women, Revolution and Glasnevin Regarding women: (i) Political, Revolutionaries, Cultural icons; and Women; (ii) Framing the Children Story including the Angel’s Plot. Many students referenced the simple yet iconic grave of Countess Constance Markievicz (née Gore-Booth, 1868– 1927) in the republican plot. “Irish politician, revolutionary, Citizen Army battalion commander, nationalist, suffragist, socialist, first woman elected to Parliament in 1918, and elected Minister for Labour in Ireland’s First Dáil (1919), becoming the first female cabinet minister in Europe. She served in the Dáil–1921–22 and 1923–27.” Other narratives of women included: Margaret Cousins, Molly Childers, Charlotte Despard and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and especially women of the Suffragette movement. Two students referenced an activist interred in Deansgrange Cemetery; Dr. Kathleen Lynn (1874–1955; Sinn Féin politician, activist and medical doctor)


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who continued struggling politically after independence for revolution in the health system particularly regarding women, maternity and children’s welfare. One group stated: “… We must make a point to remember these great fighters of past generations who created the environment we have the privilege of living in today … they certainly deserve our remembrance.”

Tourism, Including Museum Events Tourism ranks among Ireland’s major industries and heritage sectors. In 2018, the population of the Republic of Ireland (RoI) numbered almost 5 million people and that of Northern Ireland (NI) nearly 2 million. Over 11.2 million overseas visitors came to the RoI, representing e6.1 billion. An estimated 5 million overnight trips in NI included stays by external visitors and domestic trips taken by local residents. Both jurisdictions closely collaborate in the tourist industry, managing joint promotional campaigns abroad and cross-border projects at home, especially since the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (1998) supporting cooperation and an all island economy. Major influencers, including Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor include Glasnevin Cemetery among the top 10 cultural places to visit in Dublin that attracts around 55,000 paying visitors annually.37

37 Central Statistics Office (RoI)—CSO. Overseas Travel. Released 28 January 2019. https://www. Statistics and Research Agency (NI). Northern Ireland Tourism Statistics 2018. June 2019. Irish Government. Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Tourism. en/policy/3fcc3a-tourism/?referrer=/tourism/. A REPORT BY THE IRISH TOURISM INDUSTRY CONFEDERATION. August 2019. Tourism: A Competitive Report. itiveness_ITIC-report_Aug2019.pdf. Lonely Planet. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. ractions/glasnevin-cemetery/a/poi-sig/398767/359796. Trip Advisor. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. 6605-d214896-Reviews-Glasnevin_Cemetery_Museum-Dublin_County_Dublin.html. Independent. Visitor boom at Glasnevin after film One Million Dubliners. By Laura Larkin. January 2 2015. vin-after-film-one-million-dubliners-30876956.html.

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Advertisement for DVD of the Glasnevin Cemetery Story. Source Gerry O’Reilly

Student comments: “Tourism is important to earn money for the upkeep of Glasnevin and creates employment. My parents said that it was half falling down and overgrown in some places 20 years ago”. “Museum exhibitions are good to understand Dublin/Ireland throughout the past 200 years”. “The guided tours are great, e.g. general or themed as with 1916, revolution or women… there are also Ghost Tours.” As a tourist space, I was shocked to see … a coffee shop and museum in a graveyard… I think it has become a commercial space.” “The museum and coffee shop being so close to the flashy 1916 Memorial Wall, makes it a bit ‘theme-parkish’… it could become a bit of a Disneyland… lacking respect...

Glasnevin Cemetery Museum Glasnevin Museum, educational and research centre has services including historical and genealogical digital records being available as well as exhibits. All students agreed that: “It’s good for education… school tours and general public.” And “The museum will be sustainable and continue to attract visitors as it educates people from other countries on how Ireland today was shaped and the many troubles we as a nation have been through to get to where we are now.”


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Panel in Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. Source Gerry O’Reilly

Re-Imagining Glasnevin Cemetery and Framing Future Narratives ... Some old grave stones are impossible to read. This makes the stories behind the people … hard to discover. This narrative … was a sad one… people forgotten over time… no family left…They probably were just ordinary everyday people who lived normal lives, who’s stories got consumed by the power of time... I first asked how were these graves let get so deteriorated? … Would they be removed and forgotten to make room for new graves and memorials? Would they be restored? … I had to look to Glasnevin cemetery in the past to see that there is a history of restoration presented in the Museum. Using photo comparisons - 1906 and now: the cemetery during most of the 20th century was well kept .... Back then the story behind almost every grave would have been easy to discover...

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Deteriorated graves in Glasnevin Cemetery (53° 22 20 N, 6° 16 40 ), 2018. Source Gerry O’Reilly

Glasnevin cemetery 1906. Source Glasnvein Cemetery Museum Archieves A change in the high standards of maintenance came in the 1990’s… because the cemetery is a registered charity and a not for profit organisation… the cemetery committee was unable to keep the grounds to the same high level in the early 21st century. In 2006 … the committee petitioned government for funding… to become an area of national pride where … the Easter Rising could be celebrated. Some funding was contributed. The conclusion being … old graves and their narratives … won’t die. As Glasnevin is a growing tourist destination with a Museum, we feel that it will take responsibility… for upkeep as they will want the cemetery looking as good as possible… Ancestors… visitors and tourists want to know more about their narratives… In the future… maybe there will be holographic tombs… so stories will somehow never die.38 38 Students

spoke of: Glasnevin Museum (2018). Restoration Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum | Dublin Tourist Attractions | Glasnevin Trust.


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Traditional Ethno-Religious and Nationalist Narratives Very broadly, actors in the liberation struggles fall into two categories: constitutionalists or armed militants. Daniel O’Connell (1775–1847) falls into the former classification, and is interred in Glasnevin’s crypt beneath the monumental 55-mhigh iconic Celtic monastic round tower, the highest in Ireland and constructed 1855–69.39 He was a major campaigner for repeal of the discriminatory Penal Laws (1695–1829), against people not of the official state religion—Anglicanism, in the form of the Church of Ireland, with the head of state and church being the monarch. The vast majority of the population not being of the official religion resented imposition of the tithe tax. He also called for repeal of the Act of Union (1801) that had combined Great Britain and Ireland into a new UK state, and supported the abolitionist movement.40 He championed the Glasnevin cemetery project, that was opened in 1832 for all denominations. His ability to empathize with large masses of people led to his fame and memorial tower symbolizing the awakening of national identity pride.41 Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street hosts his iconic statue.42 O’Connell’s Tower in Glasnevin was bombed in 1971. This was allegedly carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries from Northern Ireland, in retaliation for the Irish Army’s removal of Lord Nelson’s Pillar on Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street in 1966, after it had been bombed by the paramilitary IRA. Reconstruction of the Tower’s 51 m wooden staircase was carried out following restauration works, and it was ceremonially reopened in 2018.43 The challenge for governance in Ireland in the colonial era and after independence, due to partition of the island, remained ‘reconciling’ the parliamentary and armed struggle traditions.

Holmquist, K. (2014). Looking for a haunting tonight? We’ve found 13 of Ireland’s most haunted places. [online] Available at: ight-we-ve-found-13-of-ireland-s-most-haunted-places-1.1982476. 39 YouTube: The Rise of Daniel O’Connell. 40 Penal Laws: British and Irish History. WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica 41 Ziebertz and Crpi´ ˇ c (2015). 42 Yvonne Whelan. 2001 Monuments, power and contested space— the iconography of Sackville Street (O’Connell Street) before independence (1922). Irish Geography. Vol 34, No 1. https://irishg Yvonne Whelan. 2001 Symbolising the state— the iconography of O’Connell Street and environs after independence (1922) Irish Geography. Vol 34, No 2. eography/article/view/296. 43 The Irish Times. O’Connell Tower in Glasnevin reopens 47 years after bomb blast: The 55 m structure affords the best man-made views of Dublin city. Article by Ronan McGreevy. Fri. 13 April 2018. History Ireland: Ireland’s History Magazine. Nelson’s Pillar. Written by: Micheál Ó Riain.

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Students took many photographs of the Tower, but comments amalgamated O’Connell in streams of consciousness with “all the heroes” and “something that they had heard during early school days”.

Ethno-Religious Constructions Largely with the historical coincidence of colonization events—land confiscations and Plantations—and English-British Protestant or Reformation geopolitics at home, in Europe and especially in Ireland, after Battle of the Boyne (1690)44 —socialpower constructs took on ethno-religious dimensions for ‘othering’ of the Catholic native, and Protestant colonizer in the classic imperial ‘divide and rule’ strategy. Fundamentally, the same Biblical god narrative took on different re-statements and territorialization for the respective groups. In the nineteenth century, Catholic religious’ groups took on ever-greater roles, manifest in construction of churches and creation of religious orders, that became seminal in creating social institutions. At national independence (1921), in effect the Church was largely in control of educational and hospital infrastructure organization, as was Protestant groups catering for their communities. The Catholic hierarchy developed close working relationships with the British authorities at home, but also abroad in Empire through its missionary activities, especially in Africa as with Nigeria.45 Regular parish priests and religious orders embedded in the population were much appreciated by ‘the people’ during the liberation struggle. In the chaos following independence (1921) and civil war (1922–23), the Catholic establishment, like the Protestant religious leaders, that were offering infrastructural facilities including schools, hospitals and orphanages, continued to do so; state authorities were very willing to cooperate in this economic symbiosis. More radical socialist voices calling for citizens’ civil rights in the revolutionary movements were eclipsed by the conservative church charity power-construct narratives. ‘Give us back our land’ remained a strong demand in rural Ireland, advancing breakup of the landlord estates and land (re)distributions to tenant farmers, that had started after the Famine (1845–48) and continued after 1922, being completed by 44 McManus, R. and G. O’Reilly. 2016 Heritage Tourism and the Commodification of Contested Spaces: Ireland and the Battle of the Boyne Site’ In: G. Hooper (eds). Heritage and Tourism in Britain and Ireland: Conservation, Nation, Identity. London: Palgrave Macmillan Press. 45 Fiona Bateman. 2008 Ireland’s Spiritual Empire: Territory and Landscape in Irish Catholic Missionary Discourse. in Empires of Religion pp 267–28. Springer. pter/10.1057/9780230228726_13. E. M. Hogan, The Irish Missionary Movement: A Historical Survey, 1830–1980 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1990). Timothy J. White. The Impact of British Colonialism on Irish Catholicism and National Identity: Repression, Re-emergence, and Divergence. Études d’histoire et de civilisation. Études irlandaises. 35, 1. 2010. pp. 21–37.


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1999. In contrast, property including symbolic places such as Dublin’s Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral remained firmly under protestant institutional control that retained the name—the Church of Ireland, despite the UK Parliamentary Irish Church Act (1869) disestablishing it in 1871. Such places of religious memory include the reputed burial site and associated cathedral of Ireland’s patron, St. Patrick, in County Down (NI).

Framing the Nationalisms The WWI centennial program in Glasnevin had to cater for root-political traditions: those promoting parliamentary trajectories, and those endorsing militant republicanism based on interpretations of the American (1776), French (1789) and Irish (1798) Revolutions. Notably the American and Irish revolutions had a dual purpose in that they sought change from within, but ‘needed ‘national liberation’ from the colonizer, while the thrust in France was liberation within from repressive structures and ideology of monarchy and church. Republican movements in Ireland from 1848 on, adapted variations of political—military strategies, that endured after independence and partition (1921); especially in Northern Ireland. Different strands of the independence, nationalist and republican movements are juxtaposed in the memorial plots in Glasnevin. Emblematic of the parliamentary tradition is the monument of Charles Parnell (1846–91) (53.3728° N, 6.2768° W)—Protestant landlord, nationalist leader, founder of the Land League to address tenant rights and land reform, and creator of the Irish Parliamentary Party aiming to achieve Home Rule, but his efforts were thwarted by a series of scandals including a murky adultery case with Kitty O’Shea (estranged wife of Captain O’Shea), much condemned by the Church. Now in many places ranging from Dublin to Galway, London, Glasgow, Boston, Chicago, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, and South Africa to Australia—the Kitty O’Shea refers to an Irish pub and restaurant, maintaining its traditional roles of entertainment and nodal point for networking; an information nexus for work, social and political attachment, and news from ‘home’.46 Parnell’s burial memorial consists of a large granite rock with a short inscription surrounded by a lawn, and trees like the stone, native to his County Wicklow.47 Students interpreted Parnell’s memorial as “part of a lawn” and him as

46 Irish

Times. 6 Feb. 2015. The best Irish pub in the world. By Padraig Collins, Ciara Kenny, Simon Carswell, Belinda McKeon, Tom Hennigan, Paddy Agnew, Jennifer O’Connell. 47 See: Charles Stewart Parnell. 77728.html. YouTube: Charles Stewart Parnell.

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“a character in the national story from long ago” with many places named after him including a memorial on Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street.48 Near the graveyard entrance is located the iconic grave of Michael Collins, 1916 combatant, major leader of the War of Independence (1919–21), and a negotiator of the Peace Treaty (1921) with Britain, but assassinated in the Civil War (1922–23) by Anti-Treaty forces.49 Other graves of the Pro-Treaty forces, Irish Army, and Irish UN soldiers are located near here. Not distant, are located the graves of Anti-Treaty historic figures, commonly called the Republican plot(s). Partition of the island, led to creation of the state of Northern Ireland within the UK, in which nationalists, Republicans and Catholics felt alienated, betrayed by the Revolution, but were also discriminated against by the new regime in Belfast, perceiving them as the enemy within. Largely due to gerrymandering of electoral boundaries in NI and lack of equal opportunity for nationalists and Catholics there, civil rights marches began in 1968— the Troubles started—essentially a generic term for framing the civil, social and political strife, state and popular reactions and contested colonial narratives. These include root Irish, Unionist-British and British nationalisms, UK defence forces activities, and various Unionist and Republican paramilitary group atrocities—before the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (1998) and pursuant Peace Process.50 Major political reforms ensued, and the dismantling of Northern Ireland’s physical 48 National

Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Charles Stewart Parnell Monument, Dublin City. nell-monument-dublin-city. 49 Irish Times. Dec. 1 2018 Michael Collins: The Man and the Revolution review – A knotty subject expertly unpicked: This robustly demystifying account of Collin’s legacy is a book of great originality. By Prof. Diarmaid Ferriter. iew-a-knotty-subject-expertly-unpicked-1.3711046. See movie: Michael Collins is a 1996 historical biopic written and directed by Neil Jordan and starring Liam Neeson as Collins, the Irish patriot and revolutionary who died in the Irish Civil War. YouTube: Funeral of Michael Collins (1922). cb9I. YouTube: In Memory of Michael Collins (1922). 18RvM. NHD 2015: The Life and Legacy of Michael Collins: A Man Against an Empire. West Cork launches rebel way to highlight the regions history. By Áilín Quinlan. 20/05/2019. toric-highlights-925585.html. 50 YouTube: Good Friday Agreement explained in 90 s. N4wYCUwI. YouTube: Building Peace: The Belfast/Good Friday agreement 20 years on. YouTube: Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement: Then and Now, 1998–2018. https://www. The Good Friday Agreement. land_and_the_uk/good_friday_agreement.html.


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border with the Republic, removal of army posts, flags and emblems, with greater integration of economies on the island embedded within EU legislation. In 2016, the gains of the Peace Process were endangered with the UK Brexit referendum vote to leave the EU; significantly majorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain.51

Nationalisms and Post-colonialism Throughout the centennials, grassroots organizations and some politicians, including radical Left-wingers, referenced the 1916 Proclamation ideals in contrast to major social issues ranging from homelessness to public health services especially since the 2007 economic crash, but also the need for constitutional reforms and/or action regarding abortion, same-sex marriage, women and children’s rights.52 In the 1916 Proclamation, gender, religious, civil, citizen and national ‘rights’ are articulated, and the condemning of the use of religion in imperial constructs, necessitating sacrifice in order to create a republic. This was followed up with the Declaration of Independence (1919) by the elected parliament ratifying the 1916 Proclamation and creating a ‘counter state’.53 Nevertheless, a symbiosis developed between Church and State, promoting a utopian society with conservative fundamentalist-type Catholic values championed by Eamon De Valera (1901–75), head of government (1932–59), only being out of power for six years but not consecutively, before being elected and re-elected as President of Ireland (1959–73). A type of majority-voted democratic theocracy was imposed; the electorate continued to re-elect De Valera’s party Fianna Fail, as is reflected in the second Constitution (1937), in contrast to the more secular approach in the 1916, 1919 and 1922 versions. Concerning church-state collaboration, there are iterations of Franco’s Spain (1939–73).54 However, the state stopped short of declaring Catholicism the state religion. In 1972, after a referendum on Article 44, a constitutional amendment was made deleting the special position of the Catholic Church.

51 BBC News. EU Referendum (Brexit) Results. ndum/results. 52 Proclamation of Independence (1916). 53 Declaration of Independence (1919) 54 RTE Achieves. Eamon De Valera. YouTube: The Age of De Valera RTE documentary 1982. I6I_SVOZk6g. Ireland’s Hated Hero - Eamon De Valera Part 4. zYuU. Eamon De Valera Speech, 50th Anniversary of 1916 Rising. v=6_th01MX8Ts.

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Joining the EEC/EU in 1973 was a landmark, for greater international communications, beyond just diaspora and missionary lands. The Digital era challenged further idealized utopian perspectives as Ireland became embedded within the EU. In a survey carried out in 2018, over 90% of people stated they want to remain in the EU despite the UK Brexit vote to leave (2016).55 In the decades following independence, many citizens emigrated for political, economic, social, gender, artistic or cultural reasons as there developed a certain complicity between state, church and larger society in post-colonial power constructs projecting the moral Ireland in contrast to other ‘impure’ societies. For instance, censorship including the works of James Joyce; contraception being illegal (1935– 80); extreme taboos regarding pregnancy and birth outside marriage; usage of the Magdalene laundries for ‘fallen women’ with the last one being closed in the 1996. Heterosexual scandals concerning priests initially shook the public in the early 1990s.56 This was followed by paedophilia and child abuse outrages, especially in institutions run by the church, but largely financed by the state, continued.57 Denials, obfuscation, complicity of individuals, and religious orders in protecting abusers and institutions, would no longer tolerated by a majority of the electorate. Victims and relatives demanded the right to memory, insisting on the duty of the state and society alike to remember. The state was forced to act and deal with historical legacies. Victims of church-state institutions are now remembered in Glasnevin Cemetery. In 2011, the Taoiseach (PM) condemned the Vatican for its role in the Cloyne child sex abuse scandal, stating that its role in obstructing police investigations was a serious infringement upon Ireland’s sovereignty revealing “the dysfunction, disconnection and elitism that dominates the culture of the Vatican”. He added: “the historic relationship between church and state in Ireland could not be the same again”.58 Further revelations, scandals, state commissions of inquiry, redress boards 55 Patrick Smith. More than 90% of Irish people want to stay in EU, poll reveals. The Irish Times. 8 May 2018. (Accessed 13 June 2018). 56 Wikipedia. Eamon Casey Michael Cleary https:// Wikipedia. Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. ies_in_Ireland. Wikipedia. Magdalene asylums. 57 Wikipedia. Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in Ireland. Church_sexual_abuse_cases_in_Ireland. Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. ire_into_Child_Abuse. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. Commission Residential child welfare in Ireland, 1965–2008: an outline of policy, legislation and practice: a paper prepared for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. Chapter 4 by Dr. Eoin O’Sullivan. 58 RTE News. 21 Jul 2011. Taoiseach in unprecedented attack on Vatican. 2011/0720/303925-cloyne/. Cloyne Report in detail. Enda Kenny speech on Cloyne Report. 20 July 2011. 965-cloyne1/.


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and compensation schemes have continued, leaving the public befuddled as to what is what, in the historic changing church-state narratives. Issues of religious ethos schools including those under church patronage continue to be problematic for state and citizens alike. The nexus between institutions, culture and identity before, and post-independence, as embedded in the mind-set of a majority of citizens was ‘normalized’ but is slowly being deconstructed. In 2017, Leo Varadkar (son of Irish mother and Indian father) was elected Taoiseach; the youngest PM ever in Ireland made no secret of it in the election campaign that he was gay. Former President, Mary McAleese (1997–2011), first person from Northern Ireland elected to the post, marched with her husband, in the LGBT—Gay Pride parade in Dublin in 2018.59 The Constitution was assumed to contain an implicit prohibition on same-sex marriage, however it was approved by referendum in 2015, by 62% of voters. The first time that a state anywhere in the world had legalised same-sex marriage through a popular vote.60 In 2018, following a referendum on a constitutional amendment, it was approved by 66.4% of voters to allow abortion, prohibited in the existing Constitution.61 Under pressure, same-sex marriage and abortion were legalized in NI in 2019 by direct prerogative of the UK Government, challenging the power of the conservative DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) however both had been legal in the UK for decades.62 It could be argued that anti-clericalism and anti-church power has risen, but that cultural Catholicism has remained strong regarding rite of passage festivities for first communion, conformation, weddings and funerals. Ireland and the Church hosted a papal visit in 2018. Despite the pomp and ritual, public participation was much subdued from that experienced by a previous papal visit in 1979.63 59 Irish Times. Record numbers attend Dublin Pride Parade: This year’s event marks 25 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Jun 30, 2018. Written by Conor Gallagher. https://www. mode=sample&auth-failed=1& 2Fireland%2Firish-news%2Frecord-numbers-attend-dublin-pride-parade-1.3549866. 60 Irish Times. Ireland becomes first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote. May 23, 2015. Written by: Éanna Ó Caollaí, Mark Hilliard. news/politics/ireland-becomes-first-country-to-approve-same-sex-marriage-by-popular-vote-1. 2223646?mode=sample&auth-failed=1& 2Fnews%2Fpolitics%2Fireland-becomes-first-country-to-approve-same-sex-marriage-by-pop ular-vote-1.2223646. 61 Irish Times. Ireland’s abortion referendum result in five charts: The highest, the lowest, the most and the least of the Eighth Amendment referendum. May 26, 2018. https://www.irishtimes. com/news/social-affairs/ireland-s-abortion-referendum-result-in-five-charts-1.3509845?mode= sample&auth-failed=1& 62 BBC News. Northern Ireland abortion and same-sex marriage laws change. By Chris Page. BBC News Ireland correspondent. 22 Oct. 2019. 28860. Guardian. ‘What a day to be gay in Northern Ireland’: marriage equality becomes law at last. land-joy-for-couples-at-historic-change. 63 RTE News. Pope Francis in Ireland. 988014-pope-francis-in-ireland/.

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Students photographed a modest ‘victims’ of the Magdalene Laundry memorial in Glasnevin Cemetery, but had much comment regarding this chapter in Irish history.

Magdalene Memorial, Glasnevin Cemetery.

Ireland: Memories and Trajectories Unionists who voted for the UK to leave the EU (Brexit 2016) may have felt that it pulls NI closer to London.64 In reframing historical narratives since the late 1990s, this was facilitated by the excellent relations that were fostered between Dublin and London collaborating in bilateral and multilateral EU contexts. Emblematic of this was an official visit of Queen Elizabeth II (2011), first British monarch to visit Ireland since 1911. Her itinerary included emotive memory sites—British, Irish nationalist and shared: Garden of Remembrance dedicated to those “who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”; Islandbridge Irish War Memorial Garden commemorating WWI, and Croke Park stadium—home of Gaelic games, with a capacity for 82,300 people. Here in 1920, 14 civilians were shot dead and dozens wounded by British Dublin Live. Pope visit Ireland 2018: Less than 150,000 turn up to Phoenix Park mass. By Laura Lyne. 26 AUG 2018. 64 Steven McCaffery, 24 June 2016 Brexit brings fresh division to Northern Ireland’s fragile politics. itics.


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forces due to indiscriminate fire, at a football match there during the War of Independence (1919–21). Several victims are interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.65 Included also was Dublin Castle, seat of British government in Ireland until 1922. This was followed by the first official state visit of the President of Ireland to London in 2014. According to a survey conducted for BBC in 2018, 45% of people in NI would vote to stay in the UK, and 42% to join a united Ireland; with 13% undecided.66 However, opinion polls have varied greatly since the Brexit Referendum.67

Conclusions As regards spaces of memory—creation, reconstruction, preservation and mnemonic attributes, the Irish authorities collaborating with public bodies, academics and interested parties inside and outside the state attempted to mark the Decade of Centenaries (2013–23) in an inclusive way for all, promoting concepts of shared histories and heritages inside and outside Ireland. Sites such as Glasnevin Cemetery were used in pageantry and ritual suggesting various historical trajectories towards a democratic Ireland. With projection of such official and emotive narratives, people have (re)questioned Ireland’s relationship with religion, nationalisms, neo-colonial relationships with Britain, experiences with, and in Northern Ireland and with the EU; others appraised socio-economic challenges including women’s rights—all part of the1916 revolutionaries’ visionary proclamation. Vis-à-vis Glasnevin, research themes include: Death, religion and the god narrative; new and old memorials: Centennial Wall (2016), Cross of Sacrifice (2014), France-Ireland Memorial (2016); colonialism, nationalism, post-colonialism and the present; women (i) political narratives and (ii) framing the Children Story; tourism, the Museum; and re-imagining the Cemetery and its future. Monotheistic eschatological messages remain embedded not only in the physical and cultural archaeology of the cemetery-scape but also present day interments of

65 Irish Times. Aug 13, 2016. Bloody Sunday: Woman (95) marks grave of father she never knew. One of 14 civilians massacred by British forces in Croke Park. By James Matthews. https://www.iri 2Fculture%2Fheritage%2Fbloody-sunday-woman-95-marks-grave-of-father-she-never-knew-1. 2755788. YouTube. Bloody Sunday 1920: Glasnevin Ceremony to mark grave of victim, James Mathews. 66 Fewer NI people feel British than other UK regions—survey. By Mark Devenport BBC News NI Political Editor. 8 June 2018. Source: BBC survey was carried out online and over the telephone by LucidTalk. 67 ESRC. May 2018. The UK in a Changing Europe. Northern Ireland and the UK’s Exit from the EU What do people think? Evidence from Two Investigations: A Survey and a Deliberative Forum. By John Garry, Kevin McNicholl, Brendan O’Leary and James Pow. brexitni/BrexitandtheBorder/Report/Filetoupload,820734,en.pdf.

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ordinary people, alongside old and new monuments. Significantly, no obvious religious symbols are visible on the Necrology Wall (2016) where all those who died— combatants including Irish and British forces and civilians are listed. However, in the pageantry and rituals of its official opening, leaders of all the main Christian churches, and Jewish, Muslim and Humanist belief systems gave their blessings, despite the noise of the protestors. In Glasnevin cemetery, a kaleidoscope of the colonial heritage ranges from the Famine (1845–48) unmarked graves, to the erection of a Famine memorial cross in the 2016, to the dedicated memorials of constitutional, and military liberation combatants. The Decade of Centennials organizers, monument and museum architects, have invested in the shared aspects of Irish and Anglo-Irish involvement in the British forces in WWI feeding into WWII narratives also with British, European and global dimensions. More subtly, connections are suggested with the British Empire where Irish people served worldwide in the armed forces, administration, education, medicine and missionary activities. In contrast to past narratives, the national struggle and especially the period 1916–23 is being embedded within WWI frameworks and subsequent decolonization subplots as with India’s independence struggle. Post-colonial experiences are enmeshed in the civil war heritages, state-building and EU membership; and the divergence of the Northern Ireland state and the Troubles (1968–98) there that are no longer part of the conscious memory of people under 30 years old, more preoccupied with social, economic and climate issues at home and abroad. In Glasnevin Cemetery, driven by grass-roots groups feeding into the electorate, official Centennial narratives now emphasized the role of women in all domains: suffragist, trade union, nationalist, republican, social and cultural movements and also children including those who died during the 1916–23 period. In Glasnevin, framing the Angel’s Plot was driven by survivors, their families, researchers and public, challenging the overarching narrative of Church-State institutions and their complicity in blocking rights in many areas, alongside a plethora of abuse, epitomized by scandals ranging from clerical paedophilia to inhuman treatment in the Magdalene Laundries for ‘fallen women’. With the continuing revelations, denouement of some narratives, commissions, redress boards and glut of formal apologies and blamegames, the general public remains somewhat befuddled. Researchers are challenged to comprehensively present the role of the public and electorate in accepting the hell created for many citizens by the church-state Utopian vision, recalling Hannah Arendt’s concept of the banalization of evil, and normalization of the abnormal.68 68 Hannah

Arendt’s Original Articles on “the Banality of Evil” in the New Yorker Archive. Open Culture. banality_of_evil_in_the_inew_yorkeri_archive.html. See movies: Hannah Arendt (2012), German-Luxembourgish-French biographical drama film directed by Margarethe von Trotta, and is based on true events. Song for a Raggy Boy (2003), Irish historical drama film directed by Aisling Walsh. It is based on the book of the same name by Patrick Galvin and is based on true events. The Magdalene Sisters (2002), Irish historical drama film written and directed by Peter Mullan.


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The Glasnevin Museum plays a pivotal role in expositions, events, digital archives, education and research—now becoming a site of memory itself, but enhanced by the souvenir and coffee shop for local, national and international visitors. As the site becomes further developed, challenges remain: (i) Balancing the shared domain, selfperceived purview and power of the respective groups administering and working in the cemetery, including that of the Glasnevin Trust and the state, alongside O’Connell’s original remit of providing a non-denominational burial ground for locals and the people of Dublin. (ii) Strict control on the development, presentation and delivery of the ‘tourist product’ aspect. Is it just a question of time before audio and/or visual devices installed at graves and monuments tell the narratives, or even holographs! As refurbishment continues, future works and narratives will doubtlessly include greater incorporation of ordinary people’s stories. In the geopolitics of memories and emotions, realpolitik between the Republic and Northern Ireland’s communities has remained high on agenda emphasizing shared pasts including gains of the Peace Process (1998 on), relationships with Britain, and Irelands connections with Europe and worldwide. Nonetheless, shadows are cast by memories of extremist Republican and Unionist paramilitary groups in recent history, as well as the rise in English-British nationalism as witnessed in many Brexit narratives. Regarding Brexit, fear of its consequences for the island remain. EU negotiation teams have remained consistent to date that there will be no return to a hard border in Ireland.69 Overall, memorialisation contributes to wider inclusive interpretations of geography, history, heritage and citizenship as illustrated in the Decade of Centenaries programme.

References Johnson, NC (2005) Locating memory: tracing the trajectories of remembrance. Hist Geogr 33. nson&searchField=query ˇ c, G (Eds) (2015) Religion and human rights: an international perspective. Ziebertz, H-G, Crpi´ Springer, Berlin

69 Ireland must not become collateral damage amid ‘Tory civil war’ over Brexit—Mary Lou McDonald. 9 July 2018. eral-damage-amid-tory-civil-war-over-brexit-mary-lou-mcdonald-37098257.html.

‘Nowhere to Pay Our Respects’: Constructing Memorials for the Irish Dead of World War I in the Republic of Ireland, 2006–2018 Jonathan Cherry

Abstract Commemoration centred on First World War memorials has been a constant feature of civic life across the UK and many European countries over the past century, however Ireland’s experience is different. While a number of war memorials were unveiled post-1918, their significance as sites of commemoration declined after 1939. However, recent political developments have facilitated a new wave of public commemoration and remembrance expressed through the construction of war memorials. Using case studies, this chapter traces the key agents of remembrance, seeking to establish their motivations in creating these memorials. Other themes include the design and symbolism of the memorials, how they are funded and their ‘geography’ in relation to their siting. In assessing the memorials as foci for remembrance, the chapter concludes that the political nature of remembrance and commemoration continues as it always has, to excite responses and reactions. Keywords WWI war memorials · Ireland · Commemoration · Remembrance · Peace process · Decade of centenaries · Memorialisation

Introduction In April 2013, Jim Allen, mayor of Wexford town, spoke prior to the unveiling of a memorial in the town’s Redmond Square to those from County Wexford who had died during the Great War. He remarked that ‘My great grandfather Michael Golden from Wygram, died in the First World War… [and] like many in Wexford we have nowhere to pay our respects to those who died. This [memorial] will fulfil that need’. Aware that ‘the plans might stir some controversy’ Allen noted that ‘it was time to 1 ‘Memorial to honour the Wexford 800’ in Gorey Guardian, 30 April 2013 see Gorey Guardian ford-800-29230950.html [accessed 29 Aug 2019].

J. Cherry (B) School of History and Geography, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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move on’.1 While public commemoration of the war dead became a feature of civic life across the UK and many European countries in the aftermath of the Armistice of 1918 such commemoration in the Republic of Ireland was never practised to the same extent, and virtually ceased between 1939 and 2000. At the root of this ‘forgetting’ of Irish service with the British forces was a dominant nationalist narrative which portrayed such involvement negatively. Ireland’s neutrality during WWII further accentuated this, while the involvement of the British Army in Northern Ireland from 1969 onwards during the ‘troubles’ reinforced the narrative. Since the early years of this century, the ongoing peace process in Northern Ireland initiated in 1998 with the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, and normalisation of political relations between Britain and Ireland has, in the Republic of Ireland, opened up discussion on public commemoration of the Irish war dead. This chapter traces the construction over the last decade of public memorial structures at various locations around Ireland for Irish soldiers who died during the Great War. In providing context for this recent wave of public commemoration the chapter will outline Ireland’s experience of commemoration in the immediate aftermath of the war’s ending; the decline in public commemoration post-1939 and more recent political context that has facilitated commemorations post 2000.

World War I Commemoration in Ireland, 1919–1939 With the ending of the Great War, commemoration of the war dead found its greatest public expression in the construction of war memorials as sites of memory. As Jay Winter (2006, p. 135) has remarked such memorials were the ‘locus classicus of remembrance’. While this phenomenon gained momentum in Britain and across Europe, in Ireland the increasing Nationalist political influence coupled with the civil and military unrest that dominated the period 1919–1923 when the southern part of the country gained independence from Britain, stunted the construction of publiclysited war memorials. Commemoration of the war dead was limited in the main to those families directly affected, and to the relatively small Unionist population who had supported Ireland’s connection with Britain, the majority of whom were Protestants, who remained resident in the new Free State. However, it would be incorrect to think that commemoration ceased completely in Ireland at this time or that it was confined to one particular religious or political group. Between 1919-and 1930, a number of memorials appeared on the Irish landscape including those at Whitegate, county Cork in 1919; Castlebellingham, county Louth and Bray, county Wicklow during 1920; Virginia, county Cavan in 1923; in Cork city, Longford town and Drogheda, county Louth during 1925; Tullamore, county Offaly in 1926; Sligo town, Portlaoise, county Laois and Nenagh, county Tipperary during 1928; in Limerick city in 1929 and in Cahir, county Tipperary in 1930 (Taaffe 1999; Johnson 2009, pp. 96–105). These memorials were as the cultural geographer Nuala Johnson (2009, p. 83) has noted a ‘communal articulation of loss’ which alongside

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the unveiling ceremonies acted as ‘surrogate funeral services’ for the grieving relatives (p. 102). At Castlebellingham, the names of the fifty local soldiers who died were inscribed on the memorial, preceded by the inscription ‘Pray for those of the three parishes of Kilsaran, Dromiskin and Togher who fell for Ireland in the great international war of 1914–1919 .2 The distinctly local character of the inscription and inclusion of individual names on such war memorials was of symbolic significance in bringing ‘the dead back home’. As Winter (2014, pp. 95–96) remarked ‘their [war memorials] initial and primary purpose was to help the bereaved recover from their loss’. At the conclusion of the unveiling ceremony for the Drogheda memorial in 1925, it was reported that ‘many ex-Servicemen and other citizens lingered by the memorial for some time afterwards, and till darkness fell there was a stream of people, who approached and passed by reverently after an inspection of the memorial and a reading of the list of names…’ (Fig. 1).3

The Irish National War Memorial, Islandbridge, Dublin At a national level, plans for a national war memorial for Irish soldiers were instigated in July 1919. Despite the charged internal political atmosphere, large public displays of commemoration for Armistice Day were recorded in Dublin during the 1920s and 1930s with a temporary cenotaph in the Phoenix Park providing the focal site of remembrance (Pennell 2017, p. 260). It was not however until 1927 that serious consideration was given to the construction of a monumental memorial when it was suggested that Merrion Square in the centre of Dublin—facing the new Irish Parliament—be acquired as a site for the memorial. Following parliamentary debate, plans to use this site were abandoned. The close proximity to the seat of the new Irish parliament meant that the site was not a good fit with the image and narrative that the nascent Irish government wished to present, while concerns also related to the use of the site for large scale ceremonies with suggestions that it was impractical for the purpose (Johnson 2009, pp. 84–94). A new 10-hectare site at Islandbridge was finally selected in 1929, where Sir Edward Lutyens designed a new monumental landscape of remembrance. The peripheral location, 4.8 km to the west of the city on the southern side of the Liffey, ‘affording a convenient degree of invisibility’ (Dolan 2003, p. 40), was for many a signal of the Irish governments discomfort in dealing with the countries war dead, as Ireland sought to establish a narrative of independence from Britain. Work on the memorial began in 1931 and was completed by 1937 at a cost of £100,000. Some £44,000 was provided by the Irish government, with the remainder raised by the Irish National War Memorial Fund. The planned official opening of the park in 1938 ran into difficulties over the government’s request that the union or regimental flags were not displayed, while a ceremony planned for the

2 ‘Ireland’s

Part in the War’ in The Irish Times, 6 February 1920. War Memorial’ in The Irish Times, 6 November 1925.

3 ‘Drogheda’s


Fig. 1 Location of WW I memorials

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following year was put on hold due to the imminence of war in Europe (Jeffery 2000, pp. 122–123; Johnson 2009, pp. 108–111; MacLeod 2013, pp. 658–662).

Commemoration in Ireland Post 1939 As a result of Ireland’s neutrality during WWII, public commemoration of those who had died fighting with the British Army was discouraged. From 1940 to the early 1970s the Irish National War Memorial Gardens was only open on Armistice Sunday for Remembrance ceremonies and these were low key events, without parade or large scale military displays. As one historian observed, ‘commemorating men who had joined the British army during the First World War in the period 1939–1945 had a political resonance much stronger than that in the 1920s and 1930s’ (Pennell 2017, p. 261). By the mid-twentieth century, state-sponsored commemoration in Ireland had as its focus the 1916 Easter Rising—a military rebellion against British rule in Ireland—which fed the narrative of what constituted a ‘true’ Irish cultural and political identity. This reached fever point in 1966 as the 50th anniversary of event was marked. As Catriona Pennell (2017, p. 261) has noted ‘There was no room for nuance or overlap; Irishmen in this period had either fought for the British Empire or fought against it’. Several war memorials were attacked during the 1950s. Attempts to blow up the National Memorial in 1956 and 1958 (D’Arcy 2004, p. 356) were unsuccessful, but the memorial in Limerick city was destroyed by explosion in August 1957 (Moloney 2008, p. 121). When reflecting on official Ireland’s neglect of those lost during WWI, F.X. Martin referred to it as ‘the ‘Great Oblivion’, an example of national amnesia’ (1967, p. 68). The outbreak of conflict in Northern Ireland in 1969 and further hardening of civil society into two broad camps based on their political and cultural identities inhibited public commemoration of the war dead. While public commemoration in Ireland post-1939 was thus greatly diminished, it is important to acknowledge that commemoration within the sacred and private spaces of churches—in particular Protestant churches—occurred with much greater frequency from 1939 onwards. The war memorial tablet inside the parish church provided a safe space and focus of remembrance for many Irish Protestants. Acts of remembrance—which included the reading of the names of the dead, laying of wreaths at memorial and observance of two minutes’ silence on Remembrance Sunday each November—became an integral part of the liturgical calendar of the Protestant churches. For Catholics however, without such memorials in their churches (Johnson 2009, p. 96) and within the broader socio-political environment of a ‘new’ Ireland, the process of forgetting was initiated. Gradually, commemoration of the war dead became primarily associated with Protestantism, a position fully exploited by Protestants in Northern Ireland. Keith Jeffrey (2000, p. 131) observed that, ‘the commemoration of the war became overwhelmingly an opportunity to confirm loyalty to the British link and affirm Ulster’s Protestant heritage’. Ultimately the


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vast majority of Irish people were distanced from, or distanced themselves from, the commemoration and rituals.

Commemoration in Ireland Post-1995 From the late 1980s onwards, partly as a result of renewed academic interest in the involvement of Irish soldiers in WWI, a broader interest amongst the Irish public was ignited (Fitzpatrick 1986). State engagement was perhaps best reflected in the renovation of the long-neglected national war memorial gardens at Islandbridge. By the mid-1980s ‘its monuments [were] crumbling to decay, one of its granite pillars was demolished by a stolen car, the pergola’s oak beams sagging as result; the elms destroyed by disease; the rubbish-strewn fountains dry; the gates and fences broken to let in grazing animals; the flowers long gone, tree stumps and broken glass abounding’ (D’Arcy 2007, p. 357), all a manifestation of state neglect. Significant state investment in the site was initiated in 1985, and by 1994 works were completed. In 1995 the first government-led commemoration at the site took place, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the ending of WWII and remembering the Irish who had died during that conflict (D’Arcy 2007, p. 369). On the 1 July 2006, the national war memorial gardens at Islandbridge was the setting for the first formal state commemoration of all Irish soldiers who had died while fighting as part of the British army during WWI. The watershed event was televised and attended by the President of Ireland, An Taoiseach [Prime Minister], government ministers, ambassadors and political representatives from Northern Ireland, to mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and commemorate the significant involvement of Irish soldiers in that particular battle. This was a significant event in the context of both official Ireland’s own neglect of its 1914–1918 war dead and secondly in the context of the early days of the Northern Ireland peace process initiated by the Good Friday/Belfast agreement of 1998. Reflecting on the ceremony, President Mary McAleese noted that it had marked a ‘turn of history’ allowing the State to ‘at last be able to offer’ a ceremony to honour and respect thousands of Irish soldiers, from North and South.4 The ceremony also provided opportunities to reflect on the shared histories and experiences of war across the island of Ireland, as part of the process of reconciliation—as the process of dispelling long held fears and suspicions of the ‘other’—a central pillar to the ongoing peace process. President McAleese concluded that the ceremony had also ‘signalled a fresh and exciting comprehension of a shared history which had been allowed to become bitterly divisive’.5 4 ‘Somme commemoration was a turn in our history—McAleese’ in Irish Independent, 3 July 2006. 5 Remarks

by President McAleese at a North South Reception to mark the 12th of July Aras an Uachtarain, Wednesday 12 July 2006 available at President of Ireland [accessed 28 Aug 2019].

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Since then the National War Memorial at Islandbridge has played an important role as a site of remembrance in both Ireland’s renewed engagement with its war dead and in Irish-British relations. It was one of the key sites visited by Queen Elizabeth II during her historic visit to Ireland in May 2011, when she lay a wreath at the ‘Stone of Remembrance’ alongside the Irish President (Johnson 2012). The broad narrative that has emerged from these commemorative events providing a platform for crosscommunity engagement, has revolved around ‘healing’ and ‘reconciliation’ between conflicting groups in Northern Ireland. It was a process that had begun on the ‘safe’ and ‘neutral’ space at the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines in Belgium on 11 November 1998 when President Mary McAleese unveiled a memorial in the presence of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Belgium’s King Albert II. Taking the form of an Irish round tower the memorial ‘dedicated to the memory of all those from the Island of Ireland who fought and died in WWI’. The memorial was erected by ‘A Journey of Reconciliation Trust’ which had been established by Paddy Harte, an Irish TD (Teachta Dála/Member of Parliament) and Glenn Barr, a former commander of the Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist paramilitary organisation which had operated during the Northern Ireland ‘troubles’. The memorial, its origins and the ceremony surrounding its unveiling illustrated the significant role that commemoration could play in the peace process. In the Republic of Ireland, inspired by such events and within the changed political context, some local communities took on the task of retrieving their war dead from oblivion through the construction of memorials. In 1998, at Bandon in county Cork a simple stone memorial bearing the inscription ‘Erected to the memory of the people from Bandon and the surrounding areas who fought and those who died in the Great World Wars. Lest we forget’ was unveiled, having been paid for by public subscription.6 Another early example of the construction of a war memorial occurred in Leighlinbridge, county Carlow, where Ireland’s first all-county7 WWI memorial, based on the design of the Menin Gate Memorial was unveiled in September 2002 (D’Arcy 2007, p. 363).

Commemoration of World War I in Ireland 2006–2018 The impressive ceremonial state commemoration at Islandbridge in 2006 was a milestone event. Across the country a number of projects were initiated to commemorate the war dead locally. At Castlebar, county Mayo, the Peace Park, Garden of Remembrance—comprised of an impressive polished granite wall inscribed with the names of county Mayo’s war dead—was unveiled by President McAleese in 2008. She

6 For

further detail see Bandon War Memorial [accessed 30 Aug 19]. 7 The memorial in Carlow was the first memorial that listed the names of all those from a particular county-administrative area- together on the one memorial, up to then memorials had tended to commemorate those from towns or smaller administrative areas.


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remarked that those ‘who died in the Great War, were destined to have their memories consigned to shoe-boxes in attics until recent years, when a great longing for reconciliation allowed us to remember differently’.8 In 2012 the Irish government launched a historical programme entitled the ‘Decade of Centenaries’—covering the centenary events of 1912—1923, including the Ulster Covenant, the 1913 Lockout, the Easter Rising 1916 and many centenaries relating to WWI and formation of the new state—led by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Reconciliation through commemoration is one the central tenets of the programme as it seeks to ‘encompass the different traditions on the island of Ireland and aims to enhance understanding of and respect for events of importance among the population as a whole… The programme will offer fresh insights and constructive dialogue, and aims to foster deeper mutual understanding among people from different traditions on the island of Ireland’.9 The space made for commemoration by the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ has further augmented a greater consciousness and acceptance amongst Irish people of the role played by Irish soldiers during WWI. This legitimisation of commemoration has found its most visible expression in the proliferation of WWI memorials unveiled around the country over the past number of years. It is to an examination of what Winter (2014, p. 86) has described as ‘the business of commemoration’ that the focus of this chapter now turns, tracing the origins and key motivations in constructing these memorials, detailing how their construction is funded; the symbolism of designs; where they are located and subsequent usage as sites of commemoration.

Contemporary Commemoration: Origins and Motivations The majority of memorials examined as part of this research project have been the result of the agency of individuals and local community groups who for a variety of reasons—from familial connections with the war dead to a strong desire to correct the lack of commemorative spaces at a local level have invested significant effort in these undertakings. As Winter (2006, p. 3) has remarked ‘To privilege ‘remembrance’ is to insist on specifying agency, on answering the question who remembers, when, where and how?’ In terms of the more recent commemoration in the Irish context, the initial process of remembrance has involved the identification and verification of the names of those from a particular area who died during the conflict and inclusion of these names on a ‘Roll of Honour’. This is a time-consuming task. Researchers spent twenty years compiling and verifying the 1,192 names on the Wicklow Roll

8 Remarks

by President McAleese at the official opening of the Mayo Peace Park, Garden of Remembrance Castlebar Tuesday 7 October 2008 available at President of Ireland icial-opening-of-the-mayo-peace-par [accessed 26 Aug 19]. 9 See Decade of Centenaries [accessed 30 Aug 19].

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of Honour completed in 2014.10 The listing of the war dead from particular counties and in several instances their publication online11 has facilitated public engagement. To raise awareness of those who served and died from county Kilkenny, the Kilkenny Great War memorial committee made small crosses representing each of the 3,129 Kilkenny natives who served in the Great War. Borrowing from the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red art installation at the Tower of London, these crosses each with the name of a person—black crosses indicating those who died—were laid out in the shape of a Celtic cross on the parade lawn of Kilkenny Castle in 2015. This was hugely successful in artistically illustrating the scale of loss from one local area and did much to capture public attention and support for the construction of a more permanent memorial structure where the names could be inscribed.12 The memorials constructed in the immediate aftermath of the war sought to bring the dead back home symbolically by having their names engraved in stone or metal on the village memorial, and this same motivation continues to define the work of the agents of remembrance involved in contemporary commemorative work in Ireland. The significance of localising memorialisation of ‘claiming relatives’ and ‘bringing them home’ remains a strong motivation in providing memorial structures as a focus for remembrance. In interview Donal Croghan, chairperson of the Kilkenny Great War memorial committee noted that ‘while there are memorials in churches in some parts of the county, no collective non-denominational all-rank memorial existed to record the massive input to the war effort by all sections of society from Kilkenny’.13 In county Clare, from where over 700 lost their lives, the motivation for the memorial was to provide ‘a solemn space, reflecting on the soldiers’ heritage and roots… to finally remember, 100 years on, the sacrifice and suffering that people from the county made at that time and the many survivors and families of those who lost loved ones endured for years afterwards’.14 The contemporary role that commemoration and remembrance can play as part of the process of healing and peace-building is reflected in the origins of the county Cavan war memorial. Sharing its border with Northern Ireland the origins and motivation of the memorial there came through the EU funded PEACE III Peace and Reconciliation Programme and the Cavan Messines Group supported by this funding between 2010 and 2011. Named after the area of Messines in Belgium where the 10 ‘New

Wicklow war memorial opens on 100th anniversary of Home Rule’ in The Irish Times, 18 September 2014 see The Irish Times klow-war-memorial-opens-on-100th-anniversary-of-home-rule-1.1932418 [accessed 5 Sep 19]. 11 Examples of Rolls of Honour include those for county Cavan available at Cavan County Council [accessed 3 Sep 19] and for county Donegal available at Donegal County Council gal%20book%20of%20honour/ [accessed 3 Sep 19]. 12 Copy of Order of ceremony and commemorative booklet for unveiling ceremony at MacDonagh Railway Station Kilkenny, 12 August 2018 provided to author by Donal Croghan, chair of Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee. 13 Interview with Donal Croghan, chair of Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee, 5 May 2019. 14 ‘Honouring Clare dead of World War I’ in The Clare Champion, 28 July 2014 see The Clare Champion [accessed 3 Sep 19].


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Island of Ireland Peace Park is located, the group is comprised of ex-Irish servicemen and women who had relatives who had fought in WWI. An emotional visit by the group to some of the battlefields of Belgium and Northern France, inspired them on their return to develop a memorial for all those from Cavan who had died.15

Funding Memorial Structures While the initial tracing and verification of those who died is costly in terms of time and effort, the financial costs associated with bringing a memorial to fruition— alongside associated site and landscaping works—are significant and have ranged from e70,000 to e120,000. This funding has been secured from a range of sources including local authorities, the state, private donations and sponsorship. The primary source of funding for the e70,000 memorial at Ennis in county Clare came from Clare County Council with the balance provided through the Ireland 1916 Fund and private donations.16 In illustrating the sincerity of their intentions, the Kilkenny memorial committee were able to inform the local authority at their initial meeting in 2010 that they had already raised e10,000 towards the memorial. Responding to this level of commitment, the local authority allocated e80,000 over the next four years from their funds towards the memorial. The exceptionally active Kilkenny committee also raised funding for their memorials through Church Gate Collections, the sale of a book entitled ‘Kilkenny’s War Dead’, donations from visitors to a replica trench constructed in Kilkenny city centre in July 2016, a sponsored cycle and funds from the court poor box.17 In Sligo, a planned memorial is projected to cost e120,000, with Sligo County Council (the local authority) and Sligo Local Community Development as the lead funders. Sligo’s location within the EU designated area of a border county has enabled it to gain funding of e40,000 under the PEACE IV Programme (2014–2020) under the Objective of Peace and Reconciliation Events. However a significant drive in raising the remaining funding is underway with sponsors being encouraged to adopt a soldier’s name or an area from where a number of soldiers originated.18 One significant source of funding for memorial structures from which the Kilkenny and Sligo memorials benefitted is the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland branch. In summer 2017 they announced that a grant fund of e550,000 had been established ‘To encourage the tradition of County Remembrance through community action and to offer tangible assistance to those engaged in remembering Ireland’s fallen.’ The statement announcing the funding which runs from 2017 to 2021 also noted that it was to, ‘encourage and support county level initiatives that permanently commemorate the 15 Email

correspondence with artist Tina Quinn, 16 May 2019. with Dr Keir McNamara, chair of Clare Peace Park Initiative, 7 May 2019. 17 Interview with Donal Croghan, chair of Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee, 5 May 2019. 18 For more on the efforts to raise the funds for the Sligo memorial see Lest Sligo Forgets https:// [accessed 3 Sep 19]. 16 Interview

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memory of Irish men and women who died whilst on, or as a result of, active service with the Armed Forces of the UK, Commonwealth or Allied Nations during World Wars 1 and II’. The statement concluded that the fund also seeks ‘to complement the remaining RoI [Republic of Ireland] Government Decade of Centenaries programme which aims to enhance understanding of and respect for events of importance among the different commemorative traditions in Ireland’.19 The provision of this funding is significant in demonstrating the immense strides that have been made in Irish-British relations over the past number of years.

Design and Symbolism of Memorials WWI memorials constructed in Ireland over the past decade follow a number of common designs. Firstly, there are those which take the form of screen walls, comprised of stone panels with the names engraved on them, drawing inspiration from the iconic Maya Lin designed Vietnam Memorial unveiled on Washington’s Mall in 1982. The simple design of the screen wall memorial listing the names of those who had died in conflict proved particularly powerful. One of the very earliest screen wall memorials was in Fermoy, county Cork where the memorial comprised of panels of Wicklow Granite surmounted by a Celtic cross was unveiled by the then Taoiseach [PM] Bertie Ahern in 2006.20 At Waterford Castle, the impressive county memorial comprised of polished granite panels was unveiled in 2013; while the Kilkenny memorial wall comprising fourteen panels of local Kilkenny limestone was unveiled in 2018. Inscribing of names has become a central feature in the design of recent war memorials in Ireland. Those with relatives whose names are inscribed on the memorials have spoken of the importance of their being able ‘to touch the names’. One of the key aims of the grant funding scheme launched in 2017 by the Royal British Legion was its intention to help ‘defray or offset the costs of inscribing the names of the fallen on a permanent memorial’.21 Ultimately, this simple listing of names—frequently in alphabetically order as on the Kilkenny memorial or by place of origin in alphabetical order as on the Waterford and Wicklow memorials—is the most powerful and strongest message that a memorial gives in relating the loss of life (Fig. 2). In 2014 at the unveiling of the county Clare war memorial the chairperson of the organising committee, Dr Keir McNamara remarked that, ‘Hopefully, now after so many years we can remember this part of our county’s and country’s history with a permanent memorial. For 100 years we have relied on people in other countries to maintain the graves and memorials that contain the remains and names of Clare men 19 The

funding announcement by the Royal British Legion is available at Ireland xo Reaching Out [accessed 8 May 2019]. 20 ‘Ahern hopeful of North Talks Progress’ in The Irish Times, 9 October 2006. 21 See Ireland xo Reaching Out [accessed 8 May 2019].


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Fig. 2 Section showing some of the names inscribed on one of the panels on the Kilkenny war memorial. Image courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch

and women. It is time to bring all the names together in our county in one place and include those that have not until now had any memorial’.22 Another notable design which has come to be employed in contemporary war memorials in Ireland is abstractly placed standing stone panels. At Woodenbridge, county Wicklow, fifteen upright polished granite pieces are engraved with the name of the war dead. The architect who designed the memorial remarked that the panels had been ‘arranged to give a sense of enclosure that would have been experienced by the soldiers in the trenches’.23 The memorial planned for Sligo is also intended to be comprised of eight upright granite stone panels. Lacking any iconography, this apolitical design is significant. Reflecting the motivations to create sites of remembrance and sites of healing—from hurts and injuries both distant and more recent—rather than sites of mourning, the move away from religious iconography and militaristic signs, symbols and inscriptions is notable. As part of the EU PEACE III funded project the memorial unveiled in Cavan on the 1 July 2012 after collaboration between the Cavan Messines Group and artist and sculptor Tina Quinn reflects the importance of reconciliation as part of the process of commemoration. According to the sculptor Tina Quinn the group ‘wanted a piece 22 ‘Honouring

Clare dead of World War I’ in The Clare Champion, 28 July 2014 see The Clare Champion [accessed 3 Sep 19]. 23 Detail relating to the design of the memorial and landscape at Woodenbridge, county Wicklow available at Irish Landscape Institute dge-wwi-memorial/ [accessed 9 May 2019].

‘Nowhere to Pay Our Respects’: Constructing Memorials …


of public art that encapsulated not the glory of the Cavan men who fought during WWI but a piece that captured humanity, mutual respect, brotherhood, tolerance and an acceptance of the past: The result is a figurative piece depicting a person welcoming another back from the war’.24 An inscription of the traditional Irish war cry, ‘Faugh a Ballagh’ which may be translated as ‘Clear the Way’—the motto of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, a regiment which had recruited heavily in county Cavan during the conflict- is inscribed on the plinth on which the figurative piece stands, beneath which the names of those from Cavan’s Roll of Honour have been inscribed (Fig. 3). Some memorials adopt more classical designs such as that in Ballina, county Mayo, where the memorial dedicated in 2015 comprises a more traditional obelisk of black polished granite.25 Inclusion of symbols and motifs as part of the overall design of some contemporary memorials is notable. The central panel of the Kilkenny memorial depicts a soldier in bas relief with his weapon held in reverse (Fig. 4), an international symbol of mourning and respect (Mackin and Absusnnouga 2013). In Ennis, county Clare, the memorial is comprised of three glass panels containing the 680 names of the county’s war dead. Silhouettes of a British Tommy, an Anzac soldier and a Canadian/USA Doughboy are etched into the three panels (Fig. 5). The motivation is explained by the chair of the local organising committee: ‘Many people when they think of WW1 focus too much on the involvement of Irish men in British uniform. While most did, this was … truly an international conflict with many men joining the armies of the new countries they had immigrated to’.26 At the centre base of the Ennis memorial, linking the three glass panels together is a memorial stone (Fig. 6) made from Portland stone inscribed with ‘Their name liveth for evermore’. Taken from the Biblical Ecclesiasticus 44, verse 14 this became a popular inscription for Stones of Remembrance in the aftermath of WWI. By using Portland stone—the stone most commonly used in making WW1 headstones throughout Europe—for their memorial stone and for the benches that surround the memorial, the Ennis committee sought to connect their very contemporary glass and metal memorial with the more traditional well-recognised materials of commemoration (Skelton and Gliddon 2008). Likewise at Midleton, county Cork, the memorial unveiled in June 2018 is comprised of ten panels of Portland stone.27 A number of regimental crests and two verses from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon including the well-known lines: ‘They shall not grow old…’ are also included in the central panel.

24 ‘Peace

sculptures added to Cavan streetscape’ in The Anglo-Celt, 28 July 2011. detail on the Ballina, county Mayo memorial available at https://www.mayo. me/ballina-memorial-to-world-war-1-dead [accessed 9 May 2019]. 26 Interview with Dr Keir McNamara, chair of Clare Peace Park Initiative, 8 May 2019. 27 Further detail on the Midleton memorial available at Midleton WW I Memorial Project https:// [accessed 21 June 2019]. 25 Further


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Fig. 3 Cavan WWI memorial. Image courtesy of Jonathan Smyth

Siting the Memorials While the vast majority of early war memorials constructed in Ireland were afforded central sites in urban settings, the more recent phase of memorialisation has resulted in the construction of monuments within larger park and landscaped sites away from town centres. In part this changing ‘geography’ of the war memorial may be accounted for in examining motivations for their construction. No longer, as

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Fig. 4 Soldier depicted on the central panel of the Kilkenny war memorial. Image courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch

already argued, are these memorials seen as sites of mourning for those who knew those whom the memorial commemorates but rather as sites of remembrance and reflection. In Kilkenny, the war memorial committee settled on a local authority owned site at Michael Street a short distance from the town centre as a ‘quiet and reflective space’. The location on the banks of the River Nore which runs through the county also serves as a symbolic thread and connection between the county at large and the memorial site. The site provided by Sligo County Council to the Lest Sligo Forgets group is located about one kilometre south-east of the town centre at Cleveragh Regional Park, where the memorial will form the centrepiece of a small landscaped area envisaged as ‘a place apart for meditation and remembrance’.28 The contemporary design and nature of commemorative structures as examined earlier does not lend itself to the more formal and ceremonial sites afforded the earlier monuments. In general, the sites selected as location for the new memorials are in 28 The

plans for the Sligo memorial are available at Lest Sligo Forgets sligo-memorial-garden [accessed 4 Sep 19].


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Fig. 5 WWI memorial, Ennis, county Clare. Image courtesy of Ger Browne

Fig. 6 Stone of remembrance, WWI memorial, Ennis, county Clare. Image courtesy of Ger Browne

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the ownership of the local authority. In providing these sites they play an integral role alongside the local organising committees in planning, construction and realisation of memorial structures. In Ennis, county Clare the key concern for the committee was to find a site in an accessible part of the town. The council-owned site on which the memorial was eventually constructed on Friars Walk to the east of the town centre has subsequently been designated a Peace Park, where other commemorative groups and committees may site their memorials.29 In Cavan town, the memorial unveiled in July 2012 was initially sited equidistant between the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches reflecting its role it in reconciliation and a shared experience of loss and suffering. More recently it has found a permanent home within a quiet section of a larger recreational parkland a short distance to the north of the town. While the majority of new memorials are located within urban/semi-urban areas, the rural location of the memorial to the county Wicklow war dead at Woodenbridge is of note. The site was selected primarily for its historical significance. It marks the location where, in 1914, John Redmond- the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party who sought to achieve independence for Ireland through parliamentary means– made a famous speech encouraging Irish men to join the British army in the defence of small nations. Besides this historical association, it is also a particularly idyllic site within a glade along the river Aughrim. Austen Associates, the landscape designers responsible for the site, were briefed to create ‘a place of peaceful and dignified reflection’ without it being ‘overly sombre or austere’.30

Creating Spaces of Remembrance: Actions and Reactions The unveiling ceremonies for new memorials are significant moments in the process of creating new spaces of remembrance. In the Irish context, these carefully choreographed events tend to feature contributions from military, civic and religious leaders and nearly all have included the well-established and recognised Royal British Legion-inspired ‘Act of Remembrance’31 as exemplified by the ceremony for unveiling of the Kilkenny monument on the 15 July 2018. That ceremony began with the singing of the ‘The Evening Hymn—The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended’ followed by addresses from the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan; the chairpersons of the local authority and local memorial organising committee. Unveiling of the memorial by the Justice Minister was followed by the religious component of the ceremony, comprising prayers read by representatives of the Roman Catholic church and Church of Ireland [Anglican/Protestant] centred on the theme of remembrance,

29 Interview

with Dr Keir McNamara, chair of Clare Peace Park Initiative, 8 May 2019. Irish Landscape Institute [accessed 9 May 2019]. 31 The Act of Remembrance may be viewed at The Royal British Legion https://www.britishlegion. [accessed 4 Sep 19]. 30 See


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Fig. 7 Unveiling ceremony of Kilkenny war memorial, 15 July 2018. Image courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch

freedom and peace. The laying of wreaths by a number of local and national politicians, representatives of the Irish army and Garda Síochána [Irish police service], ambassadors and a number of national organisations was followed by a pipers’ lament and Last Post. Then followed the ‘Act of Remembrance’ including the exhortation ‘They shall not grow old’ given bilingually in Irish and English, after which two minutes’ silence was observed. The dedication ‘When you go home’ was given by the president of the British Legion in Ireland (Fig. 7). After the raising of the national flag the ceremony concluded with the singing of the national anthem ‘The Soldier’s Song’ / ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’, with relatives then afforded the opportunity to lay wreaths. On the 1 July 2012 in Cavan the involvement of relatives was a defining and central feature of the ceremony. A number of poems including ‘In Flanders Field’ were read by members of Cavan Comhairle na nÓg [local children and youth council] followed by a short prayer service led by a chaplain to the Irish army. This was followed by the laying of wreaths by a Government minister on behalf of the government; by the chairperson of the local authority on behalf of the people of Cavan; by the president of the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland branch; by representatives from the Irish Defence Forces and members of the Royal Irish Regiment. The involvement of members of the Royal Irish Regiment–part of the British Army—in the ceremony was momentous as it was one of the first times in the recent phase of commemoration that representatives of the British and Irish army commemorated war dead together at a public event in the border region. After the formal wreath-laying ceremony which also included those by a number of ambassadors and representatives from embassies,

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small white crosses were laid close to the memorial by a number of descendants of those commemorated by the memorial. This public commemoration delayed by nearly a century was the most poignant part of the ceremony. The sounding of the Last Post and Reveille followed by the national anthem brought the Cavan ceremony to a conclusion.32 The memorial structures examined in this chapter have subsequently become the focus and sites for commemorative events and rituals of remembrance at significant dates throughout the year, particularly on Armistice Day/Remembrance Sunday or on specific dates such as on the 1st July in commemoration of the Battle of the Somme.33 Their ongoing role as sites of remembrance is central to the funding scheme that the Royal British Legion has established, as one its criteria is that ‘Projects must be located in an appropriate public place … including provision for disabled access and offer suitable facilities for public gathering and commemorative activities’.34 However, these spaces of commemoration have not been welcomed by all and despite the immense advances that have been made in terms of a more nuanced understanding of Ireland’s relationship with Britain and its evolution throughout the twentieth century, an undercurrent of deep resentment for anything to do with the British Army remains amongst some in Ireland. As has been observed ‘Not all members of the loyalist and nationalist communities across the island of Ireland have bought into this sense of shared history and understanding’ (Pennell 2017, p. 272). Several weeks after the unveiling of the memorial in Cavan in July 2012, James Murphy, writing from Blackrock, Dublin in a letter to the local newspaper The Anglo-Celt remarked that ‘These men, although Irish, fought as members of the British army, and therefore should be correctly referred to as British soldiers. They did not fight for Ireland, but were duped … into fighting against countries who were friends of Ireland. Many of them regretted what they had done’. Murphy concluded his letter by stating that he was ‘surprised at the haste in which these British soldiers are being commemorated, particularly in light of the atrocities carried out by the British army in the six counties’ (Northern Ireland).35 Physical attacks on several of the monuments have also been recorded. In September 2018, the memorial in Kilkenny was defaced with spray paint, while the central panel which contained the statute of the soldier was badly damaged and chipped during a second attack in March 2019.36 This drew condemnation from many including the government Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan who in expressing her sadness 32 A

film of the ceremony at Cavan may be viewed at World War 1 Roll of Honour Cavan 2012. from 57:00 min onwards. 33 Photographs of the commemorative event in Ennis, county Clare in July 2019 are available at Ennis Parish [accessed 4 Sep 19]. 34 See Ireland xo Reaching Out [accessed 8 May 2019]. 35 ‘Duped’ Irish who fought in WWI were ‘British Soldiers’ in The Anglo-Celt, 19 July 2012. 36 ‘Vigil takes place in Kilkenny in response to vandalism of war memorial’ in The Irish Times, 6 March 2019 see The Irish Times [accessed 3 Sep 19].


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Fig. 8 Vandalised war memorial at Ennis, county Clare, October 2018. Image courtesy of Pat Flynn

remarked that, ‘We will continue to show maturity and understanding in respectfully reflecting upon differing perspectives on our shared history. And we will continue to give the men and women who fought in the cause of Irish freedom and those who fought in WWI their rightful place in history, as we seek to strengthen peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland’.37 In October 2018, one of the glass panels that comprised the Clare Peace Park Initiative memorial in Ennis was vandalised and the glass shattered (Fig. 8). The images of the various soldiers depicted on the memorial was most likely at the heart of the vandalism, as Dr. Keir McNamara chair of the initiative remarked that ‘a mistrust and dislike of the British military uniform especially as a result of roles of British soldiers in the War of Independence and Northern troubles’38 still existed. McNamara concluded that ‘We are disgusted by this turn of events. The memorial has been a wonderful addition to the built heritage of Ennis and Clare and means so much to so many people’.39 One of the most high profile attacks was on a temporary memorial which had been erected at the entrance to St Stephen’s Green in Dublin in November 2018 marking the ending of WWI. Entitled the ‘Haunting Soldier’, the six-metre-tall sculpture made from scrap metal 37 See Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht

dalism-to-the-memorial-in-kilkennys-peace-park/ [accessed 10 May 2019]. with Dr Keir McNamara, chair of Clare Peace Park Initiative, 9 May 2019. 39 ‘It’s frankly sickening’—e70 k glass memorial for Irish World War One victims damaged by vandals’ in The Irish Independent, 24 October 2018 see The Irish Independent https://www.ind [accessed 3 Sep 19]. 38 Interview

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was extensively damaged when red paint was thrown on it. The widespread condemnation following this attack and overwhelming positive reaction of the public to the monument illustrates that the vast majority of Irish people have no grievances with such spaces for commemoration and remembrance.40

Conclusions What is remarkable is how far the story of commemoration and remembrance of Ireland’s dead from WW I has come over recent years (Jeffery 2015). Formal engagement by the Irish government in more recent commemorations may be traced back to the mid-1990s and significant investment of state funds in refurbishment of the long neglected National War Memorial Gardens in Dublin. Use of the Islandbridge Memorial Gardens in 1995 as the location for the first state-led commemoration of Irish involvement—albeit in the second world war—heralded a new era of state involvement in commemorating the ‘neglected’ Irish war dead. From this, a number of small-scale local commemorative structures emerged in retrieving the memory of the dead of WWI. Simultaneously, the Northern Ireland peace process enhanced cooperation and development of good North–South relations on the island and development of strong political relations between the Republic of Ireland and the UK helped to smooth and facilitate the process of commemoration. Indeed, as noted in this chapter, commemoration and remembrance of the Irish dead of WWI proved a potent vehicle through which shared histories and heritages could be explored, integral to the process of reconciliation amongst the differing traditions across the country. More recently the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins has ‘effectively argued that remembering the war should not be about recognising another tradition but about accepting that Irishness is multi- faceted’ (Grayson 2018, pp. 337–338). Within this broader socio-political context, the recent and relatively rapid rate at which memorials have been appearing on the Irish landscape may be linked to the space provided for commemoration by the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ programme. The majority of recent WWI memorials in Ireland have been constructed by local groups who have undertaken this work of remembrance. Of particular note is the desire amongst these groups to symbolically ‘bring the war dead home’ to their native places, through inscription of their names on these memorials. As Jay Winter in writing about the initial phase of commemoration in the immediate aftermath of war—but equally applicable to Ireland’s recent experience—remarks ‘Only local activity, and smallactivity at that, can preserve the original charge, the emotion, the conviction which went into war memorial work’ (2006, p. 149). However, for some in Ireland memorials commemorating Irish soldiers who died in WWI while serving with the British

40 ‘Crowds

turn out to bid farewell to Haunting Solider statue’ in The Irish Times, 25 November 2018 see The Irish Times [accessed 4 Sep 19].


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army still evoke strong emotions and some tensions. The political nature of remembrance and commemoration expressed through memorials continues as it always has, to excite responses and diverse reactions. Acknowledgements The author wishes to acknowledge funding provided under the Spring 2019 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Conference Travel Scheme DCU.

References D’Arcy F (2007) Remembering the war dead: British commonwealth and international war graves in Ireland since 1914. Government Publications, Dublin Dolan A (2003) Commemorating the Irish civil war, 1923–2000. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Fitzpatrick D (ed) (1986) Ireland and the first world war. Dublin, Trinity History Workshop Grayson R (2018) Dublin’s great wars: the first world war, the easter rising and the Irish revolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Jeffery K (2000) Ireland and the great war. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Jeffery K (2015) Commemoration and the hazard of Irish politics. In: Ziino B (ed) Remembering the first world war. Routledge, London and New York, pp 165–183 Johnson N (2009) Ireland, the great war and the geography of remembrance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Johnson N (2012) A royal encounter: space, spectacle and the Queen’s visit to Ireland 2011. Geograph J 178(3):194–200 Mackin D, Absusnnouga G (2013) The language of war memorials. Continuum Publishing Corporation, New York Macleod J (2013) Britishness and commemoration: national memorials to the first world war in Britain and Ireland. J Contemp Hist 48(4):647–665 Moloney T (2008) The limerick war memorial. North Munster Antiquarian J 48:115–122 Pennell C (2017) ‘Choreographed by the angels’? Ireland and the centenary of the first world war. War Soc 36(4):256–275 Skelton TJ, Gliddon G (2008) Lutyens and the great war. Frances Lincoln, London Taaffe S (1999) Commemorating the Fallen: public memorials to the irish dead of the great war. Archaeol Irel 13(3):18–22 Winter J (2006) Remembering war: the great war between memory and history in the twentieth century. New Haven, Conn, Yale University Press, London Winter J (2014) Sites of memory, sites of mourning. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity Yılmaz Arı

Abstract The discourses of the past are constructed socially and expressed materially in the Gallipoli commemorations from a cultural geographic perspective. Gallipoli is a place where multiple nations have commemorated antagonistic histories in the same space following WWI. The sanctity of several sites has been reinforced over the years by construction of additional monuments and memorials at the peninsula. This research deals with the spatial aspect of the commemorations throughout Turkey by looking at the intensity of commemorations in different places and times. The published research, memorials and archival materials were examined; while remembrance activities were appraised to determine the significance of the events for the local communities and beyond. Original research places particular emphasis on the schools that have no graduates in their records for 1915, as the final year students went to Gallipoli and never returned. Keywords Gallipoli · Commemorations · Place and identity · Cultural geography · School · WWI

Introduction Although some bloodier and deadlier wars in history have been forgotten, the Gallipoli campaigns or Çanakkale War as it is commonly called in Turkish, is remembered around the world with ever-increasing interest by many different nations. The Gallipoli War was perceived to be a struggle for existence and rebirth, a turning point, and re-establishment of confidence for the Turkish nation and a victory paved the way for the Republic of Turkey (Közleme and Çil 2017). For this reason, Gallipoli has a privileged value for the Turkish nation in many ways. After losing such battles as Trablusgarp (1911–12) and the Balkans (1912–13), the Ottomans were desperate to overcome the especially negative physiological effects of these campaigns. Hence, Y. Arı (B) Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Department of Geography, Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University, Bandırma, Balıkesir, Turkey e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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WWI and the 1915 Gallipoli War provided a major opportunity. The Çanakkale Sava¸sı (Gallipoli War) between the allied forces and Ottoman army started when the allied navy attacked the Ottoman ramparts along the Dardanelles on November 3, 1914, with the ultimate strategy of capturing the symbolic Istanbul, once Byzantium and later Constantinople until 1453, when it became the long-time capital of the Ottomans. The aim being to isolate the Ottoman army and assure a safe seaway for military supplies from Russia to Britain against Germany and the Axis Powers. The allied troops planned to traverse the Dardanelles first in February–March 1915, but failed to so due to the deadly defence of the Ottoman army. With a change in plans, in April 1915 they aimed at landing and capturing the Gallipoli peninsula with an emphasis on land battle strategies. However, after one of the deadliest battles of WWI, the allied forces were defeated by the Ottomans that was scattered on many fronts and the Allied forces left the region in January 2016. The allied forces consisted of the British and French, including soldiers from their colonies—Irish, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and Newfoundland. Along with those who survived Gallipoli and returned home, those who didn’t left lingering ghosts in the land and seascapes, memorials there and back home, all feeding into strands of national narratives in the UK and France, but also as with the 1st battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and their connections with Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery and also the 29th Indian Brigade. The Gallipoli experience holds a formative place in ANZAC memory, and the development of their national consciousness, memories and memorials there. Gallipoli holds a seminal place in the development of Turkish consciousness feeding into the Turkish Republic established 8 years after the war ended.1 Many countries have organized Gallipoli remembrance activities initiated at different times as witnessed in Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and UK that

1 1914–1918

Online. International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. Warfare 1914–1918 (Ottoman Empire/Middle East). By Mehmet Fatih Ba¸s. Last updated 22 July 2019. dle_east. See movies: Gallipoli (1981), Australian war drama film directed by Peter Weir and produced by. Patricia Lovell and Robert Stigwood, about several young men from rural ustralia who enlist in the Australian Army during WWI. Gallipoli (Turkish title Gelibolu) is a 2005 documentary film by Turkish filmmaker Tolga Örnek regarding the 1915 Gallipoli campaign. It is narrated by the Turks, and also British and Anzacs soldiers. The Water Diviner (2014) drama film directed by and starring Russell Crowe, and written by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight. The film is loosely based on the book of the same name written by Andrew Anastasios and Dr Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios. It follows an Australian farmer, Joshua Connor, who travels to Turkey soon after WWI to find his three sons who never returned. AA: Turkey, Culture, Achieve. 23/3/15 Searching for a blockbuster: Gallipoli on film: Bigminded but small-budget Turkish Çanakkale Campaign movies have not done as well as expected at the box office. AA speaks to directors and critics about depictions of this famous battle. https://

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have been well researched (Beaumont 2015; Clark 2017; Kaul 2018; Smith 2016; Twomey 2013). However, the nature of commemorations in Turkey, and especially the spatial, locational and material aspects of these have never been given the attention that Gallipoli deserves. Hence the following research deals with the cultural geographies of Çanakkale commemorations in Turkey, using mostly Turkish literature and sources. This takes into account that places of commemorations are important in terms of social, political, cultural values and realities (Dwyer 2004). Researching commemoration practices is a multidisciplinary endeavour and geographers are interested in the locational, spatial and material aspect of such (Foote and Azaryahu 2007). Discourses of the past are constructed socially and expressed materially in Gallipoli commemorations. Gallipoli is a place where multiple nations have commemorated antagonistic histories in the same place for many years. The sanctity of several sites has been reinforced over the decades by the construction of additional monuments and memorials on the peninsula. However, commemorations have not been confined to the peninsula only, spreading out starting from 1916 on to other parts of Turkey and different continents. Commemoration is not simply to remember what happened in the past but “to re-define, to use and to control the past and the future” (Yılmaz 2008:14). Politics remains the main shaper of the commemoration activities. This chapter illustrates how dealing with the spatial aspect of the commemorations throughout Turkey historically is imperative to understand the purposes that they have served through the flow of time. This becomes evident in exploring the intensity of commemoratives in different places and times. But this requires an understanding of the origins and processes through which the commemoration activities have diffused. The published research, memorials, and archival materials were examined to determine the spatial dimension of the commemorations. The activities in different cities and times were examined to determine the significance of the events for the local communities and beyond. Particular emphasis was given to the schools that have no graduates recorded for 1915, because the final year students went to Gallipoli and never returned. Regarding cultural geography, this chapter evaluates different characteristics of the commemorations, such as the spatial aspects—when the Gallipoli memorials started to be organized and how the commemorative activities have diffused over time to different cities. The poignant case of high schools throughout Turkey with no graduates for the period 1915–17 is examined. The Locational aspect will explore where the commemorations have been held, in Gallipoli and beyond, and how the content of commemoration programs has changed over time. The material aspect deals the substantial—monuments, sculptures, museums, and so forth, that have been produced over time.


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The Gallipoli Campaign The Gallipoli War was part of WWI that took place in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli Peninsula in NW Turkey in 1914–15. At the start of WWI, the Ottoman state did not want to get involved in yet another new war, considering the recent record of battles its army had fought on different fronts that had consumed much of the material and manpower resources of the army. Therefore, the Ottomans wanted to be neutral and so declared neutrality. However, one of the Army commanders, Enver Pasha wanted to enter the War believing that the only way the Ottomans could resist the pressure being put by the Allied countries was to cooperate with Germany. Eventually, in the fall of 1914, the Ottomans declared war against the Allied countries in an interesting way in many respects. Two German ships escaping from the British forces, after bombing the ports in several African countries on August 3, 1914, sought refuge from the Ottomans (Sahin ¸ 2012). Declared as being neutral, the Ottomans claimed that they bought these two ships and that they belonged to the Ottoman Navy. Hence, the ships, together with the whole crew were considered as part of the Ottoman Navy. However, cooperating with Germany, Enver Pasha ordered these ships to sail into the Black Sea and bomb strategic Russian ports. Therefore, the Ottoman Empire was now at war following these attacks (Semiz 2003). Reacting to this, the Allied Forces decided to open up the Dardanelles front as it would provide geostrategic befits for them. (i) They would be able to capture Istanbul and this would severely weaken Ottoman power. (ii) If they captured the Dardanelles and Bosporus, they could provide help to their eastern partner, Russia. Militarily and economically this was important because they could secure the transportation of goods and products between the Russian, British and French markets. (iii) They would control the Surveys Channel and trade roads to India and eliminate the Ottoman threat to that route. (iv) The Allied Forced would isolate Germany and AustriaHungry in Europe. (v) They would use the advantage of a possible victory to convince other countries to support them. (vi) They would gain an early advantage by defeating the country that held the caliphate, and that would provide the Allied forces with a physiological advantage against the Islamic world including the Arabs. Finally, they would also gain advantage for any post-war negotiations with Russia by capturing Istanbul (Aytepe 2000; Semiz 2003). The Allied navy first tried to go through the Straits, attacking the defending Ottoman forces stationed on the banks of the Dardanelles. The first battles to capture the Dardanelles started in early November and continued intermittently until March 1915. On March 18th the commanders of the Allied Forces planned to attack through the Dardanelles with their strongest battleships. However, defences were strong enough to destroy some of the most important battleships and submarines. The epic defence of the sea was one of the most memorable scenes of the Dardanelles battles, and since then the commemoration of the Naval War has been held on March 18 each year. In fact, until recently all commemoration activities have taken place on that day. Eventually, the Allied Forces decided to retreat after the great number of dead, wounded and missing soldiers from both sides (Mert 2011).

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity


However, the war did not end with the defeat of Allied Forces in the narrow waters of the Dardanelles. A month later they decided to disembark their troops on the western coasts of the peninsula. Some of the deadliest battles took place in these handto-hand combats. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the future founding father of the Turkish Republic (1923) emerged as an important military figure and strategist, commanding parts of these battles and was wounded. In the end, the campaign concluded with a significant defeat of the Allied Forces and a much important victory for the Ottoman Army backed by the Germans. Figures cited for casualties vary greatly in the various sources. In all, some 480,000 Allied forces took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, at a cost of over 250,000 casualties, including 46,000 dead. On the Turkish side, the campaign also cost an estimated 250,000 casualties, with 65,000 killed.2 Citing Turkish sources, during the campaign, a total of 132,175 (96,755 British, 31,000 French 33,525 Australian, 9,642 New Zealand and 7,160 Indian) soldiers either died or were wounded. The Ottoman losses (dead, wounded or missing) was about 207,000 soldiers (Ünal 2015). This was a shockingly high figure as the Ottoman Army had been involved in the loss of a battalion in Trablusgarb and also suffered heavy losses in the Balkans just prior to WWI (Yeti¸sgin 2015). The Gallipoli War produced important results for all participating countries. The effects on the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, and also Turkey have been well documented. Although Gallipoli was a great victory for Turkey, it became clearer with time, that the cost for Turkey had been enormously high. Thousands of young people who would be needed during the establishment stages of the new Republic in the early 1920s lost their lives. Especially taking the high school and university students to the battlefield exterminated the much needed educated and intellectuals of the country; those people who would be needed to restore the institutions of the newly established republic in 1923 were often lost. How the Gallipoli War has been commemorated, has not received enough research attention in Turkey. The schools continued to use the commemorations activities to remind students of history, and to develop a common identity, othering the “enemies” and “outside forces-dı¸s güçler” that “aim to demolish the Turkish state.”

2 1914–1918

Online. International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. Gallipoli Campaign. By Mehmet Fatih Ba¸s. man_empiremiddle_east. New Zealand History. Gallipoli casualties by country. ctive/gallipoli-casualties-country.


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Commemorating Gallipoli in Turkey Locational Aspect While the campaign occurred on the small peninsula of Gallipoli, the soldiers who fought in the battle came from places as far away as New Zealand, Australia, India, Newfoundland, Senegal, Ireland, Britain, and France. The Ottoman army consisted of Muslim soldiers from almost all corners of the Empire. Therefore, although the battle took place in a limited area, armies involved in the war came from a far larger geographical scale. The resulting effects also reached faraway places, even other continents. The first memorable news from the battlefield went out once the Ottoman armies succeeded in defending the Dardanelles seaway but with great military losses. Newspapers of the period talked about the achievements of the Ottoman armies and tried to improve the morale of the people who had been devastated by the previous wars. The Minister of Defence, Enver Pasha invited leading journalists, poets and writers of the time to see the battlefields, and asked them to create products describing the war and heroism of the Ottoman armies. The effect of the war confined to the peninsula started to diffuse throughout the Ottoman lands, due to the efforts of the people invited to produce work that engraved war on the people’s memory (Sınmaz Sönmez 2015). The great enthusiasm created by the Gallipoli campaign among the public has made it a tradition to celebrate the victory in various ways from the very start. The first known celebration came on the eve of the first anniversary of the 18th March victory with a letter sent by the General Staff to the Commander of the Dardanelles, in early March 1916. In that letter the General Staff asked for a military ceremony stating that a parade would be held immediately after the religious ceremony on March 18th, in order to keep the memory of the soldiers martyred on this date. The first activities to celebrate the victory and commemorate the dead took place at several points on the Peninsula. During these first commemoration activities, parades with official uniforms and weapons were held and prayers were read for the martyrs. Following this first ceremony in 1916, visiting the Gallipoli battlefields and organizing various ceremonies increasingly became a tradition. The centre of the ceremonies after WWI was the “Mehmetçik Monument, which was built in 1919 in memory of Sergeant Mehmet, who defended the region against the ANZAC forces with his 25 soldiers” (Akıngüç 2010). This monument hosted the official commemoration activities until 1960 when the Çanakkale Martyrs Monument was built in Alçıtepe on the southern part of the peninsula. In the early years, commemoration activities included visits and official parades in the terrain of the battlefield areas as well as at the entrance to the Dardanelles (Sınmaz Sönmez 2015). However, the commemoration activities were uninspired following the 1918 armistice when the country was under occupation. Yet a number of documents was published by the Military Institutions before the establishment of the new republic in 1923 (Koyuncu et al. 2010).

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity


The Gallipoli campaign was a great inspiration for Mustafa Kemal and those who wanted to establish the new Turkish Republic. They believed that the “people who survived the Gallipoli War neither died nor were taken prisoner.” Therefore, the new Ankara government stressed the importance of Gallipoli and continued the commemoration activities with a larger spatial focus. The new government established, a martyrdom development committee in 1924 and it was converted to a NonGovernmental organization called The Society for the Reconstruction of Martyrdoms in 1926 (Sınmaz Sönmez 2010). This society organized the first outside visits from Istanbul to the battlefields in 1926, a decade after the Gallipoli war and those visits continued annually and become a tradition. In addition to the Society for the Reconstruction of Martyrdoms, other NGOs also started to organize trips to the Gallipoli Peninsula. While first visitors came from Istanbul in 1926, visitors from Bursa and Ankara also started coming to the region to see the battlefield and to pray for the martyrs. Therefore, the spatial aspect of the commemorations expanded starting from the late 1920s, extending to Ankara. In the 1930s, another NGO established by Mustafa Kemal in 1932, the Halkevleri3 community home—become the leader for the commemoration activities. The Çanakkale Halkevi took the responsibility for organizing the commemoration. Dissemination of the commemoration activities to the Anatolian cities occurred through the establishment of Halkevleri in several cities in Turkey in the 1930s. Halkevleri also organized conferences with details of Gallipoli and featuring witnesses and veterans. Halkevleri organized trips from Çanakkale in 1932, Balikesir in 1933, Adana 1934, Kayseri 1935. In the late 1930s, Çanakkale Nights were introduced which included reading poems, telling the story of the War, presenting theatre about Gallipoli and listening to the memoirs of the Veterans. Thus the location of the commemoration activities expanded to the Anatolian cities (Ula¸s 2015). Perhaps one of the reasons why the Halkevleri organized such commemoration activities was to stress the important role that Mustafa Kemal had played in the Gallipoli War. In the 1940s, the Halkevleri continued organizing the commemoration activities more or less in the same way they had in the 1930s. However, commencing from the 1950s on, the main organizing force was shifted from Halkevleri to the university students’ unions. Especially Milli Türk Talebe Birli˘gi (MTTB, National Türkish Student’s Association), ˙Istanbul Üniversitesi Talebe Birli˘gi (Istanbul University Student’s Union), students from Ankara University and Balıkesir Necatibey Educational Institute played a central role. Therefore, after the 1950s the universities were the places for the commemorative activities in addition to the official military remembrance activities. The daily newspaper, Vatan, reported on March 18 (Vatan 1950), that: Today, March 18 is the 35th anniversary of the Çanakkale Victory. The great presence of the Turkish nation today has been embodied and developed with the victory of … Çanakkale. That is why… (it) is the first gateway to the bright future of the Turkish nation. This day, 3 Halkevleri

officially opened in 1932, as community houses, founded by Atatürk’s directives, and soon spread all over Turkey, as a cultural NGO. The work of the Community Centres was carried out in accordance with the principles the Republican People’s Party’s programme.


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which carries deep meanings from the military aspect as well as from the political aspect, will be commemorated throughout the country with ceremonies.

The university student unions organized trips to the battlefields and martyrdoms in the Gallipoli peninsula each year. They even started a fundraising activity to support the construction of a monument that would be built somewhere in the Gallipoli battlefield, yet it was not allowed by the government legislative authorities at the time. Throughout the 1950s the commemoration activities took place in the city of Çanakkale and the Gallipoli battlefields with large crowds, and especially university students from all over Turkey. Therefore, people from everywhere travelled to Çanakkale on March 18th to commemorate. Students unions that adhered to different ideologies even organized separate commemoration activities on the same day in Çanakkale during those years. Representatives of the governments, ministries, mayors and governors participated in the commemorations as well. The military commanders were joined by certain well-known poets and writers for the Gallipoli commemorations. In those years, the war veterans who participated and told their war stories occupied an important place in the activities.

Spatial Aspect Initially in Turkey, commemoration activities were organized on the Gallipoli battlefields only. During the 2015 centennial, activities were reported in almost all cities throughout Turkey and they included ceremonies, official meetings, artistic events and competitions (Çoban 2016). During the 100th anniversary, it was reported that of the 81 provinces in Turkey, 70 commemorated the Gallipoli War with activities, including the provinces of Istanbul, Ankara, Çanakkale, Mu˘gla, Hatay, ˙Izmir and Kastamonu—with over 100 events (Çoban 2016). Sakarya, Kocaeli, Balıkesir, Manisa and Trabzon provinces reported over 50 commemorations and 40 other provinces reported more than 10 activities. These figures suggest that with the Gallipoli centennial, commemoration activities were countrywide. Numbers suggest a hierarchical diffusion in which depending on urban rank size, bigger cities had more connections to the war. The geographical distance, connects with a higher number of events, while the remoter and small cities commemorated with a less number of events. However, commemoration activities took in almost all parts of the country. At least three particular steps appear to function as triggering factor in the increase in events. The first is the decision of the Ministry of Education to announce that all schools were to take school children, when possible, to Çanakkale to show them the battlefields (Ilgar 2015). A decree was issued by the Ministry in 2004 and after that date, commemoration activities have been held in schools and pupils were taken to the battlefield in great numbers. This was in line with the official ideology of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Some observers suggest that this is to reinterpret the Gallipoli War and put the commemoration activities on the agenda

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity


of greater numbers of ordinary people. In the same sense, many AKP-held municipalities, especially in Istanbul, provided logistics for those who wanted to go and see the battlefields, visiting the martyrdoms on the peninsula. The municipalities envisaged this as a way to build and develop greater national identity. That way, hundreds of thousands of citizens have been taken to the battlefield since the year 2000 (Zeytinburnu Belediyesi 2016; Alia˘ga Belediyesi 2019). An important reason why people started visiting the Gallipoli battlefields after the 2000 in mass numbers is possibly related to the increase in tourism, and a number of publications promoting the area as an important destination for what is called “dark tourism” or battlefield sight-seeing. It is believed that these publications started when Alia˘gao˘glu first mentioned the topic in Turkey in a 2004 article and elaborated on the subject later. He argued that the Gallipoli battlefields were highly sacralised and that this provided a solid base for mass battlefield tourism. Following his pioneering work on the topic, a number of other academic works have come out, evaluating the different aspects of battlefield tourism at the site (Alia˘gao˘glu 2008; Atay and Ye¸silda˘g 2010; Do˘ganer 2006; Kaya 2006; Kutbay and Aykaç 2016; Yıldız et al. 2015).

The Case of Balıkesir High School The loss of soldiers on many different fronts prior to the Gallipoli campaign and during WWI left the Ottoman state desperate for new manpower. Already recruiting soldiers from the far remoter areas of Empire including today’s Lebanon, Syrian, Iraq and Palestine territories, the remaining option to replace the dead was to recruit young underage people. Sultan Mehmet Re¸sat issued a new law on May 27, 1915, requiring high school students to join the army. In 1916, the Ministry of War issued a new order stating that young people who were born in 1898 and 1899 must join the armed forces, and they were taken into battle after a short military training (Sahin ¸ 2012). Many schools across Anatolia experienced an interruption in education activities. Some of them did not produce any graduates in 1915 nor during the following few years. In fact, some of these school buildings were vacated and used as hospitals or barracks. The Çanakkale, ˙Istanbul, Galatasaray, Vefa, Bursa, Edirne, Kastamonu, Ankara, Kayseri, Konya, ˙Izmir, Bilecik, Bolu, Kütahya, Denizli and Trabzon High Schools (Sahin ¸ 2012) halted their education activities and did not record any graduates for 1916 and 1917. Balıkesir High School was opened in 1886 and was joined by the students and staff of the Thessaloniki high schools after the Ottoman Empire lost the Thessaloniki region to Greece at the end of the Balkan War, preceding WWI. The school was one of the most important educational institutions in the region. It was one of those many high schools that sent its students to the Gallipoli front and most of those students died there, aged 15–16 years. Only 14 students in 1915 and 7 in 1916 graduated from the school. However, no one graduated from it in 1917 and 1918 due to the war. It was reported that 94 students from the school lost their lives in Gallipoli.


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Fig. 1 The students of Balıkesir High school, posing in front of the school in 1915 went to Çanakkale to get their diplomas for their homeland” and the same pose was repeated by the school scouts each year since the commemorations started in the early 2000s

This event was largely forgotten almost, 75 years after WWI. However, as commemoration ceremonies became popular, ‘martyrs’ began to be commemorated in Balıkesir High School beginning in the twenty-first century. Now they take place on the third week of March each year, recalling the Ottoman victory in the Dardanelles. Included in these activities, the school scout team poses for photographs, in the same way students posed in front of the school in 1915 before they left for Gallipoli (Fig. 1). The school museum visited by students and general public during that week presents special artefacts from the WWI period showing student registration and attendance books alongside other items used by the students. In the memorial process, two monuments were built to remind the students and community of the history of the school. One shows the number who graduated from the high school each year and the other lists the names of the Gallipoli War Martyr students. The first monument reads “all were martyrs at Çanakkale” for 1915, 1916 and 1917 which partly contradicts the official records of the school which reports 2 graduates for 1915. One of these identical monuments stands in front of the school and the other was taken to the city governor’s office by the local authorities in 2017 to remind the general public of the event and those visitors to the governor’s office on their daily business (Fig. 2). Now the Gallipoli narrative has become one of the most important parts of the school’s history after almost 100 years. It is known that some wars evolve new significance over time depending on new developments and the significance becomes apparent over time (Marshal, 2004) and the Gallipoli War definitely is one of them. Since 1952, the school has organized an annual festival to celebrate its rich history, kaymaklı s¸enlikleri which includes a parade, concerts, conferences, folklore shows in addition to several other activities. Commemorating the fallen students in Gallipoli was never part of that festival until 2002 when the Development and Justice Party came to power in Turkey. After that date, the most important part of the festival has been remembrance activities of the schools’ students who lost their lives in Gallipoli. This can be related to the fact that the commemoration activities have been created with a different ideological perspective to stress the “Islamic character” of the Ottoman army, as opposed to the “Turkish national identity” of the commemorations in previous generations.

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity


Fig. 2 Two monuments, one in front of Balikesir High School erected in 2008—reminds us of the Martyrs of the Gallipoli campaign, the other at the Governor’s Office, overshadowed by the Governor

Fig. 3 57th regiment martyrdom. (Source ÇATAB 2019)

Material Aspect Alia˘gao˘glu (2007) argues that the Gallipoli peninsula has turned into a literature space over time with numerous books, poems, illustrations, theatre and songs produced based on the war. In fact, the material aspect of the Gallipoli War is highly significant as it is possible to see hundreds of reminders of it (Fig. 3). The anonymous song “In Çanakkale” written just before the War, and the famous poem by Mehmet Akif Ersoy, “To the Martyrs of Çanakkale” written in 1915, as the war was continuing, provide two examples of reminders of the event, known by almost every Turkish person. Many other songs, novels, plays, prints, model paintings, documents, souvenirs and so forth exist—they retell the story of Gallipoli. The peninsula itself has turned into a landscape of monuments and cenotaphs (Fig. 4). All these representations stress


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Fig. 4 Map of Gallipoli War Area showing the graveyards and monuments. (Source https://catab.,on-tarafpdf.pdf?0)

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity


different aspects of the War and function as constant reminders of the historical event. It is possible to see all these reminders of the Gallipoli War throughout Turkey. For example, one statue placed on the Çanakkale-˙Izmir highway, almost 200 km away from the battlefield, is intended to remind people passing by of the Dardanelles War. The monument features a war hero: Koca Seyit who was a corporal in the Rumeli Mecidiye Bastion near Kilitbahir. He lost 13 of his friends on March 18, as a result of artillery shells from the Allied navy battleships. We are told that he lifted an artillery shell, which can only be raised with a pulley, but the pulley was shattered, so he climbed six steps with the 276-kg object and fired it at the enemy ship, named Ocean (Alia˘gao˘glu 2008). Today there a mausoleum dedicated to him in the village where he was born. Another monument to him was erected inside the national Gallipoli park, with a similar one being erected on the busiest highway around the Bay of Edremit (Fig. 5). The original name of his village, Manastır, has been renamed, with his name given to it (Alia˘gao˘glu 2008). The material aspect is portrayed in the landscape in several ways. It is possible to see these this throughout Turkey, even in places that are thousands of kilometres away from Gallipoli. As shown above, several high schools provide a good example of these

Fig. 5 The hero of the Gallipoli War: Corporal Seyit


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mechanical reproductions, but with the material aspect perhaps best portrayed on the Gallipoli peninsula. It has been through several stages of material development and the history of the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park tells us more about the production of battlefield space over time.

The National Park: Protection of the Gallipoli Battlefield State attitudes towards the Gallipoli peninsula and protection of the battlefield sites is highly significant. Holding many artefacts and remains from past historical times, the peninsula become an easy target for collectors and smugglers at an early date (Ya¸sar 2001). To protect the battlefield and artefacts associated with Gallipoli, that can be found anywhere on the peninsula, the area was declared a national park in 1973. From then on, it has experienced new ways of construction and management. The aim being to protect the battle sites, to re-construct the infrastructure of the facilities and manage commemoration events and visits to the peninsula. Administration of the national park included the spatial planning of the peninsula and at the same time construction of new monuments, roads, ceremony fields, museums and so forth. Although the national park administration was responsible for spatial planning of the battlefield areas, because of existing laws and degrees, some other institutions continued to plan activities and erect new monuments on the peninsula (Alia˘gao˘glu 2008). To coordinate efforts and develop more holistic management practices, a new development plan was prepared by the military administration that came to power in the 1980 coup d’état. The military introduced a new protection status for the bastions that were used especially during sea battles in March 1914 (Do˘ganer 2006). In 1994 there was a wildfire on the peninsula that destroyed most of the natural vegetation and damaged some of the traces of the war. Later it was proposed to establish an international peace park there (Yılmaz 2008). Eventually after much debate and many feasibility studies, in 2000 a special—Law of Gallipoli Historical National (Peace) Park Law was passed, so as to implement better planning for the area and commemoration activities (Ilgar 2015). As a result of the works of the national park administration, the peninsula has largely been turned into a landscape of graveyards and monuments. This is in line with the policies that promoted the national park as a tourist destination from its inception in 1973. The number of ordinary people who visit the battlefields has increased steadily. Nonetheless, mass visitor numbers only became evident in the early part of the twenty-first century, reaching 2 million as of 2010. Now people who visit the battlefields have empathetic experiences—despair, puzzlement, sorrow, love, pride, hurt, hope and faith at the same time (Scates 2006). However, there have been some problematic issues with the status of the national park. For instance, some facilities have been built inside the historical area without planning permission from the authorities. Also due to the climate and Mediterranean vegetation-type there have been wildfires that destroyed some war vestiges. To tackle such issues as illegal developments, wildfires and organization of commemoration

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity


events on the peninsula, a new legal status was created with the passing of a Law in 2000. Significantly, this was changed in 2014, just before the centennial commemorations, with the legal status of the national park authority being changed. Instead, a new institution was created: The Presidency of Çanakkale Wars, Gallipoli Historical Area-Çanakkale Sava¸sları, Gelibolu Tarihi Alan Ba¸slanlı˘gı—that functions directly under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Conclusions In contrast to the Gallipoli commemorations in other countries, WWI has been both celebrated and commemorated in Turkey beginning with the first major centennial in 2016. It has been celebrated because the Çanakkale War was perceived to be one of the greatest victories of the Turkish nation against the imperial powers at the time. Gallipoli helped to re-establish the self-esteem of an army that had been lost on several of the nine battle fronts as of 1914, but also in significant Ottoman wars in the preceding decade. Nonetheless, in the subsequent Turkish national narratives as opposed to the Ottoman Empire storylines, many historians accept that the Gallipoli War was the harbinger of the great victory of the Turkish nation during the Independence War (1919–23). The Gallipoli War was where Mustafa Kemal, founder of the modern Turkish Republic first came to prominence as a military leader, and subsequently after 1918 led the Turkish Republican Independence War (1919–23). With victory, he abolished the historical dual position of the royal family: Sultan (Emperor) and Caliph (Leader of all Muslims); in essence the juridical separating of religious and civil powers in the new republic. He embarked on massive programs of social, cultural, economic, political and military modernization. He continued to play a crucial role as President of the republic until his death in 1938, and his legacy remained especially protected by the military establishment. Hence, Gallipoli memorials, commemorations, ritual and pageantry have changed over the past century, but with certain kernel continuities, and have remained extremely significant for people in Turkey, and so to whatever government is in power. Commemoration activities followed a hierarchical diffusion in time and space contexts in terms of the social groups participating. It was a hierarchical diffusion historically because the commemoration events started essentially as a military celebration of a great victory and remembrance of the death of colleagues in 1916 in the Gallipoli peninsula only. The activities were weak and uninspiring during the First World War and the War of Independence until 1924 due to the state of turmoil in the country. With the establishment of some NGOs in the late 1920s, the commemoration activities started to spread out to groups like the educated elites, bureaucrats, administrators and later to university student unions. In the 1970s, with the establishment of the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, remembrance activities were organized in a more systematic way. The military presence in the commemoration activities came out as striking again in the 1980s under ‘the coup government’.


Y. Arı

The activities finally diffused to the general public after the Law of Gallipoli Historical National Park was passed in 2000. Essentially, such public involvement in the commemorations coincides with the rise of the Development and Justice Party that came to power in 2002. Visits of ordinary people and school children to Gallipoli, commemorative activities and especially in schools and universities have massively increased in the past 10–15 years. The spatial diffusion of the commemoration activities was also hierarchical in urban rank size because they started in the peninsula in 1916 and followed a certain pattern. That pattern of diffusion was towards the big and important administrative cities like Istanbul and Ankara and then outwards to large urban areas like Çanakkale and Balıkesir, finally reaching smaller cities around the country by the time of the WWI centennial commemorations. The commemorative activities also created a special memorial geographic landscape as well. The Gallipoli peninsula has been turned into a landscape of graveyards, some real and some ‘imagined’ or artificially created, and monuments over time. There are now 56 Turkish monuments and cemeteries; and 35 monuments and cemeteries belonging to the allied forces. In addition to these, there are museums, bastions, trenches and castles spread throughout the peninsula. Yet the reminders of the War are not confined to the peninsula. Now, one can see the memory prompts, like monuments throughout Turkey. However, the term commemoration inherently has political connotations and each political group uses the commemorative activities to serve their own agenda. Baykut (2016:1), observing the historical and political development of Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey concluded that: Until the 2000s, the historical meaning of the Battle of Gallipoli had been beyond debate; but the Justice and Development Party has shifted the narrative from a victory based on the figure of Mustafa Kemal and his military and political leadership, to an Ottoman victory based on religious faith, thereby eroding the founding myth of the Republic. Having such strong cultural, political and religious connotations, the Gallipoli Campaign and its contemporary commemorations are and will in all likelihood be subject to interventions and alterations of various power groups.

Her research findings are largely supported by the research evidence laid out above. The commemoration activities reached every school around the country, as illustrated in the case study presented, and all municipalities have started taking ordinary citizens to the battlefield. Uyar (2016) concluded that, as argued in this chapter, the commemorations have been instrumentalized to create a new story to stress the Gallipoli War as a crucial stage in the foundation and creation of the new Republic. These developments are creating counter-arguments that will probably be discussed by future generations of researchers. Acknowledgements Yilmaz Ari would like to acknowledge that this rsearch and chapter was supported by the Scientific Research Projects Coordination Unit of Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University. Project Number: BAP-19-1009-002.

Cultural Geographies of Gallipoli: Commemorations and Identity


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A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey) Alper Uzun and Mustafa Fırat Gül

Abstract One of the memory locations to the fore in recent years in Turkey is Sarıkamı¸s. It is a fact that this place has not been known nor remembered by many people for decades when compared with other memory spaces such as Gallipoli where Turkish soldiers achieved important victories during WWI and War of Independence. Failure of Operation Sarıkamı¸s most likely led this space to be pushed from memory for so long. The main purpose of this chapter is to evaluate the commemoration activities now in Sarıkamı¸s in the context of time and space. Therefore, the course of commemorations held in Sarıkamı¸s have been evaluated. Sarıkamı¸s, started to find a place in memorial activities in the early twenty-first century. Commemoration activities there now take place annually, especially within the plans and programs of public institutions and organizations. Keywords Sarıkamı¸s · Operation · Commemoration · Frozen soldiers · Memory space

Introduction Memory is a mental dynamic that allows recollection of the past and associated place where events that leave a mark on human consciousness are stored and remembered (Biricik 2016: 98). Whether consciously or subconsciously, memory needs a space as a means of remembering. Even though the concept of space means someplace static when considered in the sense of absolute position; in fact, space has a dynamic structure both in physical and social terms. Accordingly, space is changing, transforming and maturing within the course of history; and is the product of religious, political, historical and cultural experiences. Space is the environment in which A. Uzun (B) Balıkesir University, Balikesir, Turkey e-mail: [email protected] M. F. Gül Ni˘gde Ömer Halisdemir University, Ni˘gde, Turkey © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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people continue their lives, create their culture and influence each other (Gülbetekin 2017: 30–31). Hence spaces are anchors for identities. The imaginary and symbolic contents of these identities have important effects on the formation of the identities of the people who are associated with them (Narlı 2007: 9). All experiences that people had remain in the memory of spaces (Narlı 2007: 30). The social, political and cultural existence of society shapes the time and space. While a process intertwined in time and space constitutes the social, political and cultural existence of human beings (Narlı 2007: 9). Just as history is connected to events, memory is connected to spaces. In the context of remembering and keeping alive traces of the past, memory spaces play an important role. Places where important historical events took place are being kept alive as commemorative memory places today. Memory places include my areas such as monuments, cemeteries, sacred places, battlefields and so on. Memory spaces are alive through narratives, texts, poems, ceremonies, celebrations, monuments—with many similar elements. Commemorations/Ceremonies/celebrations are like bridges between yesterday-today-tomorrow. They are an important tool in bringing the experiences of the spaces to the present day. Nora describes the memory space as: “Any meaningful unit in material or intellectual order that any community has formed into a symbolic element of the common memory by the will of the people or the flow of time” (Nora 2006: 171). The main reason for the existence of a memory space consists in trying to stop time, preventing the work of forgetting, determining the state of objects, immortalizing death, and concretizing the intangible (Nora 2006: 32–36). All activities related to memory spaces—trips, ceremonies and so forth serve as a reminder for society. Thus, memory spaces have important functions such as bringing people together. Memory spaces can have the power of gathering people with different characteristics such as language, religion, ethnicity, political preference under one roof. According to Nora, some memory spaces have a link that connects the different identities of society (Nora 2006: 34–36). A place of memory is no longer an ordinary piece of land. It is now one of the means to express people’s feelings and thoughts. Memory spaces have important functions in terms of both maintaining and sustaining social memory. It is possible to reveal the “we” phenomenon by knitting the common past of society with these places. These spaces are cherished with narratives, texts, poems, ceremonies, celebrations, monuments and many other similar elements. Taking into account the above points, the aim of this chapter is to evaluate the commemoration activities in Sarıkamı¸s in the context of time and space association. From this perspective, commemoration ceremonies held in Sarıkamı¸s were evaluated. Operation Sarıkamı¸s refers to a WWI campaign that was not really on the memorial agenda for many decades, up to the early rears of the twenty-first century. The focus of this research is that Sarıkamı¸s, which is an important memory space today, remained in the background for many years, and hence why is this changing now. This raises research questions including: Why did the Ottoman army fail in Operation Sarıkamı¸s? Why did it remain in the background of ‘national memory’? What are the processes that have turned Sarıkamı¸s into a ‘recognized’ memory space?

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)


Sarikami¸s and the WWI Campaign Sarıkamı¸s is situated in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey (Map 1) and is an administrative district of Kars province. It is a settlement with an altitude of 2225 m (Map 2). Distance from the sea significantly effects the climate in Sarıkamı¸s, where winter is both long and harsh and temperature can drop to −35 °C/−40 °C. Sarıkamı¸s and its environs have an ancient history. This region has been dominated by different empires from past to present including: Urartians, Armenians, Romans, Seljuks, Ottomans and Russians. So these lands have experienced many different rulers. Finally, while part of the Ottoman Empire, with the famous 93 War (1877–1878 Ottoman-Russian War) it passed into Russian hands. When the OttomanRussian War of 1877–1878 resulted in the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Sarıkamı¸s, Kars, Ardahan and Batumi were left to the Russians with the Berlin Agreement signed in 1878 (Derinsu Dayı 2004: 245). The Ottomans planned the Sarıkamı¸s Operation in 1914 in order to reclaim the territory of the Russian-dominated homeland. Furthermore, Sarıkamı¸s’s strategic importance made this operation a necessity for the Ottomans. Sarıkamı¸s was at the main point of the railway connection between the various Russian battle fronts. It was also an important city with the necessary food supplies for soldiers, military arsenals and hospitals (Sadigov 2019: 285). Seizure of Sarıkamı¸s would mean putting the Russians at a geostrategic disadvantage on other war fronts in Eastern Anatolia.

Map 1 Sarıkamı¸s and surroundings


A. Uzun and M. F. Gül

Map 2 Elevation steps of Sarıkamı¸s and its surroundings

Events Leading up to Operation Sarikami¸s Before coming to 1914, the Turks and the Russians had repeatedly faced each other in battle. But, the most recent and closely related to Operation Sarıkamı¸s is the OttomanRussian War (1877–1878). This war had two main fronts: Balkan and Caucasian. On the Balkan front, the Ottoman Empire suffered a clear defeat against the Russians. But the situation on the Caucasian Front was different where the Ottoman army succeeded in defeating the Russians in three different battles. Upon the defeats, the Russian Tsar sent more troops to the region. The Ottoman Army, which was in a very difficult position facing a greater number of troops, received significant support from the people of Erzurum, which was close to the region. The Ottomans repulsed the Russians back 20 km with the contribution of the old and young, the women and men (Photo 1) (Marancı 2009: 39–40). Operation Sarıkamı¸s lasted from the end of 1914 until the first days of 1915 where the two armies were combatting the freezing cold instead of each other; this became embedded in the narrative. One of the most debated issues of World War I for the Ottomans was how it started to ally itself with Germany. The narrative states that when two German ships,—England’s most serious rival at that time, took shelter in Ottoman-dominated waters, the Ottomans allowed them to pass through the Dardanelles Strait (Sönmez and Yıldız 2008: 65). The Ottoman Empire, which secretly allied itself with Germany, later purchased these two German ships and hoisted the Ottoman flag, as a ploy to hide its support for Germany from the international community. Admiral Souchon Pasha (Wilhelm Souchon) was declared Commander of the Navy and Souchon Pasha was ordered to open fire wherever the Russian Navy was

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)


Photo 1 Turkish women carrying supplies to the fighting soldiers of the Caucasian Front (Basın Yayın ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlü˘gü 2015: 373)

seen (Altınanıt 2013: 43). Thus, the Ottoman Empire became part of WWI. With the support of the Germans, the Ottomans, who were planning to reclaim the lost territories, used every means available in this war. On October 29, 1914, the Ottoman Army set fire to the Russian cities of Novorosisk, Kefe, Odessa and Sevastopol on the Black Sea coast (Marancı 2009: 63).

The Aftermath of Operation Sarikami¸s Operation Sarıkamı¸s within the Caucasus Front began on 22 December 1914 (Photos 2 and 3) and ended on 5 January 1915 (Kanal 2014: 87). After the Ottoman bombing of the Russian cities on the Black Sea coast, the Russians attacked on November 1, 1914 and progressed towards Erzurum. The Ottoman Army responded to the Russian offensive. The Russians, who had to retreat, pushed their army in Tbilisi to the front line and reinforced their armies. As there was no result in the battles, the attacks were stopped towards the end of November. The Russians, who did not expect an operation due to the extreme cold weather and heavy snow prevailing in the winter months, even limited their surveillance activities (Ö˘gün 2016: 476). In these difficult climatic conditions, why did the Deputy Commander-in-Chief Enver Pasha attempt such a risky operation? Sarıkamı¸s and surrounding areas, had been taken from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, but Enver Pasha dreamed of more than just taking back these territories. His aim was to reintegrate Kars, Ardahan and Batumi into the ‘homeland’. The other purpose being to gather all the Turks


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Photo 2 Ottoman Army on the way to Sarıkamı¸s (from Prof. Dr. Bingür Sönmez archive)

Photo 3 Soldiers marching for Operation Sarıkamı¸s (from Prof. Dr. Bingür Sönmez archive)

in the Caspian-Volga, Turkestan and Western Siberia regions under a single state. According to Enver Pasha’s plan, the 11th Corps would attack the Russians from the front and not allow them passage to Sarıkamı¸s. The 9th and 10th Corps would enter from the east side of the Russians and proceed along Sarıkamı¸s-Kars. According to

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)


Enver Pasha’s plan after eliminating the Russians in the Caucasus, all Transcaucasia would surrender to the Turks (Demirta¸s 2015: 71). Enver Pasha was so convinced of his dream that he would not listen to anyone who objected, including Hasan Izzet Pasha—commander of the 3rd Army who had been a lecturer of Enver Pasha’s for a period. He warned Enver that the operation would fail due to the climate, terrain and lack of possibilities at hand, and that the operation should be postponed. When Hasan ˙Izzet Pasha gave his opinion that the army was not ready for the winter offensive and that they could wait till spring, Enver Pasha objected: “If you had not been my teacher, I would have you executed” (Özata 2009: 80; Kanal 2014: 91). Upon this Hasan Izzet Pasha resigned from the 3rd Army Command and Enver Pasha took over. He began to gradually activate Operation Sarıkamı¸s. Some researchers postulate that Enver Pasha’s insistence on this issue was directed by the German military authorities, as this would distract the Russians on the German front. The number of Ottoman forces in the Sarıkamı¸s operation was 120,000–125,000 men. The Russians had 64,000 combatants. However, the Ottoman soldiers had no winter clothes (Kurat 2011: 271). Some of the Ottoman soldiers were from Yemen and Arabia—hot climate zone, who were tired and lacked the necessary equipment. These soldiers had to fight in summer clothes, despite the need for weather-appropriate clothing (Kanal 2014: 102). Initially, the Ottoman army had done its job properly by stopping the Russian offensive. However, Enver Pasha did not consider this much enough and believed that the weak enemy forces could not be defeated by war on the battlefront but could be destroyed by a siege operation. Allied German officers, especially Friedrich Bronsart von Schellendorf, commander of the Ottoman armies, supported this idea (Ö˘gün 2016: 476). Although the plan looked nice on paper, it would not be as expected in the field. The most important problem for the 3rd Army, consisting of the 9th, 10th and 11th Corps that would carry out the operation, was the lack of appropriate seasonal clothing and backup support, including better food. In contrast, the Russians were better off in terms of winter equipment and logistical services. The Russians had the opportunity to meet their needs through the Tbilisi-Gyumri-Kars-Sarıkamı¸s railway. From Sarıkamı¸s on, there were smooth roads. On the Turkish side, the nearest railway station was 600 km behind the front. Shipments by cart were not enough to meet the needs of the army (Ö˘gün 2016: 477). Even women and children carried supplies to the front on their backs. Reports showed that the 3rd Army, which had lacked supplies even where some existed, would starve in the case of an attack (Sönmez and Yıldız 2008: 138–139). Aware of the climatic conditions, Enver Pasha set the cargo ships—Bezm-i Âlem, Bahr-i Ahmer and Mithat Pasha, out from Istanbul on 6 November 1914 for transporting winter uniforms, supplies and ammunition without informing the navy commander (Photo 4). On these ships were both food and clothing and 3,000 soldiers for reinforcement. The ships would reach the port of Trabzon, where supplies and soldiers would be delivered to the army at the front. Enver Pasha had not asked for help from the Navy to protect these civilian ships.


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Photo 4 Ottoman ships sunk by the Russians (from Prof. Dr. Bingür Sönmez archive)

On 7 November 1914, the Russians accidentally spotted and sunk these three ships off the Black Sea Eregli coast (Güven and Zenginba¸s 2015: 748). News of this disaster was not announced by order of Enver Pasha. However, the Russians spread the news of the sinking. Many researchers agree that the sinking of these ships affected the outcome of Operation Sarıkamı¸s (Güven and Zenginba¸s 2015: 751–754). Unaware of the situation, the soldiers looked forward to the winter clothes they were in urgent need of. Corporal Ali’s letter of 10 December 1914 clearly demonstrates this fact. Some parts of the letter about the soldiers who came from a hot zone to a very cold one, shaking in the summer clothes and waiting for the winter army clothes, are as follows: …Last summer, as two regiment soldiers, we were transported from Yemen. When we arrived at the Caucasus Front after four months of marching, we came to know that the very hot weather on the Arabian Peninsula was actually a better condition. It is impossible to describe the cold here. My lieutenant commander, my captain assigned me to the mobile hospital. But there is no doctor or medicine. So, I had to return to my post. It snows very heavily here. We were told that Commander-in-chief Enver Pasha would come next Friday and our boots, wool, underwear and socks would be given before his arrival. (Güven and Zenginba¸s 2015).

Sources state that the Ottoman military delegation objected to the timing of the offensive due to climate, terrain and deficiencies in general. The most important of these objections is the warning of Commander Hasan Izzet Pasha. The encrypted telegram to the Commander-in-Chief Enver Pasha on December 18, 1914 is as follows: Now I have to present my personal opinion about the inevitable attack. Season is winter, snow is heavy and the soldier’s equipment and the clothes are no good, I see the result of the attack very dangerous. If the attack fails, the long war will be against us (Altınanıt 2013: 125).

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)


The commander of the 11th Corps, Galip Pasha, thought just like Hasan ˙Izzet Pasha about the timing of the operation. The conversation between them is as follows: Enver Pasha came to Köprüköyü. The German Bronsart Pasha was with him. I said, no way. There is heavy snow. The climate condition is very harsh. The soldiers have almost no food, especially no clothes. The roads are blocked! For the time being, no benefit can be expected from the attack under these circumstances. It would be appropriate in my opinion to postpone the operation to the summer” (Kanal 2014: 92).

Enver Pasha did not heed these warnings seriously and became even more ambitious. Already under these circumstances, the Russians also thought that the Ottomans would not engage in attack, so Enver Pasha who aimed to attack suddenly and win, ordered the army to attack on 22 December 1914. On the first day, Ottoman troops succeeded with excitement, faith and energy. Due to the extreme cold weather that started late in the evening, there were several freeze events. Russians who did not expect this attack reported the situation to Sarıkamı¸s Group Commander Berhman by telegram (Balcı 2006: 148). On the second day of the operation (December 23, 1914, Wednesday), the Turks continued to advance. The biggest problem for the Turks, who tried to find out where and how much the enemy force was from the 1000 Russian soldiers captured, was the lack of contact between the units. The phone line was not enough. As important as this was, food was left behind. Due to the harsh weather, the soldiers were exhausted. And it was very difficult for the Turkish soldiers to be victorious in this state, who had to forcibly take food from the nearby houses (Balcı 2006: 149). On the second day of the operation, the Turkish army had to extend its routes due to the terrain. This was an obstacle to the complete destruction of the Russian brigade. The Russians, who escaped destruction, retreated to Oltu. Upon these developments, the Deputy General of the Russian Caucasus Army General Maslofski, reported to their center that Sarıkamı¸s was in danger (Al¸san 2010: 44). On the same day, the Turkish army experienced a rare confusion. Some of the troops continuing to Oltu through Narman opened fire on each other due to the weather conditions. Because of the fog, the 31st and 32nd Fractions attacked each other as if they were enemies. Approximately 2000 soldiers died in this incident (Kanal 2014: 100; Aksun 2005: 204). Despite the weather and the lack of food and clothing, the Turkish army continued its march. The Russians took precautions against this situation. They planned to retreat in the direction of Sarıkamı¸s to avoid further losses. In the meantime, both the Turks and the Russians were giving false information about the situation through the press in their respective countries. Both sides reported that they had won great victories and would be the victors of the war (Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives [BOA], DH. SFR, ¸ 455/130). Especially on the night of December 24, 1914 (Thursday), the 10th Corps soldiers froze in the mountains of Allahuekber at temperatures below 35C and were martyred. In Turkish history books, the part where operation Sarıkamı¸s is presented is very short and there are explanations of the 90,000 soldiers who were frozen to death without


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firing a single bullet. The reason for this explanation is that most of the soldiers of the 10th Corps did actually freeze to death (Altınanıt 2013: 157). On the morning of 25 December 1914 (Friday) while some troops of the 11th Corps attempted to attack; the soldiers of the 9th Corps headed for the road to Sarıkamı¸s (Al¸san 2010: 52). The Russians were constantly reinforcing their armies in Sarıkamı¸s by sending troops thanks to the railway they had previously built. While the Turkish soldiers were hungry, tired and freezing, the Russians were more vivid. On December 26, 1914 (Saturday), the Turks tried to attack despite their great losses and the Russians prevented the attack. The Russians were lucky because their defense was supported by the violent fire of two field guns at Sarıkamı¸s coincidentally at that time. For the Turks, who were sure that there was no Russian artillery in Sarıkamı¸s, this gunfire was a major surprise. This time, the Russians managed to put their heavy arms into the town with the new support units (Ö˘gün 2016: 477). Now the course of the war turned completely against the Turks. They lost the battle due to the continuous increase in Russian forces, which were initially thought to be small in number. Along with the cold, fatigue, hunger and disconnection between the troops, the Turks started to plan retreating with the least loss until January 5, 1915 (Tuesday). Now everything was over and it was necessary to save the survivors (Sivri 2016: 178). The First Minister of Defense and First Chief of General Staff of Turkey, Marshal Fevzi Cakmak Pasha reviewed the Sarıkamı¸s defeat: “In Sarıkamı¸s, two young commanders could not assess the average capability of the army. Seeing the army as themselves, they wore their forces down early” (Çakmak 2011: 100). The soldiers who took part in this battle always brought the cold face of Sarıkamı¸s to the fore in their memoirs. According to these, the Turkish soldier showed obedience and did not panic (Köprülü 2011: 239). The soldier obeyed, but the cold did not. Ziya Bey, one of the commanders directly involved, clearly describes this fact stating that—that during the march the soldier’s backpack weighed 30–35 kg, they were sweating under the heavy load. The soldier was frozen with his rifle while standing for a rest, and he saw hundreds of them looking like scarecrows (Yergök 2007: 100). Arif Bey, one of the commanders who took part in the battle, wrote that privates who had no illnesses became sluggish and froze due to lack of clothing and food (Baytın 2007: 175).

Military Losses: Archieves and Historians The number of dead and prisoners is one of the most important yet difficult questions to answer about Operation Sarıkamı¸s. In this regard, how many soldiers lost their lives remains disputed, various figures are given. The second best known character after Enver Pasha during the Battle of Sarıkamı¸s, Hafiz Hakkı Pasha, who kept a diary gives the following figures: “We buried 30,000 martyrs”; and elsewhere he writes: “Oh Enver! You rushed this attack in winter and wasted thousands of innocent lives.

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)


May Allah forgive you” (Bardakçı 2016: 26–27). In terms of losses Sarıkamı¸s was the worst single defeat the Turks suffered in the entire war. Though a century on, passionate debate regarding the number of victims in the Sarıkamı¸s debacle, particularly amongst historians continues. Turkish researchers argue that the actual death toll is over 120,000. According to Russian sources, the death toll for the Turks is shown as 90,000 (Erzurumlu 2010: 127). However, Reynolds states that the number of casualties presented at 130,000–140,000 is a myth and that the real number is approximately 60,000. (Reynolds 2011: 125). Ziya Aksun states that the loss of Turks is 50,000 fatalities (Aksun 2005: 221). General Fahri Belen claims that the total losses were 40,000, including 23,000 martyrs, 7,000 prisoners and 10,000 wounded (Güre¸sir 2006: 22). A total of 29,000 Russian soldiers died, including 22,000 casualties and 7,000 frozen victims (Özdemir 2018: 467). On the Caucasian front, 65,000 Turkish soldiers were captured by the Russians (Bölükba¸sı 2014: 77). The number of Turkish prisoners in and around Sarıkamı¸s is given as 7,200. Some 5,000 Russian soldiers were captured by the Turks (Üner 2012: 53). Such statistical detail may feed into ongoing genuine research on WWI, or else be used in myth-making, or be presented in the creation of a heritage-remembrance centers in the Sarıkamı¸s region or elsewhere. Iterations of the contested data may pass into regional and national narratives, or other agenda. Nonetheless, it is a fact that a major reason for the excessive number of deaths was the lack of medical personnel and hospitals, deficiency in army clothing and inadequate food supplied. For instance, there was only one hospital with a 900 patient capacity in Erzurum, when there were days that 15.000 patients were gathered there (Eyyüpo˘glu 2006: 101). Regarding the horror of war, researchers have investigated the hygiene and health conditions regarding Sarıkamı¸s. A flu epidemic hit the Turks along with changing weather conditions that allowed the Russians to counter-attack (Reynolds 2011: 124– 125). Soldiers who were unable to bathe and clean their clothes in the Sarıkamı¸s Operation became infested with lice. These lice were the source of the typhus outbreak (Demirta¸s 2015: 118). As it was contagious, both soldiers and people of the region were infected (BOA, DH.KMS.31/11). Great efforts were made to prevent typhus in Erzurum, but these were mostly in vain (BOA, DH. SFR.462/9 ¸ and 461/96). Typhus also affected the Russians as well. (BOA, HR.SYS.2219/30). On February 6, 1915, a telegram sent by the Governor of Erzurum to the Ministry of Interior stated that 20,000 people from the army and public were sick due to a typhus epidemic, fever and dysentery (BOA, DH.˙I.UM.EK, 6/42–1). For example, there was no disinfection equipment in a regional hospital—Hasankale Hospital. Three chief doctors working there died of typhus. Those who died were stacked in front of the hospital in a pit, 20 m in length and 2 m in width (Balcı 2008: 155). There are telegrams (Photo 5) in the Ottoman Archives stating that there were doctors among those who died from typhus (BOA, DH. SFR, ¸ 455/80). Even the commander of the corps, Hafiz Hakkı Pasha, died of typhus in Erzurum on 12 February (BOA, DH. SFR.461/64). ¸


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Photo 5 A telegram dated December 26, 1914, stating that there were even doctors among those who died from typhus. (BOA, DH.SFR, ¸ 455/80)

How Sarıkamı¸s Became a Memory Space Sarıkamı¸s represents an historic space of memory for the conflict between the Ottoman and Russian empires epitomized by human losses in WWI. When Sarıkamı¸s is mentioned what comes to people’s mind firstly is usually harsh cold, heavy snow, and frozen bodies (Photo 6). Places such as Gallipoli, and where the battles ended with the victory of the Turks (Ottomans) during WWI and pursuant War of Independence have hosted various commemorations for a long time. Sarıkamı¸s has not been known or remembered by the public for many decades when compared with the other memory spaces where the Turkish military achieved significant successes or victories. Operation Sarıkamı¸s was one of the most controversial Turkish campaigns of WWI due to bad planning and timing. Perhaps the failure at Sarıkamı¸s has led it to be pushed to the back of our memory—in the oubliettes so to speak—for many years. Enver Pasha did not want his failure in the campaign to be known; not a single sentence of news was seen in the Turkish press about the operation as a result of censorship. In

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)


Photo 6 Frozen Turkish Soldiers during the Operation (from Prof. Dr. Bingür Sönmez archive)

the construction of the national narrative after WWI, perhaps Sarıkamı¸s was written out of the historical memory until more recent years in Turkey. In contrast, the Russians did not conceal what was going on in Sarıkamı¸s during the war. At the other end of the world, the outcome of the war was already known. The death of 50,000 Ottoman soldiers was the headline banner of The New York Times dated January 7, 1915 and the text continued as follows: “Two Corps were massacred by the Russians” (Sönmez and Yıldız 2018). A limited number of books and short articles regarding the Sarıkamı¸s campaign were written after 1922 but were not in wide circulation, but in the early 2000s, the public became aware of it especially via the mass media. With a timespan of almost a century, perhaps the public would be more distanced emotionally from such an event, especially with few or no living witnesses still around. There have been significant increases in the amount of news, research, articles and books about Operation Sarıkamı¸s over the past two decades. As of the early 2000s, the Sarıkamı¸s area has started to find its place in memorial activities such as Walks - on roads with 1-m high snow, on which the WWI Turkish soldiers had walked in the Allahuekber Mountains a century ago. The person who started this process by researching Operation Sarıkamı¸s succeeded in putting the story on Turkey’s agenda, and is Prof. Dr. Bingür Sönmez who is actually a heart surgeon. Sönmez, was born in Sarıkamı¸s in 1952, and pursued the lost or hidden aspects of Operation Sarıkamı¸s. He visited everyplace in his hometown and talked to many people about the war campaign. Sönmez, who also did his research in Russia, revealed the forgotten story of Operation Sarıkamı¸s through the photographs and videos he brought from Russia. In our interviews with Prof. Dr. Bingür Sönmez, he interpreted this process as follows: “In 2003 I started pursuing a dream. My dream was the remembrance of


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our forgotten sons under the snow in Sarıkamı¸s and the Allahuekber Mountains. You know Nasuh Mahruki—(i.e. Turkish professional mountain climber, writer, photographer and documentary film producer who climbed to the summit of Mount Everest and was the first Turkish person to climb the Seven Summits). With his participation, we organized a memorial march for the first time in 2003 with a group of only 200 people in total. In 2004, we walked with 2,000 people. The number of participants for the commemoration march increased each year. In 2014, … 90,000 people marched for their grandfathers. That was the dream of me and my friends. We wanted them to know their martyr grandfathers, who sacrificed their lives for a purpose by obeying the orders without proper clothes, walking under the heavy snow, and freezing in the mountains (Photo 7). And this desire, our dream came true. Now our State has assumed this task (Photo 8). I did my duty. We succeeded. Now everyone knows the martyrs of Sarıkamı¸s. Tens of thousands of young people are walking in the mountains.” (Personal interview with the author, 2019). As seen above, Bingür Sönmez and his friends organized their first march in 2003 in the exact physical geography where the Sarıkamı¸s Operation took place. Since then, there are increasing numbers at the commemoration activities in Sarıkamı¸s every year. As Sönmez comments, the ceremonies in Sarıkamı¸s are now institutionalized and belong to the state. These commemorative activities are now taking place, especially within the plans and programs of public institutions and organizations. Sarıkamı¸s commemoration 2019 marking the 104th anniversary of the campaign was entitled: “Turkey Marching with its Martyrs". Some of the basic feelings and thoughts of people who participated in the March for Sarıkamı¸s in the Allahuekber Mountains in early 2019 (Photos 9 and 10), highlighted the struggle of the soldiers against the cold weather. One walker stated that

Photo 7 Representation of frozen soldiers by visitors (27.12.2008)

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)

Photo 8 Commemoration organized by the State Authority (28.12.2008) Photo 9 Photos from the Commemoration in 2019



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Photo 10 Photos from the Commemoration in 2019

he had been influence by the books he had read about Sarıkamı¸s: “Due to the cold, the soldiers who thought they would not get cold on the branchesof the trees were frozen, and hours later these frozen bodies fell to the ground with the effects of the rising sun.” (Personal interviews, 2019). Another participant stated that he “remembered the Sarıkamı¸s lines in one of the works of the world-famous Turkish writer Ya¸sar Kemal.” The aforementioned writing is a memoir of a Sarıkamı¸s veteran who wrote as if talking to his cat. But this narrative is far beyond the ordinary. It describes what war is, what the soldiers went through, how they died, and tens of thousands of dead bodies on the battlefield. Have you ever seen Sarıkamı¸s, cat? Mirrored bazaar in Sarıkamı¸s. Mirrored Bazaar hell. Have you ever seen ships that fly into the mirror market and pour into the sea? Good thing you didn’t. Have you ever seen the dead who have been torn apart, piled up on top of each other, filling trenches, coves, pits to the brim? Have you ever walked past the plains full of rotten and stinky dead? The man who has not seen the Sarıkamı¸s War has not lived and has not seen anything in the world. Mirrored bazaar in Erzurum. You cat, you sleepy, relaxed, stretched cat, have you ever seen what happened on Mount Allahuekber? Have you ever seen tens of thousands of soldiers’ bare feet in 11-feet snow, bareheaded, with torn pants, hoodless, without a jacket, wearing a sheep full of lice and not able to itch with frozen hands, Russian artillery’s cannonballs that turn snowy mountains into fire and dungeons, arms and legs flying around with snow, blood falling from the sky, soldiers facing the storm at the peaks of Allahuekber Mountains, soldiers looking with frozen eyelashes, eyebrows and eyes? (Kemal 2002a, b: 11; 2011).

A New Memory Space: Sarikami¸s (Kars/Turkey)


In parallel with these developments, Sarıkamı¸s Allahuekber Mountains were declared a national park on 19 October 2004 and taken under state protection. This was attributed to two reasons: (i) existence of martyrdom monuments where thousands of Turkish soldiers froze to death in Operation Sarıkamı¸s in the Allahuekber Mountains in 1914–1915; and (ii) this area hosts pine tree species growing at the highest altitude in Turkey. The spatial dimension of the commemorations is not limited to Sarıkamı¸s. It has diffused to many cities in Turkey, and takes place every year in early January.

References Aksun ZN (2005) Enver Pa¸sa ve Sarıkamı¸s harekâtı. ˙Istanbul, Ötüken Yayınları Al¸san S (2010) Sarıkamı¸s ku¸satma harekâtı ve s¸ehitlikleri. Erzurum, Atatürk Üniversitesi Atatürk ˙Ilke ve ˙Inkılapları Enstitüsü Altinanit H˙I (2013) Sarıkamı¸s (Yay. Haz. Bingör Sönmez), ˙Istanbul, Babıali Kültür Yayıncılı˘gı Balci R (2006) Tarihin Sarıkamı¸s duru¸sması. ˙Istanbul, Nesil Yayınları Balci R (2008) Sarıkamı¸s yolun sonu. ˙Istanbul, Babıali Kültür Yayıncılı˘gı Bardakçi M (2016) Hafız Hakkı Pa¸sa’nın Sarıkamı¸s günlü˘gü. ˙Istanbul, ˙I¸s Bankası Kültür Yayınları Basin Yayin ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlü˘gü (2015) Harp mecmuası, 24, 2. Basın Yayın Ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlü˘gü, Ankara Baytin A (2007) Sessiz ölüm, Sarıkamı¸s günlü˘gü (Yay. Haz. ˙Ismail Dervi¸so˘glu), ˙Istanbul, Yeditepe Yayınları Biricik (2016) Çanakkale mah¸seri ve Sarıkamı¸s/Beyaz Hüzün romanlarında Türklerin kimliksel bellek mekânları. Türkiyat Mecmuası 26(2):95–111 Bölükba¸si N (2014) Tarihin arka yüzündeki Sarıkamı¸s harekâtı. ˙Istanbul, Bilge Kültür Sanat Yayınları Çakmak F (2011) Büyük harpte Sark ¸ Cephesi harekâtı, (Yay. Haz, Ahmet Tetik), ˙Istanbul, ˙I¸s Bankası Yayınları Demirta¸s AA (2015) Rus kaynaklarına göre Sarıkamı¸s. Basılmamı¸s Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Ankara, Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Derinsu DE (2004) Elviye-i Selase/Üç Sancak (Kars, Ardahan ve Batum)’da Ermenilerin Türklere yaptıkları mezalim. Atatürk Üniversitesi Türkiyat Ara¸stırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi 23:245–261 Erzurumlu A (2010) Karlar altındaki tarih: Sarıkamı¸s Allahüekber s¸ehitleri. ˙Istanbul, Ferfir Yayınları Eyyüpo˘glu ˙I (2006) 91. yılında Sarıkamı¸s taarruzu. Atatürk Üniversitesi Türkiyat Ara¸stırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi 12(31):93–103 Gülbetekin M (2017) Mekânın hafızası yer adları. Ankara, Hitabevi Yayınları Güre¸sir SK (2006) Edebiyatımızda Sarıkamı¸s (1914). Basılmamı¸s Yüksek Lisans Tezi, ˙Istanbul, Marmara Üniversitesi Türkiyat Ara¸stırmaları Enstitüsü Güven C, ZENG˙INBAS¸ M. (2015) Kafkas Cephesi’nin Karadeniz’den takviyesine ilk darbe: Rus filosu tarafından Zonguldak bombardımanı ve askeri nakliye gemilerinin batırılması hadisesi. Yemi Türkiye 21(73):745–754 Kanal H (2014) Sarıkamı¸s harekâtı esnasında cephede ya¸sananlar ve Anadolu’ya etkileri. Ankara Üniversitesi Dil Ve Tarih-Co˘grafya Fakültesi Dergisi 54(2):87–114 Kemal Y (2002a) Karıncanın Su ˙Içti˘gi (Ant Drinking Water) Kemal Y (2002b) Tanyeri Horozları (The Cocks of Dawn) Kemal Y (2011) Fırat suyu kan akıyor baksana- Bir ada hikayesi 1. ˙Istanbul, Adam Yayıncılık index.html


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Köprülü S¸ (2011) Sarıkamı¸s ku¸satma manevrası ve meydan sava¸sı (Yay. Haz. Sami Önal). ˙Istanbul, ˙I¸s Bankası Yayınları Kurat AN (2011) Türkiye ve Rusya. XVIII. yüzyıl sonundan Kurtulu¸s Sava¸sına kadar Türk-Rus ili¸skileri, Ankara, Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınları Maranci C (2009) Sarıkamı¸s ve 91. alay, ˙Istanbul, Alio˘glu Yayınları Narli M (2007) Siir ¸ ve mekân. Ankara, Hece Yayınları Nora P (2006) Hafıza mekânları, Türkçesi: Özcan. M. E, Ankara, Dost Kitabevi Yayınları Ö˘gün T (2016) Sarıkamı¸s harekâtı, Ankara, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı ˙Islam Ansiklopedisi, Ek-2, pp 476–479 Özata M (2009) Bir doktorun harp ve memleket anıları. Ankara, Genelkurmay Basımevi Özdemir Y (2018) Sarıkamı¸s harekâtı. ˙Istanbul, Historia Yayınları Reynolds MA (2011) Shattering empires the clash and collapse of the Ottoman and Russian empires, 1908–1918. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Sadigov R (2019) Rus kaynaklarına göre Sarıkamı¸s harekâtı. SUTAD 46:279–302 Sivri PM (2016) Manastır’dan Erzurum’a Hafız Hakkı Pa¸sa (1879–1915). Basılmamı¸s Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Erzurum, Atatürk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Sönmez B, Yildiz R (2008) Ate¸se dönen dünya: Sarıkamı¸s. (6. Baskı), ˙Istanbul, ˙Ikarus Yayınları Sönmez B, Yildiz R (2018) Ate¸se dönen dünya: Sarıkamı¸s. (10. Baskı), ˙Istanbul, Boyut Yayıncılık Üner M (2012) Kafkas Cephesi’nde Rusların eline dü¸sen Türkler. Basılmamı¸s Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Balıkesir, Balıkesir Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Yergök Z (2007) Sarıkamı¸s’tan esarete (1915–1920), (Yay. Haz, Sami Önal), ˙Istanbul, Remzi Kitabevi

From the Great War to Interwar Fortifications: Changing Narratives Attached to the Military Landscape in Western Slovenia Peter Kumer, Matija Zorn, Grega Žorž, and Primož Gašperiˇc

Abstract This chapter explores the military landscape of the Slovenian–Italian border region and its connections with the First World War and memorialization of the interwar years. In the study region, which encompasses the western part of present-day Slovenia, fighting took place on the Soˇca/Isonzo Front, 1915–1917. The front was the scene of one of the greatest battles between Austria-Hungary and Italy. During the interwar period, the region was part of the Kingdom of Italy. During this time, the Italians built fortifications known as the Alpine Wall (Ital. Vallo Alpino). These ran along the new eastern Italian and western Yugoslav border. On the Yugoslav side, the Rupnik Line of fortifications was built to counter the Italian constructions. Trails, monuments, and memorial places are physical reminders of this conflicting past. The narratives attached to these places are integrated into local and national discourses. In the past, major social conflict was associated with these memorials, but now they are being (re)constructed as tourist and hiking destinations. The research focuses on two places of memory in western Slovenia (i) the Walk of Peace trail, a 320 km route connecting outdoor museums, memorials, cemeteries, and other restored wartime sites with stories of the largely overlooked Soˇca/Isonzo Front, the easternmost section of the WWI Alpine or Italian Front. (ii) The second case study covers a series of memorial trails that run along the interwar border between Italy and Yugoslavia. P. Kumer (B) · M. Zorn · G. Žorž · P. Gašperiˇc Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia e-mail: [email protected] M. Zorn e-mail: [email protected] G. Žorž e-mail: [email protected] P. Gašperiˇc e-mail: [email protected] G. Žorž Ministry of Culture, Ljubljana, Slovenia © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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Keywords Historical geography · Conflicts · Cultural heritage · Interpretation · Soˇca/Isonzo Front · Walk of Peace trail · Rapallo border

Introduction Today, western Slovenia is the last territory that was politically incorporated into Slovenia, and throughout its history it has been defined by its role as a border area. During the First World War and the interwar years, it experienced several political changes whereby the national border was moved across substantial distances. During WWI this was the site of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front, which was one of the bloodiest of the war. This front, which was fought over from May 1915 to September 1917 and resulted in over 700,000 casualties (Salvador 2016) “created a palimpsest conflict landscape which preserves a unique archaeological record of a multinational and multi-ethnic war waged across a topographically diverse landscape” (Saunders et al. 2013: 47). With the defeat and dissolution of Austria-Hungary, in November 1918 Italy occupied what is now western Slovenia, and thus also the Soˇca (Ital. Isonzo) Valley. The new eastern Italian border with the newly established Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) was defined in November 1920 by the Treaty of Rapallo, and so the resulting border is often referred to as the Rapallo border after the Italian town of Rapallo, where the treaty was signed. From the Slovenian perspective, Italy received a third of Slovenian ethnic territory (Zorn and Mikša 2018). The fact that the area of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front was awarded to Italy allowed the interwar Italian Fascist regime to create a “commemorative landscape” with Fascist monuments (e.g., ossuaries; Fig. 1) and mythologizing of the “Great War” and the Italian victory (Saunders et al. 2013). At the same time, further militarization of the area continued with interwar fortifications along the new postwar border between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The militarization of the area continued during the Second World War and afterwards. Saunders et al. (2013) counted no fewer than twelve “layers of conflict landscapes” in the area from the First World War until the end of the twentieth century. All these conflict landscapes “simultaneously contain and constitute a variety of associated commemorative and monumentalized landscapes and features” (Saunders et al. 2013: 48). This chapter focuses on conflict landscapes from the First World War and the postwar (or interwar) period. The research reflects on why the memory of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front and the fortifications from the interwar years were selectively viewed by the local population with regard to the social and political changes that unfolded in the region during the second half of the twentieth century. It analyses how shifts in the practices of commemoration and heritagization of WWI and the interwar years changed the construction of identity and tourism practices in the area.

From the Great War to Interwar Fortifications …


Fig. 1 The Italian ossuary above Kobarid was built during the Fascist era, in 1938, in memory of Italian soldiers fallen in the First World War (photo by Matija Zorn)

The Soˇca/Isonzo Front and Memorialization Narratives The Soˇca/Isonzo Front was part of the 600 km line between Italy and Austria-Hungary WWI. It extended from the Swiss border to the Gulf of Trieste in the northern Adriatic. Its easternmost section of approximately 90 km traversed present-day western Slovenia from the Julian Alps in the north, through the pre-Alpine hills and high karst plateaus, to the low karst plateau (the Kras Plateau) and the Adriatic Sea to the south. The twelve battles on the Soˇca/Isonzo Front left many traces in the landscape, including trenches, roads and mule tracks, a cable-transport network, dugouts, artillery and machine-gun positions, barracks, warehouses, and cemeteries. From May 1915 until September 1917, the front saw eleven Italian offensives and then the final Austro-Hungarian offensive that broke the front line (Saunders et al. 2013; Košir 2019). Like the remaining Western and Eastern fronts, this front line was characterized by trench warfare (Saunders et al. 2013). The varied landscape of the front created different kinds of battle zones. For example, in high mountains trenches and fortified positions were often build in the form of dry stone walls or shallow trenches dug directly into the rock, whereas in hilly regions and in the valleys with more regolith deep trenches (Saunders et al. 2013) were dug, or in karst areas many caves were used as shelters and thus transformed into dugouts.


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The Soˇca/Isonzo Front was a multi-ethnic “event” especially because the army on the Austro-Hungarian side consisted of many different nationalities e.g., Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Ukrainians, Slovenians, Croats, Bosnians, Serbs, and Romanians. Each of these ethnic groups with their cultures and religious beliefs e.g., Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish, left distinctive traces on the landscape. The memorials created by the Italian side are mostly in Italian, but the Austro-Hungarian memorials show great linguistic diversity. Many religious structures were built; for example, chapels of various sizes (Fig. 2), but also a mosque (Fig. 3) in the village of Log pod Mangartom built by Bosnian troops in the Austro-Hungarian army (Saunders et al. 2013; Adamiˇc and Stokin 2017; Drole 2019; Urbanc et al. 2020). This mosque was demolished during the interwar period. After the Second World War, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia replaced the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This new communist state glorified the Partisans and their National Liberation Movement. At this time, as Saunders et al. (2013: 54) put it: “perhaps understandably, the First World War slipped from the public consciousness under the realities of more recent events.” It was not until the 1980s that WWI “reemerged,” and in 2000 the Walk of Peace Foundation was established to selectively

Fig. 2 Holy Spirit Church was built in 1916 during the fighting on the Soˇca/Isonzo Front. It was erected by Austro-Hungarian soldiers. In 2018 it was designated a European cultural heritage site (photo by Matija Zorn)

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Fig. 3 The mosque in Log pod Mangartom was erected in 1916 to serve the spiritual needs of Bosnian units in the Austro-Hungarian Army. The mosque was razed after the territory was incorporated into Italy after the First World War (GIAM ZRC SAZU Archive)

preserve the traces of the First World War in the landscape. In the following years, six open-air museums were created (Saunders et al. 2013). Saunders et al. (2013: 55) argue that “politics, economics, identity, ethnicity, heritage and tourism all played (and continue to play) significant roles alongside both world wars in creating and re-shaping the conflict landscapes” in the area. Attitudes toward the material traces of WWI have changed significantly down to the present. Štepec (2019: 214) writes that, for many years, the Slovenian collective memory of the First World War was “pushed to the margins of both collective memory and academic research” and was “ignored by writers of history and school texts.” There was “almost no space in the national memorial landscape” for it (Štepec 2019: 214). Connected to the attitudes toward the traces of WWI, Košir (2019) distinguishes five periods: (i) that during the conflict (1915–1917), (ii) the postwar period (1917–1945), (iii) the Yugoslav era (1945–1991), (iv) the early years after Slovenia’s independence (1991–2008), and (v) a second period after Slovenia’s independence, after the introduction of new cultural heritage legislation. During the first period (1915–1917), the material remains were re-used; for example, military material was slowly dispersed, including weapons and equipment, taken by soldiers as trophies or used by civilians to rebuild their homes. In the 1920s (i.e., in the second period: 1917–1945), there were initially many burials and latter reburials in larger cemeteries (Košir 2019). However, the second period


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saw also “great projects of monumentalization in grand style … after the Fascists gained power” in Italy (Košir 2019: 186), especially monumental ossuaries (e.g., in Redipuglia). A process of memorialization was dominant on what was then Italian territory to commemorate fallen Italian soldiers and to represent Italian wartime sacrifices (Košir 2019). Thus, in the Soˇca Valley, the memory of the front was totally dominated by the Italian myth of the war and its glorification as part of national collective memory (Štepec 2019). On the other side of the border, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, memories of the Slovenian war experiences became the sphere of the family (Štepec 2019). During this time, some started selling leftover war material as a way to make a living. In the 1930s, new military construction works began, overlaying the traces of WWI (see section “The “Rediscovery” of the Interwar Fortifications”). After the Second World War (Period 3, 1945–1991), most of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front became part of communist Yugoslavia. “A new collective memory was based on the events of the Second World War and the national liberation movement. This overshadowed memory of the First World War” and thus the remnants were “not seen as important to the state,” and the “national liberation movement war was now the platform on which national identity was constructed” (Košir 2019: 189). Secondly, during WWI the Slovenians mostly fought for Austria-Hungary, and in the Second World War Austria was annexed to Germany. Therefore, from the perspective of communist Yugoslavia, those that fought for Austria-Hungary had been on the “wrong” side. Thirdly, the collective memory “of the First World War was suppressed partly as it was not possible to celebrate victory and defeat at the same time” (Luthar 2000: 97). In the propaganda of communist Yugoslavia, Austria-Hungary also “became a more or less hated ‘prison of nations’” (Štepec 2019: 219). The Soˇca/Isonzo Front continued to be excluded from history textbooks, and books on the topic were also on the list of prohibited publications. This changed to some extent following the fiftieth anniversary of the war. With limited publications on the topic, “memory of the war was preserved by war novels” (Štepec 2019: 228). For example, regarding the Soˇca/Isonzo Front the Slovenian novel Doberdob (Doberdò del Lago, 1940) by Prežihov Voranc or the American novel, Farewell to Arms (1929) by Ernest Hemingway. In the context of heritage, the Soˇca/Isonzo Front received little attention during the 1945–1991 period, and thus this heritage was greatly damaged. Košir (2019: 191) argues that this “was probably the lowest point… as even professionals dealing with cultural heritage did not acknowledge” it. However, beginning in the 1960s, some started collecting material remnants, and in the 1970s the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage also began to safeguard this legacy. In the late 1970s, military cemeteries were catalogued. Today in Slovenia fifty-six military cemeteries are listed along the Soˇca/Isonzo Front, of which forty-three are defined as cultural monuments (Košir 2019). In the late 1980s, especially following the seventieth anniversary of the breakthrough at the front, some major exhibitions opened in various museums, and with regard to WWI heritage an important turning point was the opening of the First World War Museum in Kobarid in 1990 (Fig. 4; Štepec 2019). The museum presents the history of WWI through the eyes of a common soldier. “In doing so, it has built the context for an antiwar message that does not speak of the victors and

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Fig. 4 The First World War Museum in Kobarid opened in 1990 with the mission of preserving, studying, and presenting WWI, especially the Soˇca/Isonzo Front (photo by Matija Zorn)

the defeated, but of war as the greatest misfortune that can afflict man” (Kravanja 2018: 106). After Slovenia’s independence in 1991, public awareness of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front increased, and the first societies dealing with memories of WWI were established. For example, in 2000 the Walk of Peace Foundation was established (Fig. 5). In 1990, the First World War Museum in Kobarid was established (Fig. 4), and only three years later it received the Council of Europe Museum Prize. This fourth period (1991– 2008) saw the emergence of open-air museums with reconstructions of monuments and frontline positions. The last period (Period 5) is connected to the introduction of the Cultural Heritage Protection Act (Zakon 2008), which states that all military remains that are at least fifty years old should be regarded as an archaeological site. Before this law, remnants of WWI were not considered archaeological heritage (Drole 2019). Today in Slovenia the events around the First World War and the Soˇca/Isonzo Front are fully presented in history textbooks. There are several school guidebooks for fieldwork, some written in Slovenian and some in Italian, to teach schoolchildren on both sides of the border. In one of them, the Italian author wrote: “It is impossible to count the names of streets and squares connected with the clashes… the innumerable monuments built to commemorate the fallen. Their initial purpose was to preserve the memory of those that gave their lives for the homeland, but their primary role


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Fig. 5 At the headquarters of the Walk of Peace Foundation in Kobarid there is an information center where visitors are offered material about the Walk of Peace trail from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea and the heritage of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front. There is also a permanent interactive display on the Walk of Peace trail (photo by Matija Zorn)

today is to serve as a warning that such atrocities should never happen again—they have become a symbol of peace” (Bratina et al. 2017: 45). One of the most important “remnants” of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front is the Walk of Peace trail along the Soˇca River, dedicated to all those that suffered during the First World War. It was created following the examples of similar historical areas in the Dolomites and the Carnic Alps that were also part of the Italian fronts during WWI, today on the border between Italy and Austria, or at Verdun and the Somme River on the Western Front. A common feature of all of them is that they meander along authentic locations on the former front lines, and their main message is to emphasize the value of peace and to promote international understanding (Testen and Koren 2015). The Walk of Peace trail is a hiking route connecting remnants of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front in the countryside (e.g., open-air museums, religious structures, significant monuments and memorials, fortifications, dugouts, cemeteries, and private collections of material from the front (Koren and Testen 2014). It promotes “the value of peace, mutual respect and cross-border cooperation”, but it also serves as “a warning against wars which should never happen again” (Adamiˇc and Stokin 2017: 83–84). Furthermore, it also promotes rich cultural and natural heritage along the former

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front and interconnection of people along the route, which crosses today’s ItalianSlovenian border. It has become a best-practice example of cross-border cooperation, development, and promotion, and on anniversaries of the war also an example of how to connect nations formerly at odds with each other and to commemorate tragic events together (Uršiˇc 2016). The trail is managed by the Walk of Peace Foundation; it is uniformly marked (Fig. 6) and suitable for different groups of visitors. A map of the trail and a guidebook have been published. Although the basic mission of the Walk of Peace trail is to give value to historical heritage, the foundation develops it as a history and tourism product intended to motivate visitors to spend several days in the Soˇca Valley and to extend the relatively brief summer tourist season into the spring and fall months (Koren and Testen 2014). From the very beginning, the trail has been connected with recreation and nature (Kravanja 2018). In addition, the trail contributes to stronger collective awareness of the residents of the Soˇca Valley on the one hand, and on the other to strengthening and jointly creating historical memory. This is reflected at multiple levels: at the local level because the local population is becoming increasingly aware of this heritage and also benefits economically because of tourism. This is reinforced at the national level because awareness of the events on the Soˇca/Isonzo Front is

Fig. 6 At selected locations on the Walk of Peace trail there are information signs in four languages: Slovenian, English, Italian, and German. A sign next to the open-air museum at Mount Kolovrat shows the entire route of the trail. It is marked with the same symbol: the dove in the upper left corner of the sign (photo by Matija Zorn)


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strengthened, and at the international level because the region is becoming a place of Pan-European memory and collective heritage (Koren and Testen 2014), where “the timeless title of Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms resounds” (Uršiˇc 2016). As an outdoor classroom, the trail also serves as a teaching aid to better understand the events during WWI (Likar 2011; Testen and Koren 2015). The first part of the trail in the Upper Soˇca Valley, with a length of approximately 100 km, was opened in 2007 (Testen and Koren 2015) but since 2015 it has stretched from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea, with a length of approximately 320 km. In 2015 the most popular points along the entire route on both sides of the border had over 320,000 visitors, including 65,000 at the museum in Kobarid (Klavora 2016). In 2016 UNESCO included “Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic – Heritage of the First World War” on the UNESCO Tentative List (Uršiˇc 2016), but it is also being considered for the UNESCO World Heritage List (Kravanja 2018).

The “Rediscovery” of the Interwar Fortifications From the 1930s until the Second World War, the western part of Slovenia was highly militarized. Like many other European countries as with France’s Maginot Line, in the 1930s Italy started fortifying its land borders (Kaufmann and Jurga 1999; Žorž 2017). For their fortification line, the Italians chose the natural barrier of the Alps, naming it the Alpine Wall (Ital. Vallo Alpino). On the basis of the Treaty of Rapallo (hence the Rapallo border)—that is, also in the wider Soˇca Valley—the Italians built an extensive fortification line. Its fortifications, barracks, ammunition magazines, supply lines, fortified positions, and even airfields were meant to protect Italy’s eastern border with Yugoslavia. This belt of fortifications built under Mussolini was described by an older generation of researchers (e.g., Juvanˇciˇc 1968; Fatur 1975). Their findings have been reexamined by younger researchers (e.g., Bizjak 2016; Žorž 2017). One of their findings was that in selecting its strategy to build defensive works, Italy relied on its own prewar tradition, in which only the main passages into the interior of the country were protected (Bizjak 2016). Already in 1927, Italy’s eastern border was excluded from uniform planning along the Alpine range because Slovenia’s physical geographical (mostly karstic) characteristics are completely different than in the mountainous Alpine area; the Alpine Wall in Slovenia is therefore unique heritage (Žorž 2017). Because of the high construction costs, the permanent defensive structures were built in only the most exposed positions, and the Alpine Wall was thus linearly connected mainly through a system of temporary defensive structures created to fill the intermediate empty spaces (Žorž 2017). Because of its borderland characteristics, a considerable number of Italian troops ˇ cek were concentrated in the area from the First World War onward (Fatur 1975; Cuˇ 2016). In some parts, the remnants of the WWI period were incorporated into this new defense system (Saunders et al. 2013) This exceptional defense infrastructure disrupted vast natural areas of exceptional quality that are protected by various nature conservation regimes today (Grom et al. 2018). The series of fortified areas in today’s

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Fig. 7 A fortification of the Alpine Wall, which can be viewed as part of the trail along the Rapallo border near the Sorica Pasture in the Julian Alps (photo by Matija Zorn)

Slovenian territory covers the area from the Austrian border in the north to the Croatian border in the south (Fig. 7). Altogether there are over one hundred fortifications. Along the 250 km border, in addition to permanent defensive structures, many field positions consisting of firing trenches, bunkers, and observation posts can still be found (Žorž 2016, 2017). Between 1936 and 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia started building its own fortification system to counter the Italian construction. This system was located on the Yugoslav side of the Rapallo border and was known as the Rupnik Line (Slovene: Rupnikova linija; Figs. 8, 9 and 10). Because of its brief period of construction, a lack of funds, and frequent interruption, it is largely unfinished and its state of preservation is much worse; however, because of the involvement of the local population in all phases of its construction, it has a greater presence in the local consciousness. After the Second World War, the border between Italy and Yugoslavia shifted to the west, and most of the Soˇca Valley (except for its southern part) became part of Yugoslavia. Across the entire area behind the former Rapallo border, the memory of the interwar period is especially marked by Italian Fascism, which considered its half-million-population of Slovenians and Croats foreigners and for over a quarter century violently oppressed them economically and socially, and through assimilation (Kacin-Wohinz 1972; Žorž 2017).


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Fig. 8 During the Second World War (in 1942), the Germans issued the publication Denkschrift über die jugoslawische Landesbefestigung (Memorandum on Yugoslav Fortifications), in which they inventoried the course of the Rupnik Line in detail, accompanied by a map (legend: solid red line = completed structures, hollow red line = planned structures, red circle = individual structure). Between 1941 and 1943, similar publications were also issued for fortified positions in Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Soviet Union. A more precise, comprehensive, and graphic and cartographic inventory including a typology of structures on the Rupnik Line was created by the Italians between 1941 and 1942; however, this was not issued as a publication, but as archival material

Research on the history of the interwar fortifications was not desired by the wartime or postwar authorities, nor was it in their interest (Kacin-Wohinz 1972; Žorž 2017). In Slovenia, the interwar fortifications were long “forgotten” because their “builder” (i.e., General Rupnik) on the Yugoslav side was cast as a Second World War quisling by the representatives of the postwar political elite and, as such, a person that needed to be erased from the collective memory of communist Yugoslavia after the Second World War. In the following decades, these and the Italian fortifications were

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Fig. 9 Fortification along the Rupnik Line on Mount Blegoš (photo by Matija Zorn)

thus wrongly attributed to the Soˇca/Isonzo Front, as seen even in modern literature about the Soˇca/Isonzo Front (e.g., Budkoviˇc 1999; Klavora 2014, and in information leaflets on Triglav National Park). Because of limited access to the archives and consequently fewer opportunities to verify information, studies of both defensive lines, which started to appear in the 1960s, are often deficient or misleading from today’s perspective (e.g., Juvanˇciˇc 1968). However, without these early researchers, the work of later scholars at the beginning of the twenty-first century would have been much more difficult. Because of easier access to sources, in the last decade it has been much easier to present such material in a manner based on scholarly methods and critical examination of archival sources. The topic of the interwar fortifications on both sides of the border suppressed (i.e., self-censored) in the collective consciousness has now been turned into successful tourism products in Podbrdo, the Sorica Pasture (Figs. 7 and 11), the Poljane Valley, Idrija, Žiri, and Pivka. In these places, it is worth emphasizing the bottom-up approach; the local population has come to recognize the value of this fortification heritage from its own recent history on its own and created connections with various researchers or institutions, and started developing tourism products. In this regard, the Rapallo Border Historical Society highlights the fact that tourism products focusing on the Rapallo period are equally distributed on both sides of the former border, which testifies to the rich and diverse fortification heritage of both Yugoslavia’s


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Fig. 10 The online portals Geopedia and include a data layer of structures on the Rupnik Line, especially in the central part of the Rapallo border. The area around Žiri is depicted

Rupnik Line and Italy’s Alpine Wall. Although this fortification heritage was generally designed as an isolated and unconnected tourism product, in recent years there has been a perceptible trend—perhaps also because of the approaching centennial of the Treaty of Rapallo—for the Rapallo border to assume a central role, which points to a comprehensive understanding of all three features (the two fortification systems and the former national border along it) and the wish to unite them into a thematically cohesive and geographically connected tourism product in western Slovenia. Over the past years there have been increasing local initiatives organized as local institutes, societies, or municipal projects, whose shared tourism program is based on connecting material dealing with the Rapallo period.

Conclusions Attitudes toward the First World War and the Soˇca/Isonzo Front have changed over time. “From being accorded major memorial significance under the Italians… to almost total neglect in the post–Second World War” Yugoslavia, to the rediscovery of the importance of this heritage in recent years (Košir 2019: 195).

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Fig. 11 The trails along the Rapallo border near the Sorica Pasture in the Julian Alps show remnants of the Alpine Wall among other features (photo by Matija Zorn)

The Walk of Peace trail is a new interpretation of the heritage of the Soˇca/Isonzo Front, which is referred to as the “forgotten” front in some literature (Cassar 1998; Schindler 2001), perhaps known only as the backdrop to Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms, which holds much potential for literary pilgrim tourism. It has a similar message to that in Hemingway’s book—to promote peace—but its purpose is to also preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the First World War. The trails along the interwar fortifications have the same purpose of preservation and protection. In Slovenia, these were long “forgotten” because their “builder” (i.e., General Rupnik) was cast as a Second World War quisling on the Yugoslav side, and, as such, a person that needed to be erased from the collective memory of communist Yugoslavia after the Second World War. In the following decades, these and the Italian fortifications were thus wrongly attributed to the Soˇca/Isonzo Front. Both lines of fortifications were “rediscovered” only recently by modern dark heritage and tourism narratives. Learning more about past events, their causes, and their consequences is necessary because of “what [we] can … learn from a history that we do not know” (Štepec 2019: 231). The interpretation of the Soˇca/Isonzo front and the Rapallo Border as former separation lines differently influencing areas of this once-contested border region adds to the significance of this type of heritage. It has the potential to become an engine of tourism development for the region (Grom et al. 2018). What emerges


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as being a highly substantial motor in the background of this heritage, spaces of memory and borderlands narrative is the interfacing work of grassroots organizations with researchers and academics, and national authorities liaising with wider inputs from the EU and UNESCO.

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Trieste: Many Dimensions of a Disputed Port-City—At the Crossroads of Spaces and Times Gianfranco Battisti

Abstract Trieste flourished as part of Austria from 1382 until 1918, when it was considered one of the most prosperous Mediterranean seaports as well as a capital of literature and music. In the re-enactments organized for the centenary of the Great War 1914–18, the fact that Trieste was the decisive argument—casus belli that in 1915 drove the Kingdom of Italy into the conflict was too often ignored. Events in 1915 happened despite awareness on the Italian side that tearing the Trieste maritime emporium from its Central European hinterland would result in the drying up of the sources from which its wealth was derived. Thus Italy, eager to complete its ‘national’ unification process, unintentionally provoked the collapse of this maritime economy. From a demographic perspective, in 1914 Trieste was the third largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In spring 1915, when WWI seemed to be coming to an end due to the Anglo-French landing at the Dardanelles—a tragic illusion which ended in a bloodbath—the clash moved to the opposite side of the Mediterranean and into the mass of the European continent. So the myth of the “holy city” of Trieste was born, strongly contended between Italians and Austro-Germans apparently, but in reality between Italians and the Slavic subjects of the Habsburg crown. Keywords Trieste · Austro-hungarian empire · WWI · Italian unification · Yugoslavia · Slovenia · Boundaries

Introduction: 100 Years Since the Great War Trieste flourished as part of Austria, from 1382 (which became the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867) until 1918, when it was considered one of the most prosperous Mediterranean seaports as well as a capital of culture, literature and music. In the reenactments set for the centenary of the Great War 1914–18, the fact that Trieste was the decisive argument—casus belli that in 1915 drove the Kingdom of Italy into the conflict was largely ignored, and too often this has been the case. Italian involvement G. Battisti (B) Department of Humanities (DISU), University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



G. Battisti

in the war caused a shift in the military balance contributing to the defeat Austria and dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This happened despite awareness on the Italian side that tearing the maritime emporium from its Central European hinterland would result in the drying up of the sources from which its wealth was derived.1 Thus Italy, eager to complete its unitary process, unintentionally provoked the collapse of this maritime economy. To better understand the scale of the event, it will suffice to recall that before the conflict the capitalization of the Trieste Stock Exchange was higher than that of Vienna (Giuffoletti et al. 2002). From a demographic point of view, in 1914 Trieste was the third largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Human history, as we know, does not proceed along rational ways, but it knows heterodox and tangled paths, which often respond to signals coming from the collective imagination. These refer to even fragile cultural stratifications, capable however of feeding enthusiasms, perhaps ephemeral, which nevertheless develop deep and irresistible energies. So it was in that spring of 1915, when WWI seemed to be coming to an end due to the Anglo-French landing at the Dardanelles. A tragic illusion which ended into a bloodbath and just when the goal was at hand, without the commanders being aware of it.2 Thus the clash moved to the opposite side of the Mediterranean, and deeper into the mass of the European continent. So the myth of the “holy city” of Trieste was born (see also: Bettiza 1966), strongly contended between Italians and Austro-Germans apparently, but in reality between Italians and the Slavic subjects of the Habsburg crown.

Trieste: At the Heart of Borders Trieste a “magnificent prey”, always placed on the periphery of different worlds that confronted each other over the millennia—Etruscan and Roman worlds, then the Roman, Illyrian and Barbarians clashes, as well as the Byzantine, German, Venetian,Turkish, and Italian, Austrian, and Italian and Slavic3 powers, all fighting at what has been called “the eastern gate of Italy". A rivalry that had at stake control of the coastline with it’s land-sea commercial interface. Such struggles take on ideological connotations from time to time: Latin civilization versus barbarism, Christianity versus Islam, Italian irredentism versus the awakening of “peoples without history”, to end with the clash between the “free” (and capitalist) world and the Eastern (communist) block, with the Iron Curtain stretching from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic. How this enduring dialectic can be expressed in the living 1 The

irreconcilable reasons of the economy with the national aspirations of the population, well known to the rulers of the Kingdom of Italy, had been clearly highlighted to the Italian intellectuals by A. Vivante (1912). 2 In fact, a British unit had managed to cross the Turkish defence lines but withdrew before realizing it. 3 Germans and part of the Slavs found a renewed, ephemeral unity of intent against the Italians between 1943 and 1945 inside the Adriatisches Kuestenland, the area of operations of the German army at the eastern borders of Italy.

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body of a city of immigrants (Defend 2006), called to work together, is something that always arouses a certain astonishment. Like a pioneer plant that grows on the shoreline, since having been given the status of free port (1719) Trieste rapidly pushed its demographic and economic roots in depther along the entire arc of the territories that expand, from east to west, behind the northern Adriatic coastline, without belonging to any of them. What is most important, it was (and still is) located in an area where the borders of the three great European families meet: Italian, Germanic and Slavic (Valussi 1972). They are all frontiers in the full sense of Turner’s vision (Turner 1921), i.e. advancing fronts, often conflicting, from which come both cultural and economic references. In this context Trieste was inserted in a peculiar reality. A city of immigrants grown at an extreemely accelerated pace dictated by the phases of economic development, and so becoming the “most American of the European cities". As such, while retaining a predominantly Italian character (among other things it was the heir of Venice), it had a multi-ethnic population.

A Culture Received, Built and Distributed An active seaport, which in the second half of thenineteenth century became one of the most important in the Mediterranean, Trieste is also, of course, a destination frequented by travellers. Let us remember Johann J. Winckelmann, James Burton, James Joyce, Sigmund Freud, and a caravan that includes contemporary science fiction writers.4 Therefore, a place where one may reflect on the caducity of life and civilizations and at the same time on ones own life, immersed in an almost timeless reality, just as it happened to author Jan Morris (2001).5 The presence of important travellers indeed promoted and still does, the birth of an intellectual liveliness that is expressed in significant artistic production, both in literature and in the figurative arts. But we must not forget the scientific culture, that makes Trieste an incubator for innovation, especially in the technological sector. In the 1830s Josef Ressel (Battisti 1994) first experimented with the propeller in the Gulf and with Gaspare Tonello the Venetian tradition of shipbuilding combined with German and English technologies. Tonello’s San Marco shipyard6 would be the nucleus from which the Reunited Yards of the Adriatic (CRDA) were born. The yards of Trieste have become today “Italcantieri”, a multinational that not only monopolyzes the world market of great cruising ships but is also building, on the 4 F.

i., Trieste appears in The Riverworld saga, by Philip José Farmer.

5 See: Richard Phillips. 2011 Decolonizing Travel: James/Jan Morris’s Geographies in Postcolonial

Travel Writing: Critical Explorations. Editors Justin D Edwards and Rune Graulund. Pages pp 85–103. Springer. Jan Morris. 2001 Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere. Simon and Schuster. 6 The best shipyard in Italy, it was closed in 1966 on the basis of a restructuring plan for the sector. The city hosts now the Fincantieri headquarters, while in Monfalcone, to the other end of the gulf, rises the greatest yard of Italy.


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eastern shores of the Atlantic, naval vessels for the U.S. Navy. On the services side, suffice it to mention the insurance industry, which had a great flowering, and is now represented worldwide by the “Assicurazioni Generali”. The attitude to look to the future is not foreign to the organization of the International Science Fiction Film Festival (Battisti 1986). It was the time of the great expansion of the University, from which many international research centers were to be born—Astronomical Observatory, International Center for Theoretical Physics, SISSA International School, UNIDO Center for biotechnologies, Synchrotron Light Machine, Scientific and Technologic Research Area. Today the density of research workers puts Trieste in first place in Italy, which makes it a real “city of science”. A city with a thousand futures but also a thousand pasts and sites of memory, if we consider the cultural heritage of the ethnic groups that make up its complex mosaic. This is evidenced by the numerous cult buildings scattered throughout the urban fabric, a sign of welcome towards foreign entrepreneurs by the Austrian Enlightenment. Basically agnostic, this movement has actually grafted traits of Jewish and Protestant culture onto the local Catholic substratum, typical of the Istro-Venetian populations. The Habsburg Empire was traditionally linked to the Catholic Church, with its ancient roots in regional geopolitics. Until the eighteenth century the hill of St. Justus was a nursery of holy places, a total of about 25 churches and chapels, sometimes included in buildings like seminaries and gate towers. Almost all of them disappeared due to war destruction and secularization. The relationship between the throne and the altar was to be be broken with the passage to the Italian secular administration after WWI, and worsened under fascism led by Il Duce, Mussolini, 1922–43.7

A City Where Opposites Meet In the urban fabric, nowadays it is possible to meet, cast in bronze, very different figures like Irish novelist James Joyce who still “strolls” on the bridge that crosses the old port willed by Emperess Maria Theresa and the one depicting the Italian writer and nationalist hero D’Annunzio sitting, absorbed in reading, in front of the former stock exchange. In addition to being a great writer, the latter was the protagonist of the enterprise of Fiume (now Rijeka in Croatia), that between the end of 1918 and the beginning of 1919 he transformed into an ephemeral city-state in the attempt to have it annexed to the kingdom of Italy.8 7 The

hostility would culminate in 1936, with the forced departure of the archbishop Luigi Fogar (Ferrari, 1997). 8 The problem of Fiume/Rijeka, disputed between Italy and Yugoslavia, like that of Danzig/Gdansk between Germany and Poland, anticipated the much longer and more serious issue of Trieste at the end of the Second World War. The Free State of Fiume was an independent free state that existed between 1920 and 1924. Its territory of 28 km2 comprised the city of Fiume (now in Croatia and known as Rijeka) and rural areas to its north, with a corridor to its west connecting it to Italy.

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These statuary presences, reproduced in life size for the joy of tourists, evoke continuous suggestions to both the geographer, historian and architect. It is the result of the mutual influences of the port and the city, in a dialectics that evolves in the progressive comparison with the natural characteristics of the site. But nothing like these two figures represents the passage that Trieste experienced during the Great War, the former expressing an international intellectual culture that knows no limitations of space, the latter the creator of dramatic scenarios, characterized by irrepressible passions, divisions and struggles.Two characters so different, yet they both belong not only to the history but also to the memory soul of Trieste. What characterizes Trieste is a frontier identity (Ara and Magris 1982), which means both openings and closures—imposed mostly from the outside—following the great events of history like WWI. A reality that partakes of several worlds, each living “different times”, as Braudel teaches and whose overlapping makes even the dimensions of reality uncertain.9 But there are many other suggestions the centenary of the “Great War” offers in a city that today is eagerly competing to become an important hub along the “new silk road” of Chinese geopolitics.

Memory in the Stones To understand what WWI has meant for Trieste and the Adriatic lands, the most effective way is to walk upthe Hill of San Giusto, where the first human settlement was installed, dating back to the Iron Age.10 Along its less steep climb one can see its slopes, once densely covered with buildings, now that looks like soft meadows shaded by pine trees. From this wavy green sea emerges, similar to the crests of the waves, an expanse of white karstic stones, an alien presence on a marno-sandy hill. On each of them, is written a name, a date, a place—those who died in the war. Every inscription testifies to the sacrifice of a life: they are the memory of the fallen (some of the many) from these lands, who died in the first and second world wars, in reality two phases of a single huge (and useless) massacre.11 Eroded and pierced by time, they evoke the image of the bones of the fallen scattered on the battlefields, red with spilled blood; and all the wrecks of the many ships sunk in the seas on which the sons of this land have sailed for the last time at the service of the Italian homeland. It is a really evocative park of remembrance. This carpet of memories slowly rises up to the acropolis, where next to each other there lie the testimonies of three great historical epochs: the remains of the Roman basilica (first century a.C.) in the centre, on the one side the imposing mass of the Austro-Venetian castle (twelfth-seventeenth centuries), symbol of Austrian power 9 Encyclopedia

Britannica. Fernand Braudel: French historian and educator. Written By: Carole K. Fink. 10 It was the so called civilisation of "castellieri", X-VIII centuries B.C. (Burton, 1877). 11 “Senseless slaughter”, so the pope Benedict XV expressed himself in a letter to the leaders of the belligerent nations sent on 1 August, 1917.


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(1382–1918), on the other the esplanade connecting the cathedral to the monument to the fallen of the Great War, a work of art by the Trieste sculptor Attilio Selva. The castle evokes the struggle between Vienna and Venice, which in the Middle Ages divided the local community between the Venetian and Austrian parties. At the base of the clash, the different conceptions of the economic future, later dressed in ideological clothes. The Roman ruins, hidden for centuries under the embankment that bound the castle walls, were restored by the patient work of archaeologists in the 1930s, in the context of public works promoted by the fascist regime as a response to mass unemployment in the Great Depression. The historical continuity with Roman civilization, claimed by the ideology of the time, is visually recalled by the parallel arrangement of the area celebrating the victorious war. When you reach the cathedral, the testimonies there do not present this clear division, that is resulting from an architectural arrangement planned at the table. Instead, there is a mixture of structures belonging to different eras, so characteristic in the Mediterranean world. The squat and low bell tower rises on the remains of the temple to the Capitoline triad, mostly still hidden underground. In the Austrian period the basilica, dedicated to the saint patron, the martyr Saint Justus, presented itself as a baroque church. The philological restoration of the 1930s, carried out along the lines imposed throughout Italy, later become common practice in the work of restorers, has brought to light the testimonies of the complex history of this sacred building. In the present configuration, dating back to the fourteenth century, one may read the fusion, that happened in the time, of three churches, consolidated in a single building between 1302 and 1320. But in the apse we can find a modernist mosaic, above which an inscription celebrates the city’s annexation to Italy. In the ‘additions’ of the interwar years during the refurbishments, the trained eye can see the input of fascist ideological art.

A City of All and None In fact, the cathedrale is the memory of only one part of the city, the one that feels Italian. In a multi-ethnic community (Luzzatto-Fegiz 1929), this is necessarily a partial aspect of reality, which can only be accepted at the price of repression. Even the “others”, the defeated ones, operated a repression: in the closing phases of the conflict they discovered themselves not as “Austrians”, but rather “Southern Slavs". As such they were eager to join the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which emerged from the ashes of the Habsburg lands. So the Slovenes in Trieste and in its wider region,12 together with the Croats living there, after fiercely fighting the Italian army discovered that they too could count themselves as winners and therefore aspire to the benefits that this would bring.

12 We intend to refer to what will become the Italian region of Venezia Giulia (Julian Venice), which

mainly included the former province of the Austrian Littoral (Benussi, 1903).

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In doing so they had been somewhat deceived by the policy of the Entente, which at a certain point decided to present itself as the sponsor of the freedom of peoples. But the picture was more complicated. There were also those who, without renouncing their ethnicity, refused to consider it the main element of self-identification. They were the “internationalists”, who drew on the experience of Russian revolution, so much more legitimate since Russia had been presented as the “great mother” of the Slavic peoples for at least a century. WWI gave Italy what were later known as the “redeemed lands” (Giannitrapani 1919), with all this entails in terms of minorities not willing to integrate into an Italian national project. This was complicated by the conflicting feelings, rooted at the base of the military victory, that Italy had carried out a qualitative leap in the hierarchy of the nations. In large part thanks to the industrial revolution fed by the production of war supplies, that enabled the country to reach some technological goals, for instance, in the field of aeronautics, the navy, and artillery. An ephemeral boom, destined to be deflated with the return to a more “normal” economy, which has to deal with the market realities. Much on the same basis, between the two world wars the industry of Trieste will experience further development, but it also ends up suffering the effects of the transition to globalisation. In a city that was state-of-the-art in Italy, deindustrialization will arrive earlier than in the rest of the country.13 WWI witnessed bloody battles in the vicinity of Trieste. As a result of the draft and deportation of Italians the population was halved. The blockade of supplies brought great hunger to a city where all goods used to abound. Beside the port piers is a large ornamental square—today dedicated to the unity of Italy, open to the sea. During WWI, children went to look at the spectacle offered by the Italian artillery, placed in Monfalcone, that fired beyond the horizon to strike the ships anchored in the bay of Muggia. From the plateau the wounded descended to the great city hospital. Scenes of life at that time in the war, have been passed down by witnesses to their children and grandchildren.14 Less visible, but not of little importance, the division in the population among those bound to die: for the emperor, those (mostly Slovenians) enlisted in the 97th regiment, and for the King of Italy, the hundreds of Italian volunteers who were able to cross the border. The myth of Trieste as a “holy city” for different peoples, was consolidated in the trenches of WWI (see Bettiza 1966).

The geographer’s Eye When properly educated, the geographer’s eye can grasp the seemingly insignificant details that reveal essential information about the characteristics of a territory, a 13 On

the attempts to respond to these changes, see Battisti (1979). literature on war is, here as elsewhere, immense. The events on the part of the Empire are admirably summarized in Weber (1959). For the Italian side, among the newest essays, see Raffaelli (2015). 14 The


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landscape, or a settlement. In front of an urban landscape the scholar examines the “human madrepore”, as P. Geddes (1915) called it. A bird’s eye view highlights how Trieste for its genesis belongs to the multiple nuclei typology (Harris and Ullman 1945). To remain in the city of the Great War, there is the historic city clinging to the hill of San Giusto, the city of Maria Theresa (formerly chamber district, built on the salt marshes), with its port facility that recalls the harbour basins of the North Sea, the quarter built under Joseph II, stretched out on the coastline, and the inland expansions of the late nineteenth century. Later on, there will be the urbanization of the agricultural areas from which came for centuries the food for the city. At first will be sacrified the terraces dug in the Marno-coversandy, then, after WWII, there will be the expansions on the limestone that constitutes the plateau. To recognize nowadays the city of 1914–18 is not immediate: from 1945 to 1985 only, the urbanized area increased by 250 percent. If it has destroyed the reasons for its wealth, Italy has surely brought to Trieste a marked improvement in living conditions. Before the war the primary objective was to make money, culture was something that was advancing with difficulty. As often happens in the phases of accelerated development, when the city is rich its population is mostly very poor. In the Trieste of the early twentieth century, cholera claimed more victims than in Naples.With Italy came the university, a dream that under the Austrian banner remained such for a long time, because it was too tied to the demands of irredentism. But one of the main contributions of the mother country was beauty. Modern Trieste was born with neoclassical architecture and the apogee of its development took place under the banner of the Liberty style. Now, the great public works of the 1930s—the demolition of the old city meant the rediscovery of the Roman vestiges, like the theatre, in the frame of the redevelopment of the hill of San Giusto—gave back to the city a neglected part of its history. This somehow created a new identity, the return to its roots planted in the history of Italy. Trieste was reborn to a new life, but it was somehow a different city. In Trieste, dictators were needed as everywhere for urban development, but in modern times the best results are achieved when they rediscover antiquities rather than propose new constructions as with the Oberdan Tower.15 In the interwar period, the planners only achieved in part their plans drawn up for the “fascistization” of the city: a monstruosity of a memorial that recalls the analogous plans for the great Berlin16 promoted by Hitler.

15 Guglielmo Oberdan was a patriot from Trieste who was hanged in 1882 for trying to kill the Emperor Franz Joseph. He was the model that inspired the volunteers of Trieste and the rest of the Littoral when they deserted the Habsburg army to join the Italian one in the Great War. 16 These architectural projects are reported in Godoli (1984).

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The Unstoppable Force of Progress We have said that the arrival of Italy represented the end of the great port era. This is true only in part of the story. WWI pushed Trieste close to the limits of its development. This included the loss of the monopoly on maritime transport, which was a precondition for the port economy. After half a century since its passage to the Kingdom of Italy, Venice had again harbour structures suited to the times. On the other side of the Adriatic, Fiume had in turn become the maritime port of the Kingdom of Hungary,17 which with the Ausgleich of 1867 had obtained a free hand in the economy.18 The war would paralyze the activities of both ports and with the dissolution of the dual Habsburg monarchy the economic organization of the Central European hinterland that had made its fortune would disappear. Trieste would then be forced to face the challenge of becoming a national port at the service of an international hinterland, which at the time was a contradiction in terms. Even if the Empire had continued to exist, in addition to the competition in the Adriatic that arose again for the first time from the fall of Venice (1789),19 there remains to be considered the exhaustion of a fundamental factor of economic development, that is to say— construction areas. For this reason it was decided to close the San Marco shipyard, hijacking its development in the Monfalcone area, which lies in the Gulf of Trieste but now is part of the province of Gorizia. It suffices moreover to look at the evolution of Genoa, the main port of Italy,20 in order to realize the impassable limits to the expansion of a city when it has been built in a small site restricted by the coastal relief.

The Irreplaceable Role of the Empire A city of sea and traffic, open to all races and variations of Christianity, Trieste finds moments of apparent unity in its ideological expressions. The German element, excellently integrated in the urban environment, will have no difficulty in redifining itself Italian within a community that had not been able to Germanize, if only for their meagre numbers. This will not be the case for the Slovenes, of rural descent and belonging to humble and subjective social classes. For them the city is both a promise of social advancement and the place of an Italian/German/Hebrew community, which

17 In

addition to representing the sea outlet for the puszta grain exports, it managed to attract the rich market of emigration in the United States. 18 The Habsburg territories were then divided between the Empire of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary, actually another empire, not recognized as such because the Hungarian nobility wanted to better control the different Slavic ethnic groups. 19 For a comparison with the conditions of Venice in the previous decades, see Zorzi (1985). 20 Which has not experienced the effects of a new border.


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they perceive as hostile. It is widely known that the greater the economic and cultural distance, the more difficult is the integration within a homogeneous community. With the end of WWI, which occurred when the Habsburg order collapsed (Fejto 2009), the multiple identification of people that is characteristic of empires also disappeared.21 In the old context each one used to feel part of the “little homeland” he was living in and from which he drew the characteristic elements, and at the same time, of the wider horizon of peoples gathered under a single crown. The latter guaranteed peaceful coexistence between different peoples, often conflicting and therefore potentially rivals. It also guaranteed the pursuit of geopolitical objectives that translate onto the planes of law and geographically wider economic projects, which require a collective effort and coordination in time and space. This vision reminds us of today’s European Union, but it is only an appearance. The Union, as such, represents the negation of the imperial construction, that is based on “small homelands” and the loyalty to a dynastyc power. There is not only a jump in scales: the fundamental difference is the philosophy of government. The Union is presented as a supranational structure that brings together realities considered “national”, which in reality are the union of “small countries” each of which has its own distinct nationality. The “Europe of regions”, which at times is evoked within the institutions in Bruxelles, is a fabric of small nations whose release would lead to the collapse of the present Union. This is a prospect that all political leaders fear, and that is why today no one is supporting the Catalans secede from the Spanish state.

Between Cosmopolitanism and Municipalism One might ask what this has to do with Trieste. The fact is that until 191922 Trieste had the juridical status of “immediate city” of the Austrian Empire, that is to say, the city and its territory constituted a separate state entity, like the portcities of northern Germany—Hamburg, Bremen, Luebeck. Thus a “state” in itself, whose autonomies were limited by the authority of the imperial governor, who balanced its interests with those of the empire.23 This regime ceased with Triestes entry into the Kingdom of Italy, where it became a provincial capital like all the others, losing both its selfgovernment and economic privileges once guaranteed at European level. Hence there is a tendency to claim the lost autonomy, which resurfaces at times when the political balance is in crisis (Battisti 1983). 21 The ethnic question has been addressed by scholars from different countries, clearly in support of different solutions. The Italian position, still scientifically fairly balanced, can be read in Schiffrer (1990). 22 Prior to the enforcing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, signed on September 10, 1919. 23 There is a strong parallel with Fiume (Stadt Fiume mit Gebiet), declared in 1867 a Corpus Separatum from the Kingdom of Hungary for the simple reason that it was inhabited by a majority of Italians, a minority of Croats and a very limited population of Hungarians and Germans. This is the origin of D’Annunzio’s Regency of Carnaro, then transformed into the Free State of Fiume (Treaty of Rapallo, 1920), annexed to Italy in 1924 with the Treaty of Rome.

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The solution adopted for Fiume and Danzig (Gdansk) in the aftermath of the Great War will be repeated for Trieste in 1945. The “Free Territory of Trieste” will be born as a temporary solution to last until 1954, when the great powers agree on the arrangement of the whole Mitteleuropa, for which the city represented a strategic maritime port of call. Just as in Fiume, in Trieste too the municipal sentiment that opposed the Austrian government included an autonomous component, whose dream was and still is independence from both Italy and Yugoslavia (now from Slovenia). In some local environments there is still the widespread belief that such kind of solution, accompanied by a regime of free port would provide the preconditions for a revival of the harbour traffic. Nowadays, two tiny parties advocate an extemporaneous juridical interpretation according to which neither the city nor its province belong to the Italian state as the Free Territory, they maintain, that is still alive, albeit “temporarily” frozen.24 We are in the presence of a classic example of flight from reality, because neither international law nor the current organization of trafficking can seriously support this thesis. Whether we like it or not, the modern world ports can thrive only thanks to a large state that holds political control. That there are no spaces to dream has been demonstrated by the story of the “List for Trieste”, a political movement that coagulated the protest of the city against the signing of the Osimo Agreements.25 In 1976 an unprecedented confluence of personalities from all parties obtained a majority of the votes, took over the municipal government and elected a qualified representative to the European Parliament.26 But Europe, still linked to the problems of the “Cold War”, did not question an international agreement that foreshadowed the prospects of a new conflict on the continent and offered no support to the “rebirth” of the port. Running from Stettin in the Baltic southwards, Trieste remained the southern outpost of the “Iron Curtain” dividing the West from the communist East. These complex events further make us understand how the consequences of the Great War are still alive within the community of Trieste. In the last years it did not devote to the centenary the attention one would expect from a city that the immense sacrifice of blood, its acquisition had cost (over 650,000 casualties) and made it “dear to the heart of all Italians". Time erases everything, but the embers lit by this conflagration are still present under the ash and historical experience tells us that it might trigger further upheavals. Human history is not a rational path, unfortunately.

24 For

an in-depth analysis of the legal aspects of the issue, see Udina (1979). was the definitive closure of border disputes with Yugoslavia, which Italy was forced to accept in order to prevent that a future dissolution of this state (as in fact happened) could provoke a Soviet intervention in an area formally covered by the NATO umbrella. 26 From the technical point of view, the emergence of this movement represented an experiment that was copied in 1994 by Silvio Berlusconi with the foundation of “Forza Italia". The List disrupted the political life of Trieste for 30 years, from 1976 to 2006. 25 This


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References Ara A, Magris C (1982) Trieste. Un’identità di frontiera (Trieste. An identity on the border). Torino, Einaudi Battisti G (1979) Una regione per Trieste. Studio di geografia politica ed economica (A region for Trieste. Study of political and economic geography). Istituto di Geografia, Facoltà di Economia e Commercio, Università di Trieste Battisti G (1983) Cosmopolitismo e municipalismo quali fattori di identificazione della comunità triestina (Cosmopolitanism and municipalism as factors for identifying the community of Trieste). Atti XXIII Congr. Geogr. Ital. (Catania, 9–13 maggio 1983), A.Ge.I./Istituto di Geografia, Facoltà di Lettere e filosofia, Università di Catania, pp 269–278 Battisti G (1986) 1963–1982: la città dei mille futuri (The city of thousand futures), Quaderni. Centro studi economico-politici “Ezio Vanoni”, Trieste, N.S, n. 5.6, pp 18–22 Battisti G (1994) Ressel e il suo tempo (Ressel and his time), Alle soglie della rivoluzione tecnologica—Atti del Convegno per il bicentenario di J. Ressel, a cura di V. Staccioli, Trieste, Ed. La Mongolfiera, pp 23–34 Battisti G (2000) La géopolitique de l’Adriatique, un résumé historique. In: Sanguin A-L (ed) Mare Nostrum, dynamiques et mutations géopolitiques de la Méditerranée. L’Harmattan, Paris, pp 265–274 Benussi B (1903) Manuale di geografia storia e statistica della regione Giulia (Litorale) ossia delal città immediata di Trieste, della contea principesca di Gorizia e Gradisca e del margraviato d’Istria (Manual of geography history and statistics of the Julian region (Littoral) that is the immediate city of Trieste, the princely county of Gorizia and the Marquisate of Istria). Tiografia Gaetano Coana, Parenzo Bettiza E (1966) Mito e realtà di Trieste (Myth and reality of Trieste). All’insegna del pesce d’oro, Milano Burton RF (1877) Note sopra i castellieri o rovine preistoriche della peninsula istriana, del capitano R. F. Burton (Notes above the prehistoric castles or ruins of the Istrian peninsula, by Captain R. F. Burton). Capodistria, stab. tipografico B. Appolonio Ciuffoletti Z, Battisti G, Favroud Ch (2002) Les Habsbourg 1848–1916. Moments d’une dynastie. Alinari Idea, Firenze Defend C (2006) Per una geografia dell’immigrazione a Trieste. L’analisi di Luzzatto Fegiz (1929) a confronto con l’oggi (For a geography of immigration in Trieste. The analysis of Luzzatto Fegiz (1929) compared with today). Università degli Studi di Trieste, a. a. 2005–2006 (unpublished degree thesis, advisor: G. Battisti) Ferrari L (1997) FOGAR Luigi. In: Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 48. Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, Roma Fejto F (2009) A Requiem for a Defunct Empire: A Dialogue between François Fejto and Jacques Rupnik. Esprit 358:18–30 Geddes P (1915) Cities in evolution: an introduction to the town planning movement and to the study of civics. HardPress Publishing (2012), Lennox Giannitrapani L (1919) Le terre redente. Venezia Tridentina, Venezia Giulia, Dalmazia. Descrizione geografica, notizie etnografiche, economiche e statistiche (Redeemed lands. Venice, Julian Venice, Dalmatia. Geographical description, ethnographic, economic and statistical information). Bemporad and Figli, Firenze Godoli E (1984) Trieste. Bari, Laterza Harris CD, Ullman EL (1945) The nature of cities. Annals, Acad Polit Soc Sci 242(1):7–17 Luzzatto-Fegiz P (1929) La popolazione di Trieste (1975–1928), (The population of Trieste (1875– 1928). Istituto Statistico-Economico, R. Università degli Studi Economici e Commerciali, Trieste Morris J (2002) Trieste and the meaning of nowhere. Capo Press, Boston Raffaelli E (2017) 24 maggio 1915. Quando l’Italia entrò nella grande guerra (May 24, 1915. When Italy entered the great war). Editoriale Programma, Treviso

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Schiffrer C (1990) La questione etnica ai confini orientali d’Italia. Raccolta di scritti a cura di F. Verani (The ethnic question at the eastern borders of Italy. Collection of writings by F. Verani). Italo Svevo, Trieste Turner FJ (1921) The frontier in American history. Henry Holt and Co, New York Udina M (1979) Gli accordi di Osimo. Lineamenti introduttivi e testi annotati (The agreements of Osimo. Introductory features and annotated texts). Lint, Trieste Valussi G (1972) Il confine nordorientale d’Italia (The north-eastern border of Italy). Trieste, Lint Vivante A (1912) Irredentismo adriatico. Contributo alla discussione sui rapporti austro-italiani (Adriatic irredentism. Contribution to the debate on Austro-Italian relations). Libreria della Voce, Firenze Weber F (1959) Das Ende der alten Armee (The end of the old army). Das Bergland-Buch, Salzburg, Verl Zorzi A (1985) Venezia austriaca (1798–1866), (Austrian Venice). Bari, Laterza

Legacies and Ghosts in Landscapes and Mindscapes

The defeat of the Austria-Hungarian Empire in WWI marked the end of 700 years of Hapsburg rule in Hungary. The country witnessed revolutions, foreign interventions and territorial loss of about two-thirds its pre-WWI area, leaving some 10 million Hungarian-speaking minority groups in neighbouring countries (1918– 1920). The first republic, founded in 1918, was overturned in 1919 with the creation of a Hungarian Soviet Republic. Wars ensued with the newly created states of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia (1919). The Soviet Republic collapsed with the Romanian occupation. The Treaty of Trianon (1923) helped to abate conflicts but the beneficiaries were Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia rather than Hungary. From 1931 to 1945, Hungary experienced much political instability and was essentially controlled by right-wing governments. From 1938 onwards, Hungary attempted territorial ‘re-conquests’, implemented anti-Semitic policies and witnessed the rise of a Hungarian NAZI Party that gained the second highest number of votes in the 1939 general elections. Hungary aligned itself with Germany, Italy and Japan in WWII and was liberated by the USSR in 1945, becoming a Soviet satellite country that revolted in 1956 and suffered harsh repression, but remained within the Soviet bloc until 1990. Hungary joined the EU in 2003. Since 1998, Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz Party have headed government except for two short periods. His social and national conservatism and soft Euroscepticism have attracted much international attention as have Hungarian attitudes and policy towards migrants and asylum seekers on the Balkan trek towards Germany and Western Europe. In 2015, Hungary built a fence on its border with Serbia and Croatia during the migrant crisis aiming to prevent illegal immigrants from entering, but enabling entry through official checkpoints and claiming of asylum in accordance with international and European law. The number of illegal entries subsequently declined greatly as it effectively abolished access to asylum in Hungary.1 Many of the electorate in Hungary and neighbouring countries were supportive of this ‘decisive’ action in contrast to their perception of an EU lacking coherent policy and practice and being too ‘slow’ regarding the crisis. 1 Migrant

crisis: Hungary’s closed border leaves many stranded. BBC News. 15 September 2015.


Legacies and Ghosts in Landscapes and Mindscapes

During Orbán’s time in government since 2010, Hungary has experienced democratic backsliding, and has been accused of shifting towards authoritarianism.2 Due to Hungary’s location, number of neighbouring countries and historical role at the crossroads of Christian and Muslim civilizations, and more recent experience at a crossway between the West and Communist Bloc, there is a strong perception of ‘self-defence’ and dangers posed from the outside. As a place of memory, Liberty Square in Budapest illustrates the changing ideological perspectives. In the interwar years, several statues were placed in the square commemorating the territorial losses resulting from WWI. These statues were removed in 1945 and their fate is unknown. The absence of reference to WWI acts as a ghost in the ‘national’ narrative. Significantly, struggles emerged regarding the Memorial to the Victims of the German occupation—erected in 2014. A Counter Monument was established in front of the official monument—thus offering an alternative interpretation. Complex interrelationship and discourses between the monuments and their placing there exist as with the juxtaposition of the US President Ronald Reagan statue and the WWII Soviet Hero War Memorial. However, at a deeper level, Hungarian perspectives can be explored in the landscapes of Mohács and Kosovo that continue to evolve materially and in mindscapes regarding the legacies of Islam and Christianity and changing political landscapes. For many ordinary citizens in Europe over the past decade, the daily stream of images of violence, war and refugees on television and social media coming from the Middle East remained something terrible but far away. These human-made tragedies include those wars in Syria (2011–present) and Iraq (2003– on); Daesh’s (Islamic state) bloody geo-strategies aimed at creating a proto-state theocratic Caliphate (2014–2019); and attacks witnessed within Israel and also in the Palestinian Territories. Perceptions changed as of 2014 with the flow of images of refugees and asylum seekers streaming through the Balkans en route to the EU or arriving by sea in Malta, Italy and Spain. Similarly, Europeans and others not only experienced Jihadi terrorist attacks, but also the use of the Web as a weapon in psychological warfare and for propaganda and recruitment purposes, hence, the creation of an environment of fear—real and existential. Europeans were reminded of the physical geographical proximity of Europe and the MENA, despite the divergent cultural and political Hungary’s PM plans ‘more massive’ fence to keep out migrants. 26 August 2016 Euronews. Orbán and Salvini inspect Hungary’s border fence with Serbia. 2 May 2016. https:// 2 Stop spoiling Hungary’s prime minister: What to do when Viktor Orbán erodes democracy Economist. June 2017. ocracy Kelemen, R. Daniel (2017). “Europe’s Other Democratic Deficit: National Authoritarianism in Europe’s Democratic Union”. Government and Opposition. 52 (2): 211–238. 54315A5708C5161F7

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geographies. With the WWI centennials, citizens are reminded that states like Syria and Lebanon were created under the French mandate system with the demise of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, while the British mandate covered such territories as Iraq, Jordan and Palestine as planned in the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916). The Balfour Declaration (1917) was a statement of British support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” made by the British foreign secretary that would eventually have major repercussions in the region and internationally with the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948. Israel, like the Palestinian Territories, is replete with a large range of official and unofficial places of memory including ruins in the urban landscapes whether in Jerusalem, Haifa, Hebron or Gaza City.3 There are many places of memory ranging from private homes to community buildings and spaces associated with the 1948 Palestinian Nakba or exodus that occurred when over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs—about half of the pre-war Palestine Arab population—fled or were expelled from their homes, in the 1948 Palestine war. Areas that subsequently were taken under Israeli control following wars in 1956, 1967 and 1976 also hold multiple spaces of memory for Palestinians and Israelis. Included here is the Green Line, or (pre-) 1967 border or 1949 Armistice border, i.e. the demarcation line set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It served as the de facto border of the State of Israel from 1949 until the Six-Day War in 1967. After 1967, the territories captured by Israel beyond the Green Line came to be designated as East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula (the Peninsula was returned to Egypt as part of the 1979 peace treaty). Associated with the historic armistice Green Line is the more recent West Bank Wall whose construction started in 2000 during the Second Intifada; the separation barrier in the West Bank is defended by the Israeli authorities as necessary to stop the wave of violence and terrorism penetrating into Israel. The Palestinians call it an apartheid wall. With a length of 708 kilometres, the route traced by the barrier is over double the length of the Green Line, with 15% running along it or in Israel, and the remaining 85% cuts at times 18 kilometres deep into the West Bank, isolating about 9% of it, leaving an estimated 25,000 Palestinians isolated from the bulk of that territory.4 Along the Green Line is found the Mandelbaum Gate, a former checkpoint between the Israeli and Jordanian sectors of Jerusalem, just north of the western edge of the 3 Yifat

Gutman. Transcultural Memory in Conflict: Israeli-Palestinian Truth and Reconciliation. November 2011. Parallax 17(4):61-74. DOI: 10.1080/13534645.2011.605580. https://www.res Truth_and_Reconciliation/references 4 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Saving Lives: Israel’s anti-terrorist fence - Answers to Questions. January 2004. 20israel-s%20anti-terrorist%20fence%20-%20answ.aspx#1 See: Contrasting histories and truths Yad Vashem and Deir Yassin - Jeremy Gunn. Global Campus MOOC on Memory Sites and Human Rights. Dona J. Stewart, The Middle East Today: Political, Geographical and Cultural Perspectives, Routledge, 2013 p. 223.


Legacies and Ghosts in Landscapes and Mindscapes

Old City. The first checkpoint for the Jordan/Israel Mixed Armistice Commission at the Mandelbaum Gate, following the 1948 War, was eventually moved and the second checkpoint existed until the 1967 Six-Day War. The Gate became a symbol of the divided status of the city. From an explorative research perspective regarding the conservation of places of memory in the form of traumatic ruins, sites of conflict and memorialization are important in evaluating scapes. Ruins have functions, they materialize urban memories, conveying a social and political message. Decisions to keep the ruins or build something else for practical reasons can be explained by the political benefits. Conservation of ruins can act as a preventive tool, with scars reminiscent of a disaster or event to the population, a necessary step towards risk consciousness. This process can be called a proactive form of resilience. Should ruins be preserved as traces of history and a tool for remembrance and risk prevention, or should the trauma be erased in order to favor urban functionality, remains a challenge. Too often in its history, Bosnia has had to face the challenges of demolishing or preserving the ruins of war. Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) s capital Sarajevo is a multiethnic state that epitomizes the confluence of groups including Bosnians, Serbs and Croats, alongside Muslim and Christian cultures and the historical heritages of empires—Austria-Hungary and Turkish-Ottoman, and Yugoslav communism (1946–1992) and genocidal war that ended in 1996. The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. After being initially besieged by the Yugoslav People’s Army, Sarajevo was besieged by the Serbs, Army of Republika Srpska—5 April 1992–1929 February 1996 (1,425 days). Shelling of the city including the deliberate shelling of cultural icons left the international community aghast. After the war, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted four Serb officials for numerous counts of crimes against humanity committed during the siege, including terrorism.5 Since the late 1990s, Bosnia and Sarajevo have been trying to rebuild and reinvent literally and metaphorically its cultural and historical archaeology in a globalizing capitalist Europe. BiH and Serbia are candidate countries for EU membership. As with the independent states of the former Yugoslavia, Balkan countries, Ce tral and Eastern Europe created in the wake of the collapse of empires and WWI, the more recent communist experiences have very much overshadowed memory of the Great War. Before November 1918, the Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—not only experienced clashes between the belligerent empires, but also struggles between their own anti- and pro-communist groups, and the respective independence struggles that continued after 1918. Experimental research using cinematography explores Latvia and the story of urban living in Riga as projected through the imagined lenses of the Soviet perspective. The case studies from Hungary, Syria and Israel, and experimental research regarding traumatic ruins in Europe, architecture in Sarajevo BiH and cinematography and urbanism in Latvia illustrate vibrant approaches to place, memory and commemorations. 5 UN

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia: 1993–2017.

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Box: Latvia’s Narrative and the Riga Riflemen Monument There is a deep archaeology of intertwining strata between ‘local patriotic’ and ‘native or imported foreign’ communist strands in the Latvian landscape narratives. This comes to the fore especially with the collapse of the Russian and German empires due to WWI. Broadly, in 1919 three different provisional governments fought for control of Latvia: (i) Latvian nationalists, (ii) communities in Latvia of historical ethnic German origin alongside White Russian groups opposed to the Reds or Bolsheviks, and (iii) Soviets – of both home-grown Latvian, and Russian aspects. Research on WWI and related sites of memory remains a contested work in progress. Due to the Soviet dominated historical experience of Latvia that lasted until 1991, many ordinary citizens there may tend to subsume WWI into the larger historical heritage of the pre-1914 attempted ‘colonial’ Russification and post-1918 and post1940 Sovietization narratives. So in line with the policy of the USSR, WWI and the Latvian narratives were only presented, if at all, as a footnote referencing the prelude to WWII and the ‘liberation’ of Latvia into the USSR. Consequently, it could be argued that WWI commemorations in Latvia as in several other former communist states in Eastern and Central Europe were more subdued than in Western Europe. However, centennials regarding recognition of their sovereign independence immediately after WWI in the Baltic states are being promoted and celebrated. The Latvian story is especially reflected in the contested narratives concerning the Latvian Riflemen Monument located in Riga’s UNESCO World Heritage historic city Centre (Vecr¯ıga). It was erected in 1918, and named the ‘Red Latvian Riflemen’ but since 1991 it has been officially renamed ‘Monument to Latvian Riflemen’ and carved on the pedestal. Basically, the Monument is embedded in the shared memory of the collective ‘national’ experiences but with conflicting emphases. This is due to some Latvians considering it a Communist vestige while others see it as an homage to Latvians who fought in WWI. In essence, the red granite statue itself was originally dedicated to the Riflemen, a Latvian military formation in the Imperial Russian Army during WWI fighting against the invading Imperial German Army and the collaborating historic community of ethnic German landlord estate owners and urban merchant elites in Latvia. Large sections of the Latvian regiments transferred their loyalty to the Bolsheviks in 1917, thus creating opposing Red and White Latvian regiments. Today, the official narrative of the monument, has removed the word Red from the monument’s title on the plinth, and aims at being inclusive for all the riflemen whether White or Red in Latvian history. This is significant for the present generation of EU Latvian citizens including those of Russian ethnic origin, in reconciling historical shared experiences and places of memory. Latvia, like its neighbouring Baltic states is highly aware of the resurgent nationalism being fostered by the regime of President Vladimir Putin in Russia, alongside a certain nostalgia for the loss of its empire and super-power status. In regional perceptions, this is associated with the Kremlin’s geopolitics targeting ethnic Russians as epitomized in Ukraine with the ongoing cessenist low scale war and Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. In the collective memory it is understood that Riga was captured by the Soviet forces on January 3, 1919 and Lenin officially recognized the new Soviet Latvia.


Legacies and Ghosts in Landscapes and Mindscapes

However, the Allied Supreme War Council, including the UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Japan, recognized Latvia’s sovereign independence in 1921, and so followed the parliamentary era that witnessed chaotic governance. The 1934 coup d’état in Latvia was led by the existing PM against the parliamentary system and his regime lasted until the Russian Soviet occupation in 1940. This was followed by the Nazi German occupation (1941–1944) before being liberated by the Soviet Red Army and incorporation into the USSR (1944–90). In 1991 Latvia’s declaration of independence was reluctantly recognized by the Soviet Union, but supported internationally, with Latvia joining the EU in 2004. Sources “” Sergei Kruk (2009) Wars of Statues in Latvia: The History Told and Made by Public Sculpture. “https://” Revue belge de Philologie et d’Histoire. “https://” 87-3-4 pp. 705–721. rbph_0035-0818_2009_num_87_3_7700#:~:text=%E2%80%9C%20Monument% 20to%20the%20Red%20Latvian,is%20carved%20on%20the%20pedestal. J. Skolis (1972) Latvian Red Riflemen Memorial Museum, Riga, Museum International, 24:2, 120–121, DOI: “ 2217.x” 10.1111/j.1468-003.

Encounters Between Islam and Christianity: Mohács and Kosovo Polje Norbert Pap and Péter Reményi

Abstract The respective landscapes of Mohács and Kosovo continue to evolve materially and in mindscapes regarding Islam and Christianity. Here, research appraises past and current memory spaces in Hungary’s changing political landscape. Several nations living at the frontiers of Christendom and Europe fought bitter wars against the Ottomans (14th–19th centuries), continuing in shadow WWI battles and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. Such has played significant roles in identity formation and consequently attitudes to ‘foreign’ immigration and political discourses. In this context, broadly three categories of places of battle memory are found: (i) those with greater European association, with little local or national remembrance; (ii) those of great national importance with strong local or national memorial; and (iii) those characterized by much local memorial impact, but with great national and little international recognition. Keywords Mohács Kosovo · Islam · Christianity · Memorialization · Spaces of memory · WWI · Identity · Balkan/Yugoslav wars · Immigration

Introduction Ottoman Turks, who had already founded a state in Asia Minor in the 13th century, managed to establish themselves in Europe after conquering Gallipoli in 1354. Their empire grew rapidly, conquering much of the Balkans (14th–17th centuries) and continuing to consolidate power by taking advantage of conflicts between N. Pap (B) · P. Reményi Department of Political Geography, Regional and Development Studies, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary e-mail: [email protected] P. Reményi e-mail: [email protected] P. Reményi Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Pécs, Ifjúság u. 6, Pécs 7624, Hungary © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



N. Pap and P. Reményi

various Christian states. Murad I defeated the Serb forces, and Mehmed II occupied Constantinople in 1453. During his reign, Suleiman I deeply penetrated the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary and threatened Vienna with his forces. His successors managed to increase the extent of the empire, as well as stabilize the Ottoman regime in Central Europe. The empire reached its spatial zenith in the 17th century. In 1683, after the failed siege of Vienna, a Christian coalition was formed that successfully began to push the Ottoman Turks from the territory. However, this marked their downturn and the liberation wars against the Ottomans lasted up to WWI. These events greatly influenced the fate of Europe as well as the daily lives of south-eastern Europe and Mediterranean region. There are many national communities on the southern and eastern frontiers of Europe that experienced hard, long-lasting anti-Ottoman struggles during the 14th– 19th centuries. Battles played a prominent role in their identity formation, and memory of this has deeply embedded itself in culture that is still present in political discourses on fundamental issues. This historical period was characterized by the formation of national communities. Their first national heroes are the leaders of antiOttoman war efforts, the commanders, who heroically defended their fortresses. Widespread wars could not be fought alone, so nations sought to form extensive alliances to mobilize Europe’s resources for successful battles. The Catholic Church, with the papacy, played a particularly important role in the coordination. This resulted in struggles becoming a shared European experience contributing to the strengthening of the European (Christian) identity. Simultaneously, local communities sometimes fought alone against the Ottomans in the Aegean and Adriatic archipelago, on the larger islands of the Mediterranean, in the isolated mountainous areas of the Balkans, and in the forests of the Carpathian Basin divided by rivers and swamps. At times they surrendered when facing overwhelming odds, but as the Ottoman power started weakening, armed rebellions broke out more frequently. Outside the cities, in the mountains and on the islands, Ottoman rule was often symbolic. Thus, the fact that local communities sometimes fought for centuries resulted in the development of a strong regional identity.

Great Battles Against the Ottoman Empire: Impact on Identity Formation and Culture People in the occupied territories experienced conquest in various ways. Two main approaches in historical research describe relationships between the Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe: “civilizational conflicts” and “connected history.” The first emphasizes “civilizational conflicts” and this approach is the prevailing narrative in the Balkans and Central Europe. For Christian peoples, the experience of civilization and religious struggles is pronounced and includes present-day Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians, Croats, Montenegrins, and Macedonians.1 Of note is that the 1 Jelavich


Encounters Between Islam and Christianity …


Balkans were the last region to establish nation-states in Europe. The Ottoman Empire was the main obstacle to the emergence of national movements creating nation-states in many areas. For example, only in the 20th century did the Macedonian national community emerged from the struggles between the Bulgarian ethnic groups and Ottomans. Another example is the South-Slavic Muslims, who could not become one with neither the Orthodox Serbs nor the Catholic Croats, became of the Bosnian Muslim community in socialist Yugoslavia. Ethnic-cultural contact zones are inhabited by fragments of people where the national integration process is often not completed (e.g. Bunjevci).2 Another approach speaks of a “connected history” and emphasizes interaction of the two worlds.3 Some ethnic groups in the Balkans became Islamised as a result of the Ottoman conquest. Such ethnic groups were the ancestors of today’s Bosniaks, some Albanians, Torbes, Goranis and Roma people. Turkish-speaking minorities from Asia Minor also migrated to Europe, establishing the Turkish-speaking minority communities of present-day Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo and North-Macedonia. Tatar Muslims and Turks also live side-by-side. For these Muslim communities, the Ottoman era represents a controversial legacy. Owing to their connection to Islam, the Turks are considered to be a sister nation, but because of the national liberation wars their relationship is not without tension. As the nation-building process is not yet complete, the related national mythologies are based on negative stereotypes or they perpetuate hostile prejudices. Related emotions and political discourses are hot-button issues even today. In addition, conflicts are often (historically) multifaceted, so their memory content is complex and contradictory. By examining the most prominent sites of conflict, we can identify specific groups. The first group of battles are of European significance, part of the European collective memory. However, these conflicts often do not leave a sizeable imprint on collective memory on a local (national) level (Nikopol 1396; Constantinople 1453; Lepanto 1571; Nagyharsány 1687; etc.). What is common in these battles is that the Ottoman army collided with a predominantly coalitional, mainly western European army which the native people living there were unable to relate to. These fights for European/Imperial purposes were fought on their territory but they did not participate, yet they endured or were forced to accept the consequences. But this did not contribute to the development of community identity. The second group includes big, decisive battles with a strong national background. This category left a significant imprint on collective memory on a local, national and European level: Kosovo Polje 1389; Mohács 1526; Udbina 1493; Malta 1565; Szigetvár 1566; Vienna 1683 and so forth. In fact, these are remembered as the most important places in the struggle against the Ottomans, where the impact on collective memory occurs on the local, national and European levels. The third category consists of battles that had great impact on collective memory on a national level but had little influence on an international or European level: 2 Kitanics 3 Fodor

and Pap (2017). (2015).


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K˝oszeg 1532, Eger 1552. These struggles, which are the basis of mainly local and regional consciousness, have had an impact on national consciousness but have no European impact. Many of the regionally famous battles mentioned above became a lieu de memoire. As a result of the Christian communities’ resistance to the Islamic conquest, the Antemurale myth began i.e. a narrative which implies a certain nation’s mission of being a bulwark against the other religions, nations or ideologies. This can include a sense of superiority, and in many cases a feeling of abandonment or victimization became a part of their identity. In this chapter, a comparative analysis of two sites, Mohács and Kosovo Polje, is presented. Both cities belong to the second category described above. Mohács symbolizes largely the same sentiments for Hungarians as Kosovo Polje does for Serbs. At both places a commemorative atmosphere was created with memorial sites displaying different narratives. In both places, it was the victorious Ottomans who created victory memorials, and then in response Christian memorial sites were built. In both places the anniversaries, speeches and rituals associated with them are of national political significance. They evoke strong emotions, and in many cases have become instruments of political mobilization.

Mohács 1526—Memorial Landscape The small Hungarian town by the Danube, Mohács, is known primarily for the Battle of 1526.4 On August 29, the Ottoman army of 60,000 men, commanded by Suleiman I and Grand Vizier Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, reached the battlefield. King Louis II Jagiellon of Bohemia, King of Hungary and Croatia, as well an estimated 25,000– 27,000 strong Christian army led by Pál Tomori Archbishop of Kalocsa and György Szapolyai, confronted the Ottoman forces. The Christian army was also comprised of various other ethno-nationalities: Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, Germans, Croats, Serbs and Italians. Although the army fought bravely, it was defeated. According to the judgment of posterity, all this sealed the fate of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom. The king died while escaping from the battlefield. The ensuing civil war dismantled the remaining forces. The Ottomans occupied the middle third of the country and the remaining area was split into two: one went to the Habsburgs in the west and one to the Ottoman vassal state in the east. Miraculous elements5 appeared in the account of the king’s death and the finding of his body suggesting his sacralisation; he was eventually sanctified. Pál Tomori, an experienced soldier, Franciscan monk and archbishop of Kalocsa, was the real leader of the army and lost his life during the clashes. History portrays 4 Kápolnai (1889), Gergely (1926), Gyalókay (1926), Bende (1966), Szakály (1975), Perjés (1979),

Szabó (2006), Papp (1961), Bertók and Polgár (2011). king’s body was found by a search team in mid-October 1526. According to the report, the body was not decomposing.

5 The

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Tomori as a peculiar Hungarian politician, someone who decided to fight even with the certainty of an inevitable fall and eventually died a martyr’s death under heroic circumstances.6 After the battle, the Ottomans presented his decapitated head. The battle not only caused severe material and human losses to the Christian states of Central Europe, but it also seems to have left an indelible stamp on the identity of the Hungarian nation and on the locals of Mohács.7 The battle’s memory has been an integral part of the pursuant generations for nearly 500 years now; commentaries and opinions regarding the battle appeared soon after the clash and continue even today. At the place where the battle took the heaviest toll, it is estimated that 12–15 thousand Christian warriors were buried. A significant number in the Ottoman army were also buried locally. For the Ottomans, Mohács symbolized one of the greatest victories in their history, so they were also interested in memorializing the place and event. Christians visiting Mohács, as well as Turkish and Bosnian Muslims, came to see the site of the 1526 battle, and appreciated its landscape features accordingly. Additionally, the Mohács Plain bears the imprints of several military events and aspirations to which anthropogenic landscape elements are attached. Former belligerents (both winners and losers) shaped the environment in many ways when erecting their memorial buildings. Thus, the military activities of different eras and their memory were intertwined and partly influenced each other. Some of the battlefield’s symbolic content dates back to at least to Roman times. However, in the 16th and 17th centuries, there were several battles at this location and their tracks were layered on top of each other. In terms of military memory, a “hybrid” memory landscape with elements from various ages was formed.8 The means, methods, and locations of remembrance have changed many times over 500 years, highlighting different landscape features of the Mohács plane. Aspirations of the local community and central government have also influenced development of the cultural landscape. Over the centuries, many Christian monuments, chapels and other memorials have been erected commemorating the battle. In the place where, according to historical tradition, the king lost his life while fleeing, an 18th century memorial column was erected which has since been lost. North of Mohács, next to the military road leading to Buda, stands the Louis II monument. Soma Turcsányi, veteran of the Hungarian anti-Habsburg Revolution and War of Independence (1848–49), had it erected in 1856. The memorial is dedicated to the self-sacrifice of the victims who died for the homeland and is a strong reference to the failed War of Independence; at the same time it marks the national stand against Habsburg oppression (1848–67).9

6 “He

belongs to the type of great Hungarians (ie. Pál Tomori), who, in the words of Vörösmarty, were unable to avert the catastrophe but had the courage to die a beautiful death. His fate is similar to that of Lajos Batthyány and István Tisza.” Excerpt from Kuno Klebegsberg, Minister of Culture, during the 400-year commemoration of 1926. Hóvári (2019a). 7 Hasanovic-Kolutácz (2019). 8 Pap et al. (2018). 9 Hóvári (2019a, b).


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The Battlefield Memorial Chapel was built in 1816 at the initiative of the bishop of Pécs in what is today a public cemetery in Mohács.10 Bishop József Király ordered that on August 29 each year, a Mass of Remembrance and sermons be held in memory of the Christian soldiers who died in the battle, in all the languages of the multicultural city: Hungarian, German, and Croatian. This tradition, which began more than 200 years ago, is a yearly commemoration that has been practised in Hungarian history ever since. The chapel abounds with symbols: it was erected on August 29 in honour of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. The saint thus symbolized both the nation and the country that was left without a “head”, referring to the death of the king and the country’s leaders in battle. There are two paintings by Stephan Dorfmeister created in 1787 in the sanctuary. One depicts the Battle of Mohács (1526) and the other the Second Battle of Mohács (1687). The paintings were completed by the 100th anniversary of the Second Battle of Mohács. The first is the battle of great defeat; the second is the battle that led to the liberation of the region from Turkish rule. Thus, the chapel is a common memory of both (related) battles and the imprint of patriotism reflecting the merits of the Habsburgs in the fight against the Turks. Following WWI, Hungarian society experienced the severe trauma of losing twothirds of the territory and population of the Kingdom of Hungary as a result of the Trianon Peace Treaty (1920). During the 400-year commemoration of 1926, Hungarian politicians and intellectuals began to emphasize the Trianon = Mohács parable. They did so in the hope that, just as the 150-year-old Turkish/Muslim rule could be shaken, the consequences of the Trianon decision would be overcome. The foundation stone of the still unfinished Votive Memorial Church on the main square of Mohács was laid on the 400th anniversary of the battle. A bag of soil was sent from every Hungarian settlement, which was placed at the base of the church so that the building would also express national belonging. The construction was partly funded by national public contributions, but eventually it was dedicated in an unfinished condition on August 29, 1940. The Heroes’ Column, the planned 72-m-high tower of the temple, nor the bone chambers for the Battle of the Dead were built11 first, because of the war, and later due to the changed political situation; it was no longer possible to complete the plans as the country was under German and then Soviet occupation and the political and cultural structure had changed. The memory of the Battle of Mohács during the communist period was oppressed and tainted. Christian leaders of the battle were portrayed as weak, unfit individuals. The defeat was not explained by Ottoman superiority, but by the fact that by brutally crushing the Dózsa Rebellion in 1514, the nobility made it impossible for the country to defend itself with its armed peasantry.12 Thus, the Mohács catastrophe served to illustrate that the Hungarian nobility was irresponsible and unfit to lead the country and history would play a controversial role in the Marxist “class-warfare” ideology. At the same time, communist leaders also feared the rise of nationalist sentiment. In the early 1960s and mid-1970s, a total of five mass graves were discovered south of 10 Hasanovic-Kolutácz 11 Hóvári

(2019a). 12 Nemeskürty (1966).


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Mohács, containing the remains of around 1,000 Christian soldiers.13 The discoveries created an immense echo in Hungarian public life and boosted interest in excavating these graves. To commemorate the 450th anniversary, in 1976 the Mohács Historical Memorial Site was completed in Sátorhely. Representing local social sentiment, the local communist party and county council leadership confronted the national government which led to a memorial park, taking the form of a military cemetery by mobilizing local resources and large-scale volunteering. Due to the atheism of the communist regime, this military cemetery could not be adorned with religious symbols when it was established.14 However, after the change of regime, a cross was erected in 1991. During the Orbán government rule in 2011, a new visitor centre was built for the memorial site. By contrast, the visitor centre abounds with religious symbols including the Hungarian Holy Crown in stylized form. Mohács’s new re-evaluation began as the 500th anniversary approached. The Central European context of the battle and civilizational nature of the conflict in the Huntington-sense or clash of civilizations, plays an important part in the re-evaluation process.15 Thus, the interpretation of Mohács seems to return to an earlier narrative. This raises the question: Where does this idea from Mohács come from? Mohács’s memory became important to the Ottoman Turks also. It is considered to have been among the five greatest victories in their history. In addition, it is associated with the name of Suleiman I, Sultan of the Ottoman Golden Age, the “Mühtesem Yüzil”, who is considered to be the greatest Ottoman ruler today. He became more and more important in the 17th century during the depression that followed the golden age. His former successes also seemed brighter compared to the failures of the downturn. August 29th played an important role in the history of Suleiman’s reign. His army captured Belgrade from the Kingdom of Hungary on that summer day in 1521, and on the same day they defeated the army at Mohács. On August 29, 1541, Buda was also swallowed up by the Turks. This date became Suleiman’s lucky day, which he attributed great importance to during his campaigns. Not only the date became auspicious, but also the location of the Battle of Mohács; it carried important symbolic content and was hailed the “Field of Fortune". Suleiman always camped here during his campaigns in Hungary, and later the Hungarian King János Szapolyai paid homage to him here. Ottoman troops continued to camp in this area, which became an almost mandatory station and camp site during campaigns. During the reign of Murad IV, one of the 17th-century warrior sultans, a monument was erected in the “Field of Fortune” in 1631 to commemorate Suleiman the Magnificent and his victory in 1526.16 The Pasha of Buda, Hasan, was the contractor for the construction. A victory pavilion was erected alongside an important ritual 13 Papp

(1961), Maráz (1976).

14 However, upon careful examination of the memorial site, hidden references were uncovered. The

sculptors who contributed to the foundation of the memorial hid a number of stylized crosses in the park. 15 Huntington (1993). 16 Pap et al. (2018).


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wash well at the battle site, south of Mohács, by the military road on the edge of the Danube floodplain due to Islamic religious ablution regulations. The small artificial mound was created in Roman times when they built a small tower-like fort (burgus) here. The existence of the 150 years old fortification is evidenced by numerous finds in the area. In the 5th century, the Romans had abandoned the site and it was only used again by the Ottoman Turks when they built the Victory Monument. According to Ottoman history, during the battle Suleiman I watched from atop the small pile only 10 m above the plain and prayed for victory.17 Other sources mention that the dead Ottomans were buried in or near this place, so the site was increasingly seen as a Muslim military cemetery.18 Based on written sources, a religious foundation was established for its maintenance where Dervishes worked.19 It functioned as a place of pilgrimage and played an important role in mobilizing devout Muslims of the empire for the holy war (jihad). The Ottoman monument would only function until 1687. In 1684, the Habsburgled war broke out with the involvement of troops from a large European coalition. During the Second Battle of Mohács (August 12, 1687), when the Christian forces camped near Mohács with the Jesuit military chaplains, the pavilion was converted into a Christian chapel. This is how the Jihadist Ottoman Victory Monument became the first Christian monument in the Battle of Mohács which also served as a symbol of recapture. The history of the chapel can be traced back to 1769. It has since been destroyed for unknown reasons.20 A common feature of memorial facilities is their sacred nature, indicating that the confrontation was civilizational. Its civilizational stumbling block nature has been preserved in the ideology of both Hungarians and Christians, as well as in the Turkish and Muslim belief system. In the narrative of the memorial sites of the Battle of Mohács, the idea of a holy war originally came from the Muslim Turks. The Catholic Church, in the War of the Holy League (1684–1699), embraced the idea of the Holy War of Liberation, the Christian counterpart of the holy war of Islam. Thus, the memorial sites in Mohács inherited the legacy of the holy war, the jihad and crusade which all stemmed from ‘religious’ motives.

17 “As soon as the Blessed Padishah of Islam arrived at the high mound of Sultan’s Hill, he got off his horse, went to the top of the hill and sat on a throne. Before the millennium, my poor self, as naive as I as, had traveled through that area searching for hawks, and God knows that I had climbed that hill twice or thrice because I knew it would bring good luck since a padisah prayed to the sky at that sacred place. So it was very tall and it was a challenge to climb it. The late flag-bearer, Pasha Hassan, the Pasha of Buda, had a simple wood pavilion made on the hilltop and he had a well dug beside it. The hill barely stands out of the surrounding field now; from this we can clearly see that, time goes by and the world is forever changing” Fodor (2016). 18 Evliyâ Çelebi (2002). 19 Pap et al. (2018) 20 Pap et al. (2018).

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(Geo)Political Utilization of the Memorial Site of the Battle of Mohács Preparations for the 500th anniversary commemoration in 2026 are currently underway. Mohács is an almost perfect political symbol for Hungary’s sovereigntist government. It simultaneously expresses the anti-Muslim sentiment of Hungarians at this time of anti-migration campaigns, and serves as an exceptional anti-Westernism campaign against the EU. Political reflections on the events of Mohács appeared a few weeks after the battle. Without a king, civil war quickly broke out in the country. Some of the populus joined the Habsburg Party, while others supported John Szapolyai’s realm. Accordingly, the issue of responsibility for the loss of the battle was also seen and presented in a very different way. Two years later, one of the survivors of the battle, Chancellor István Brodarics, wrote his powerful and highly acclaimed report.21 He was a Szapolyai’s supporter. Many contemporary humanists have written evaluations of the Battle in support of the Habsburgs, depicting a depressing picture of incompetent leadership of the Hungarian army at Mohács.22 These evaluations were not free of serious bias. Writings in favour of the Habsburgs, or even of Szapolya, have become a major source of conspiracy theories on what happened over 500 years ago, in which they blamed the participants while at the same time victimizing the Hungarians. Some accused the Jagello House, the King himself and Hungarian nobility of incompetence. Of course, treason was also on the list of accusations, saying that János Szapolyai, Transylvania’s voivode (military commander), was deliberately late for the battle because he had coveted the crown for a long time. Another stated that his brother György was the king’s killer.23 Of course, the money-makers of the era (the Fuggers) as well as the Jews in general were also to be blamed. Religious arguments also appeared: Catholics blamed it on the spread of Protestantism, while Protestants attributed the loss of battle to the sins of Christianity and the papacy, regarding the loss as God’s punishment. Mohács was rediscovered in the 19th century along with other symbolic sites by the intellectuals of the Hungarian Reformed Age. Symbolic events and places were needed so that a national awakening and national political and spiritual frameworks could develop. Mohács was ideal for this very purpose. The strife against the Turks offered heroes and acts of heroism in great number. Eventually, the national movement of the 19th century partially failed during the 1848–49 War of Independence. Similarity between the Surrender at Világos (1849), the 13 Martyrs of Arad and Mohács was apparent.24 A series of works of art were born at that time and the fate of the Hungarian nation was allegorically represented through the figure of Louis II. This is why the monument of King Louis II was built 21 Brodarics

(1983). (2006). 23 Farkas et al. (2015). 24 Hóvári (2019a). 22 Giovio


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near the Csele Stream25 and this is how Mohács became a unit of measurement for the great Hungarian national tragedies. So which was the bigger tragedy? The failure of the Hungarian Revolution (1848) against the Habsburg dynasty or the Battle of Mohacs in which the army of Louis II was defeated? In one of the most famous paintings of the battle (Orlai Petrich Soma: Finding Louis II) the features of the king are reminiscent of Sándor Pet˝ofi,26 the famous Hungarian poet who died a heroic death at the Battle of Segesvár and who became the symbolic figure of the 1848 revolution. The next tragedy was Trianon, the 20th century graveyard of Hungarian national dreams. During the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy after WWI, the successor States did not take into account the public law frameworks of earlier centuries or the ethnographic map. Had the territorial division following Mohács been more severe for the divided country or was it the Trianon Peace Agreement (1920)? Mohács played a major role in the era during the 1926 commemorations. It was at this time that they initiated the construction of the Votive Church in Mohács main square and promised that elimination of the detrimental consequences of Trianon would not last as long as the Ottoman conquest.27 One of the most notable speeches at the 1926 commemorations came from28 Governor István Horthy.29 In his famous speech in Mohács, Horthy offered Yugoslavia cooperation. He emphasized that four hundred years earlier Hungarians and Serbs fought together against the OttomanTurkish conquest and hoped that “old friendship and understanding could return.” Previously, a Hungarian delegation was invited to the Kosovo Polje celebrations. Hungary was extremely isolated during this period. Out of the successor states of the former Austro-Hungarian empire, the Yugoslavians offered the best chance to 25 Hasanovic-Kolutácz


26 Sándor Pet˝ ofi (1823–1849) is a Hungarian poet, revolutionary, national hero, and iconic figure of

the March 15, 1848 revolution. He took part in the War of Independence from Habsburg rule and joined general Bem’s Transylvanian army. He was killed in the Battle of Segesvár fighting against the Russian-Austrian army (July 31, 1849). His body lies in a mass grave near Segesvár. 27 Hóvári (2019a). 28 In the peculiar public law situation between the two world wars, the form of state was a kingdom, but in the absence of a king the head of state was the governor, István Horthy. 29 One of Hungary’s great poets called the tragedy of Mohács four hundred years ago the great graveyard of our national grandeur. “Hungarians, died as martyrs together with their King, when they took up arms against their racial relatives in defense of Western culture. Long, hard times have passed until blood finally began to circulate in the country’s mutilated, limp body again and the nation was revived. Learning from the past, the late descendants could experience that even after such a great fall followed by desperate hopelessness there was resurrection. The former enemy became a good friend. The differences between the two ancestral races were smoothed out and replaced by friendship and mutual sympathy. But the good friend with whom we used to have common interest in joining forces to defend the southern ends has, unfortunately, cut ties with us on the account of profound disagreements. I hope and believe, that the old friendship and apprehension can return soon. Today, we also have a representative of the Turkish nation in our circle, and he has sympathy for us in these sad moments of remembrance. I bow my head to the memory of the king and hero warriors and lay down this wreath as a sign of my respect.” Horthy’s speech at the wreathing ceremony in front of the monument of King Louis II.

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normalize relations. Horthy chose commemorations in Mohács for his cooperation strategy, precisely because the occasion represented a good common denominator with Serbs with similar historical experiences. On the road to World War II, Hungary would make an attempt to revise the Treaty of Trianon which led to partial success: areas of present-day Slovakia, Ciscarpathia, Northern Transylvania, Bácska, the Baranya Triangle and Prekmurje were re-attached to Hungary. In return, Hungary joined Hitler’s Third Reich and stood by its side as one of its last allies. After the war, Hungary lost these territories again, and for a short period was under German control followed by a much longer Soviet occupation (1944–91). The memory question whether the Ottoman-Turkish or Soviet occupation had the most serious consequences arose again. Therefore, during the 450th anniversary in 1976, commemorations were restricted to a local level, and they did not even promote a commemorative year. The only speaker, representing the Patriotic People’s Front, condemned former Hungarian participants in the battle. He did not mention the Turks, those former enemies,30 or the participating soldiers of the allied nations.

Memorial Landscape: Kosovo Polje 1389 Similarly, to the Battle of Mohács for the Hungarians, the first Battle of Kosovo (June 28, 1389), entered Serbian historical memory during the collapse of the medieval Serb state. A Christian army was formed by warriors from several Central and Southeastern European states led by the Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovi´c. They clashed with the Ottoman army led by Murad I, north of today’s capital of Kosovo, Pristina. Little is known about the exact course of the battle, and number of opposing combatants is uncertain. Presumably, the Ottoman army was larger, with an estimate of 27,000–30,000 combatants while the outnumbered Christian army is estimated at 15,000–20,000.31 In the battle, both leaders lost their lives and most of their armies was destroyed, but eventually the Ottoman army triumphed. Due to the ruler’s death, the army had to return to the capital of the empire, thus failing to conquer and effectively subjugate Serbia. The death of the Sultan and hasty departure of the Ottoman army explains why some contemporaries regarded the events as a Christian victory.32 Despite fragmented documentary sources, a very extensive folk and religious narrative was created about events and aftermath of the battle. Prince Lazar, leader of the Serb army, became a saint who chose the heavenly kingdom over the earthly one, thus morally overpowering the victorious Turks; thus ensuring the survival of Serbs in the long run. One of his sub-leaders became a traitor who, seeing that there was no chance of victory, withdrew his troops. Miloš Obili´c, a simple Serbian warrior—whose mere existence is uncertain and who only appears in the battle texts 30 The

speaker was Gyula Ortutay, Secretary General of the Patriotic People’s Front. (1998), p. 64. 32 Malcolm (1998), p. 75. 31 Malcolm


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much later33 —according to legend, killed the Sultan and became a saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church in the 19th century. The Kosovo myth and other myths around the battle then became one of the most important pillars of Serbian identity over the centuries. The most significant components of their identity are the non-Christian enemy (civilizational conflict), selfsacrificing attitude that protects higher values (Christianity, civilization), voluntary defeat (victimization), and killing of the sultan, the biggest enemy. These elements will appear regularly in other battles of the same type. The geographic area that hosted the Battle of Kosovo is located in the central Balkans, in Kosovo, which only declared its independence in 2008. Tradition has it that the battle took place in the Kosovo field (Kosovo Polje) irrigated by the Lab and Sitnica rivers. Kosovo field is a narrow karst basin extending in the eastern half of the country, approximately north–south. It has a high population density and is home to important settlements, including Mitrovica and capital city, Pristina. The capital is the core of the country in a political, economic, demographic and symbolical sense. Similar to Mohács, there were numerous major battles along the Kosovo field besides the Battle of Kosovo of 1389, all of which contribute to the emergence of a multi-layered hybrid military landscape. The Second Battle of Kosovo (1448), in which a Hungarian-led Christian army was defeated by the Ottomans, is definitely worth mentioning. This has both Albanian and Serbian implications, as the ally of the Hungarian commander János Hunyadi was the Albanian Skanderbeg. Serb troops, committing a betrayal, prevented the two commanders from joining forces before the battle. In recent years, this battle seems to be gaining more focus in the Albaniandominated Kosovo because it may have a more important message to today’s majority society than the first Battle of Kosovo.34 There were other battles happening as well during WWI (1915) and WWII (1944); in addition, it was a prominent place for the independence struggles in Kosovo. However, only the events of 1389 and 1999–2000 have significant memorial values at present, also represented at the significant memorial sites. Due to the lack of extensive archaeological excavations and battlefield archaeology, the exact location of the first Battle of Kosovo (1389) is known only from folk tradition. According to historical belief, the places of remembrance are those where the great events (i.e., the death of Murad I, the burial of the Christian knights) took place. The two most important memorial sites today are the mausoleum (türbe) of Murad I in the village of Mazgit on the west side of the main road that runs through the north–south basin and the Gazimestan memorial located two kilometres from there on the eastern side. The two buildings are within sight of each other. Out of the memorial sites that still exist, the türbe was completed first. According to tradition, it is located where the internal organs of Sultan Murad I were buried. Historical tradition holds that the complex was built by Bayazid I, the son of the 33 Colovi´ ˇ c

(n.d.). e Dytë e Kosovës pati rëndësi të veçantë në historinë e Mesjetës”,, 2010 October 16. ine-e-mesjetes/. Accessed 27–08–2019. 34 “Beteja

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deceased Sultan. However, the Ottoman state did not gain control of the area until 1455, when Bayazid was no longer among the living. It is questionable whether, without territorial-political power, the Ottomans could have built a memorial to their deceased sultan in another state or not. However, it is listed in the Database of Cultural Heritage of Kosovo operated by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport as a 14th-century building—one of the earliest monuments of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans.35 During the last days of Ottoman Empire in Kosovo, the memorial received attention once more. The guest house was built in 1906 and in 1911 it was visited by Mehmed V Re¸sâd, who gave a speech to thousands of believers. Following the decline of the empire, the importance of the mausoleum was reduced and during the Socialist period it was neglected. However, with the rise of Turkish interests in the Balkans and due to the widespread use of neo-ottomanism and Turkish soft-power diplomacy, the tomb is gaining an increasing symbolic significance nowadays. With the contested independence of Kosovo (2008), a new era began for the tomb as well. In Kosovo, where the Turkish State is regarded as a friend, the formerly neglected memorial site is maintained and funded by a foundation of TIKA—the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, a government department of the Prime Ministry of Turkey that is responsible for organization of the bulk of Turkey’s official development assistance to developing countries, with a particular focus on Turkic countries and communities. The rebuilt memorial was officially opened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2010. Also located on the battlefield was the mausoleum of Mestan, the Sultan’s flagbearer, just 800 m from the Serbian memorial. The memorial site dates back to the 14th century36 (with similar doubts as that of Murad’s mausoleum) and is surrounded by Ottoman graves. The building has also recently been renovated with the support of Turkey, showing which memory policy narrative currently holds stronger positions in Kosovo. Unlike Turkish monuments, the Serbian monument was completed much later in 1953, during the era of Socialist Yugoslavia. In this respect, it shows some similarities with the Mohács National Memorial, as they were built in a similar era, the latter being in 1976. Both the Gazimestan and Mohács Memorial are the embodiment of the dominant narrative, so a new analogy can be drawn between them. They have more common features: they are both monumental memorial sites for state celebrations and both share the tradition of having been built at a place where graves surround them. At the same time, the Mohács memorial site is much more of a “military cemetery” with headstones, while the Gazimestan monument was built in honour of a battle and the deceased, radiating power and wanting to dominate the space with its height, reminiscent of a castle bastion. While Mohács suggests mortality and sorrow, Gazimestan highlights that the fight is not over, the validity of the “Kosovo vow”, and need to protect Kosovo (from the Serbian point of view). 35 Database of Cultural Heritage of Kosovo, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Republic of Kosovo, downloaded: 01–06–2018. 36 Database of Cultural Heritage of Kosovo.


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There used to be several smaller memorials in the space of the Kosovo battle, but over time they have all been destroyed—and not always by accident. Tradition has it that the first marble column was raised by Štefan Lazarevi´c at this place, but it was destroyed during Ottoman rule.37 If it ever existed at all, and was not just a metaphor. The next finished architectural structure was an obelisk built in 1924 which was blown up by the Albanians during WWII.38 Several other planned monuments were never finished. The late establishment of the Serbian memorial site can be explained by the question of political authority. Kosovo only came under Serbian administration in 1912–1913, so the Serbian state had little opportunity to establish a proper memorial site. As the first monuments are usually erected by the winners and new owners of the conquered territories, the immediate aftermath of the Kosovo battlefield is also “worthy” of the battle. We have no conclusive evidence from the time when the first Serbian and first Ottoman memorials were established, but in both cases tradition points to the fact that they were built by the sons of the deceased rulers (Sultan Bayazid I and despot Štefan Lazarevi´c). Thus, the identity of the winner in the politics of memory is uncertain. In Mohács, on the other hand, it was clearly the Ottomans who first marked the spaces of remembrance and identified the nature of remembrance, provoking a certain reaction: a sacred place requires sacred recapture. With the recent change of power in Kosovo, the fate of the Serbian memorial is changing again. It is obviously neglected, trashed and receives little attention. Although Serbian commemorations are still taking place on the anniversary of the battle, the decline of the Serbian population is reflected in the condition of the memorial site. The change in rule can also be linked to the need in the Albanian narrative to consider Albania as a Christian participant in the battle and even in the Albanian origin of some Serbian heroes (such as Obili´c). In addition to the “Albanisation” of battle-related narratives and neglect of Serbian memories, the Albanian elite is also trying to transform the memory of the landscape by bringing new narratives to the forefront. One way to do this is by highlighting the importance of the 1999–2000 war of independence and importance of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Another approach has been to establish and nurture remembrance of the Pan-Albanian Skanderbeg and related Second Battle of Kosovo (1448).

Changing Political Contexts: Kosovo Polje Battlefield The anniversary of the battle is linked to many 19th and 20th-century Serbian happenings. Events on this day include the Sarajevo Incident (1914), Vidovdan Constitution (1921), and expulsion of Yugoslavia from Cominform (1948). Perhaps the most iconic event was the day of Miloševi´c’s infamous speech (1989) which was interpreted as an omen of the wars that accompanied the dissolution of Yugoslavia 37 Šuica

(2011). (2016).

38 Vlaškovi´ c

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and more importantly of ethnic cleansing targeting Bosniaks and Albanians. In this speech, the general themes of the Battle of Kosovo appear: victimization, role of the protective bulwark of Christianity, and Serbian heroism.39 Then in 2001, Miloševi´c was extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague, again on the same day. Shortly after the defeat, the Serbian narrative appeared—primarily in religious and folk literature, portraying the battle as Serbian self-sacrifice and suggesting the failure of the Serbian state. However, at the same time, narratives of victimization, betrayal and heroism appear. In Serbian narrative, the battle is clearly an episode in the war between Christianity and Islam, with Serbs defending Christianity at Kosovo field. Self-sacrifice for the sake of the greater good, the sense of betrayal and great efforts of the Serbian people are all archetypes that are passed down from generation to generation in Serbian folk and religious literature. Various texts existed in several versions in Serbian, but did not gain political significance until the 19th century.40 The Battle of Kosovo and related stories became a political narrative in the 19th century, especially during the Serbian uprisings (1804–13, 1815–17), similar to the role that Mohács played in 19th century Hungarian struggles. Some scholars believe that with the rise of 19th-century romantic nationalism, there has been a significant shift in the Serbian narrative.41 Obili´c, and the Sultan’s murder came to the fore as an allegory of armed resistance, revenge and combat. Due to this shift in emphasis, Obili´c was only later ordained a saint in the 19th century. It thus became a perfect, mobilizing narrative for nation-building against the Ottoman Empire, one of the most important pillars of Serbian national identity, on which many literary works were built. Newer works, according to the social and national needs of the time, also use a more national tone and contribute to the cultural support for the social, political and military aspirations for the unification, seizure and recapture of Serbian territories. Anti-Turkism and anti-muslimism and need to unify Serbian lands are important elements of these works. In fact, this is where the Kosovo myth and vow are born which have been important elements of Serbian identity, patriotism and nationalism ever since the 19th century.42 Following the independence of Serbia (1878), the unification of Serbian lands, including Kosovo, became a political theatre. On the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo (1889), much of the region was still under Turkish rule, so the celebrations were held in Kruševac with the participation of the political elite of the Serbian state, church and army. One of the most important messages of the speeches was the unification of Serbian territories. During the 19th century Balkan wars, Kosovo came under Serbian rule, which was interpreted as a form of vengeance on the hemimillennial defeat. On the other hand, it enabled commemorations to take place at the original site of the battle. At the 1913 and 1914 commemorations, the speeches, in 39 Batakovi´ c

(2012). (2002). 41 Greenawalt (2001). 42 Greenawalt (2001), Colovi´ ˇ c (n.d.). 40 Bieber


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addition to welcoming the return of Kosovo, urged the liberation of further Serbian territories against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.43 The myth of the Battle of Kosovo had a hard time fitting into the ideological system of the socialist Yugoslavia. The mythological self-liberation fight of Yugoslav partisans had its own heroes and its own battles and their respective memorial sites were produced accordingly.44 A large socialist monument was erected in Landovice commemorating the story of Boro, a Serb, and Ramiz, a Kosovo Albanian: the SerbAlbanian Comradeship. The Battle of Kosovo became a local issue, and the Tito regime did not prohibit nor support it, even though the memorial was completed in 1953. The distancing behaviour of the socialist regime also holds a great similarity between Mohács and the Kosovo field. It is important to emphasize the disintegration of Yugoslavia as of 1989—the political conflicts in Serbia in the late 20th and early 21st centuries cannot be separated from Kosovo. This is where the crisis in the Yugoslav state began in the 1980s and the post-Yugoslav armed conflict only ended at the turn of the millennium.45 The dissatisfaction of Kosovo Serbs, who complained about the Albanisation of the territory and feared ethnic cleansing, played an important role in the radicalization of Serbian society. Use of the Kosovo myth provided a clear, well-known framework for this. Miloševi´c’s speech at the 600th anniversary, as well as several statements he made in the late 1980s, repeatedly referred back to the Kosovo battle turning it into a mobilizing force for the wars of the 1990s.46 On the anniversary of the battle, there are still significant commemorations at the Monastery of Graˇcanica near Pristina and Gazimestan Monument erected at the battle site, with discourses focused on current political issues. However, it is difficult for Serbian politicians to participate, as an approval by the Kosovo government is now required. One of the most important factors to date in Serbia’s international reputation is the Kosovo issue. Refusal to recognize the independence of the breakaway province and occasionally rekindled tensions and attempts to resolve them keep the issue of Kosovo both on the Serbian, EU and international agenda. However, due to the peculiar modern political geographic processes, the political messages of the Battle of Kosovo not only change over time, but with the change of control over the area. Serbs and Albanians now also have different outlooks on the battle. Much like on the Mohács plain, it was not just Serbs and Turks that faced each other in the battle in Kosovo. It is almost impossible to determine the national/ethnic composition of contemporary states and their subjects, and it is also more or less anachronistic. For this reason, its significance would only be secondary if the battle over Kosovo were not associated with so many debates and conflicts over the centuries. Furthermore, the battle and its most important place of remembrance was not in the territory of another state, so national identity has been impacted less. As a result, the Battle of Kosovo has developed a legitimizing and identity-building role, 43 Colovi´ ˇ c

(n.d.). (n.d.). 45 Meši´ c (2004). 46 Bieber (2002), pp. 100–102. 44 Colovi´ ˇ c

Encounters Between Islam and Christianity …


which has increased the importance of who was involved in the battle and what role they played, further extending the centuries-old struggle for its ownership. In official narratives (primarily in Serbian territories) the participants of the Battle of Kosovo were essentially Serbs for a long time, as they interpreted the battle as a clash between the Serb states and Ottomans. Historical sources47 also mention foreign troops (e.g., Germans, Czechs, Wallachians, Hungarians, Albanians,) but they are secondary in Serbian terms. According to Borisav Jovi´c, an influential politician in Miloševi´c’s Serbia, the Battle of Kosovo was fought by Serbs and Turks and they have no intention of altering this historical fact.48 The Yugoslav monument to the battle also only mentions Serbs, and the Turkish-funded museum likewise centres around the Serbian enemy narrative. Along with Kosovo’s independence movements, nation-building aspirations in the former Serbian province has also gained momentum, it’s purpose being strengthening of national identity by the reinterpretation of history and the past. In connection with this, Albanian historians49 have reported that the Prince Lazar led Christian alliance— which was predominantly made up of Serbs—also had Albanian participants from the region. Some of these ideas also found their way into international literature. Anna Di Lellio’s work50 deals with Albanian myths regarding the Battle of Kosovo, and preserved by the Albanian oral tradition. She emphasizes the possibility that the Sultan killer Obili´c, one of Kosovo’s most important heroes, might have Albanian roots. Noel Malcolm also mentions the possibility of Obili´c’s Albanian roots.51 Due to the lack of literature and contradictory statements, most of the things stated above are unlikely to ever be confirmed. Whether they are true or not is irrelevant when it comes to their interpretation and use in the politics of memory—the same argument was made by Miloševi´c at the 600th anniversary.52 In the postmodern world, the general truth of meta-narratives is questioned; parallel narratives or analogous truths exist side by side, so there may be different interpretations or stories of the battle, its elements, and memories associated with it. The current hybrid space of the Kosovo field thus reflects, through the memorial sites of the former victorious Ottomans: the increasing influence and presence of modern Turks, Serbian territorial demand which has been strongly present since the 19th century, and aspirations of the directing Albanian community to reinterpret history and re-create space.

47 Malcolm

(1998), p. 62. (2002), p. 101. 49 e.g. Dalipi (2009). 50 Di Lellio (2009). 51 Malcolm (1998), p. 73. 52 Bieber (2002), p. 102. 48 Bieber


N. Pap and P. Reményi

Conclusions The significance of the Battle of Mohács and Kosovo can be interpreted in a local, national and European context. Mohács is probably one of the most important pillars of the Hungarian national identity, while the Battle of Kosovo is probably the most important of the Serbian national identity. The two narratives discussed above hold strong similarities; the biggest difference lies in local cultural memories. From a European perspective, they have become events of major importance that are embedded in the common mythology of Europe. The Hungarians and Serbs both believe that on the battlefield they protected not only their own communities, but the whole of Christian Europe. This interpretation was also adopted by the European elite. In the Kosovo field, the death of the sultan and role of the battle in the fall of the medieval Serbian state made the clash one of European significance. Even the early Serbian narratives described the battle as a struggle between Christianity and Islam (civilization vs. barbarism). This idea was also embraced by the contemporary European elite. It is thus an integral part of armed conflicts between the two great civilizations. An important element of Serbian interpretation is that they were abandoned in this struggle, leading to strong feelings of victimization and betrayal. The battle’s role in local identity is even more fascinating as the ethnic composition of the region has changed several times as a result of the struggle for domination over Kosovo. During the Ottoman-Turkish rule, the Sultan’s place of death became a pilgrimage destination, thus becoming an important focal point for the Muslim population. Of course, during the period of Serbian rule and domination, its local significance also increased, and national identity of the Serbian population of the region was strongly influenced by it. The remaining Serbian population still attaches great importance to the battle even to this day, but the main memorial site (Gazimestan) is located in an area where the majority of the population is Albanian, so its maintenance and accessibility remains problematic as the battle does not play an integral part in the identity and memory of the current Albanian population. There might be a demand from the Albanian elite to change this as Albanian politicians proposed the erection of a memorial regarding Albanian heroes of the Battle of Kosovo in 2016.53 Mohács became an equally impactful historical disaster due to the death of the King, seven fallen bishops and a number of leaders of the country. Just as the battle of Kosovo Polje did not lead to immediate occupation of the country, it also took a longer period after Mohács for the Ottomans to occupy other parts of Hungary. Similarly, the motifs of betrayal also appeared in the Hungarian narrative. Various individuals and groups have been accused of being responsible for the defeat, but Szapolyai was criticized the most and he was blamed for bringing the civil war that broke out after the battle.

53 “Haradinaj traži spomenik za “pale albanske borce” u Kosovskom boju”, Kossev, 2016 June 16, Accessed 27–08–2019.

Encounters Between Islam and Christianity …


Most of the area remained in Hungary under the Trianon Peace Agreement (1920), with only a small southern area being transferred to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, in today’s Croatia. As a result of the anti-Ottoman struggles, ethnic identity of the Mohács plain changed significantly as a large number of Serbs, Croats and Germans moved to the area. In their case, we cannot speak to continuity of memory, but they still adopted the narratives of the Hungarian Calvinists living in the region during the Turkish rule there. They were later influenced by the memorial policies of the Catholic Church and Hungarian national movement. The general view on Mohács changed from time to time not because of disagreements along ethnic lines (as in Kosovo), but because of ideologically different or opposing groups: Catholics-Calvinists, “Labanc” (people loyal to the Habsburgs) and “Kuruc” (people seeking national independence). Mohács has since been a reference point in evaluating national crises.

References ˇ Batakovi´c DT (2012) Serbia’s Kosovo Drama. Belgrade, Cigoja, pp 241–245 Bende L (1966) A mohácsi csata [The Battle of Mohács]. Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, Hadtörténeti Intézet és Múzeum 13(3):532–567 Bertók G, Polgár B (2011) A mohácsi csatatér és a középkori Földvár falu régészeti kutatása [Archeological research of the Battlefield of Mohács and the medieval Földvár Village]. Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, Hadtörténeti Intézet És Múzeum 124(3):919–928 Beteja e Dytë e Kosovës pati rëndësi të veçantë në historinë e Mesjetës., 2010 October 16. Accessed 27–08–2019. Bieber F (2002) Nationalist mobilization and stories of serb suffering. The Kosovo Myth from 600th anniversary to the present. Rethink Hist 6(1):95–110 Brodarics I (1983) Igaz leírás a magyaroknak a törökökkel Mohácsnál vívott csatájáról [True description of the battle of the Hungarians with the Turks at Mohács], (transl. Kardos T), Budapest ˇ Colovi´ c I (n.d.) The Kosovo Myth, YUhistorija. Accessed 27–08–2019 Dalipi Q (2009) Beteja e Kosovës, viti 1389, dhe Shqiptarët. Zemra Shqiptaret. https://www.zemras Accessed 12–06–2018 Database of Cultural Heritage of Kosovo, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Republic of Kosovo. downloaded: 01–06–2018 Di Lellio A (2009) The Battle of Kosovo 1389. An Albanian Epic, New York, I. B. Tauris Evliyâ Çelebi (2002) Evliyâ Çelebi b. Dervi¸s Mehemmed Zıllî, Evliyâ Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi. 6. Kitap. Topkapı Sarayı Kütüphanesi Revan 1457 Numaralı Yazmanın Transkripsiyonu–Dizini. Hazırlayanlar: Seyit Ali Kahraman–Yücel Da˘glı. ˙Istanbul, 2002, pp 112–113 Farkas GF, Szebelédi ZS, Varga B (eds) (2015) „Nekünk mégis Mohács kell...” – II. Lajos király rejtélyes halála és különböz˝o temetései [“Nevertheless, we need Mohács...” – II. King Louis’ mysterious death and various funerals.], Budapest, MTA Fodor P (2015) The unbearable weight of empire: the ottomans in Central Europe–a failed attempt at universal monarchy (1390–1566). Budapest, MTA Fodor P (2016) Ibrahim Pecsevi leírása a mohácsi csatáról és II. Lajos király haláláról [Pecsevi Ibrahim’s description of the Battle of Mohács and on the death of Louis II]”. In: Farkas GF, Szebelédi ZS, Varga B (eds) „Nekünk mégis Mohács kell...” – II. Lajos király rejtélyes halála és


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Szabó JB (2006) A mohácsi csata [The Battle of Mohács]. Budapest, Corvina Vlaškovi´c Z (2016) Povodom 627 godina od Kosovskog boja – Spomenik cˇ uvar srpske istorije i junaka., 2016 June 23. Accessed: 27–08–2019

Syria: Memorializing Past and Present ‘Martyrs’ Under Fire Angela Gissi

Abstract World War One (WWI) represents a watershed in the history of the Middle East (Mashreq) due to dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Syria territories of the Levant, was home to Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Armenian, Jews, Muslims and other ethno-religious communities that coexisted. The Ottoman Empire as an ally of the German alliance in WWI, and the particularly brutal rule of Jamal Pasha’, determined deterioration in socio-economic conditions in the Mashreq with tremendous suffering for local populations. War experiences varied across gender, class and sectarian affiliation. But it was a major traumatic event in the memory of survivors from the Syrian province that heralded a new phase of European imperial dominion under the French mandate system (1920/22–1945). With the rise in nationalist ideology, collective memory of WWI came to be a powerful catalyst for the patriotic conscience among the masses and eventual Syrian independence in 1945. In light of political changes in the Mashreq landscape and suffering of indigenous people caused by WWI, Martyrs’ Day became an event in the heritage of Syria from the post-Ottoman and French periods through to the post-independence and Assad eras. The meaning that has been assigned by the Assad regime to Martyrs’ Day throughout the recent war (2011 on) is appraised in this chapter. The main research sources supporting these findings are a collection of articles published in prominent Syrian online magazines and newspapers in English and Arabic, and excerpts from the speeches of president Bashar Al-Assad on the notions of martyrs and martyrdom from 2011 onwards. Keywords WWI · Syria · Ottomans · Levant · French mandate · Independence · Martyrs’ day · Bashar al-assad · Civil war

A. Gissi (B) Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



A. Gissi

Introduction World War One represents a watershed in the history of the Middle East (Mashreq). From the late thirteenth century to 1918 the region was part of the Ottoman Empire, ruled by the Turkish authorities. Covering an area extending from modern Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea, Ottoman jurisdiction in the Mashreq was forged on a flexible model of governance that helped rulers minimize the likelihood of conflicts that could arise from shifting relationships among clans, tribal units, ethnic groups and religious communities there.1 Ottoman Syria referred to the Levant territories stretching from Anatolia in the north to Egypt in the south and from Mesopotamia in the east to the Mediterranean Sea. This was an actual core of the empire and yet a section of it that paid a very high price in WWI. In this space, Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Armenian, Jews, Muslims and other ethno-religious communities coexisted through “[a] variety of mechanisms [that] maintained difference and distinction” (Quataert 2005: 177). Although these groups had remained, relatively at peace under the Ottomans, throughout the centuries different perspectives of the central authority seeped through society becoming more prominent at the dawn of the twentieth century, with some individuals and communities claiming an identitarian affiliation with the Ottomans and others cultivating a desire for political autonomy (Fawaz 2014: 4–5, 19–25). Ottoman participation in WWI as an ally of the Central Powers led by Germany against the Allies and especially France and Britain, along with the particularly brutal rule of Jamal Pasha’, determined the deterioration in socio-economic conditions in the Mashreq inflicting tremendous suffering upon local populations. Other salient factors that coalesced to create this predicament were: the famine (1915–18) resulting in 200,000 deaths, a weapon of war in the hands of belligerent parties; the spread of mortal diseases; and high number of casualties among Syrian and Lebanese civilians, and death on the battlefield of soldiers who were conscripted into the Ottoman military (Thompson 2000: 19–23). The experience of war varied across gender, class and sectarian affiliation, but it was tout court a traumatic event in the memory of survivors from the Syrian province of the Ottoman Empire which heralded a new phase of imperial European dominion (Thompson 2000: 24–30). Under the impulse of a blooming nationalist ideology, collective memory of WWI came to be a powerful catalyst for development of a patriotic conscience among the masses and realization of Syrian independence from post-war French mandatory control (Fawaz 2014: 275–284). In light of the substantial changes to the Mashreq landscape and pain caused to indigenous people by WWI, Martyrs’ Day became a commemoratory event in the historical heritage of Syria from the post-Ottoman and French mandate periods through to post-independence and the Assad eras. On this day, celebration of those who had offered their blood for the homeland served also as an opportunity to stoke a collective sense of duty to struggle for the nation among 1 For

an in-depth analysis of the socio-political, institutional and territorial structures that helped the Ottomans manage an ethnically and religiously diverse society see Barkey (2008), particularly chapter 4.

Syria: Memorializing Past and Present ‘Martyrs’ Under Fire


colonial citizens. Memorialization of martyrs under the Assad regime has been a topic of previous study (Zachs 2012; Podeh 2013). However, the meaning that has been assigned by the regime to Martyrs’ Day throughout the recent war (2011 on) is a matter that has received little attention. This chapter investigates how Martyrs’ Day in Syria has assumed a new political dimension, and how it has been re-spatialized in official representation and discourse over the years that followed the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in 2011. Since the eruption of social discontent expressed by citizens in the form of peaceful protests, the practice of commemorating martyrs has been increasingly used by the Assad regime to produce a stronger myth of martyrdom and reinforce appeal to national unity against imperial powers. The main sources supporting these findings are a collection of articles published in prominent Syrian online magazines and newspapers in English and Arabic, and excerpts from the speeches of president Bashar Al-Assad on the notions of martyrs and martyrdom from 2011 onwards.

The Legacy of WWI Modern Syria was carved out from the Levantine part of the Ottoman territory and delimited by other newly established political entities: Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. France became the mandatory power in Syria and Lebanon while Britain took control of Iraq and Palestine. The new geopolitical order that emerged from this partition was formally ratified with the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) and had a strong impact on the future stability of the Middle East and formation of national identities. Citizens of the Middle East woke up to a new reality of borders; the colonial states in which mandated powers proved mostly unwilling to “negotiate cultural differences and multiple identities” (Fawaz 2014: 276). France and Britain strategically pursued the policy of ‘divide and rule’ in order to create the optimal conditions for their rule (Fieldhouse 2006). During the mandate period, familial, sectarian and tribal bonds ran parallel to wider ethnic, religious and nationalist sentiments of group affiliation subsumed within the doctrines of dogmatic and politically-motivated movements, such as PanArabism, Pan-Islamism, the emerging Palestinian nationalism and Pan-Syrianism. The latter established itself as an ideology underpinned by a nostalgic longing for the notion of Greater Syria, a geographically cohesive unit once constituting the Ottoman Syria region. As investigated by Atassi (2018: 184–185), the principle of unity was enshrined in the first and second Syrian constitutions of, respectively, 1920 and 1928, before being slowly superseded by the Pan-Arab project. The end of the mandate era and departure of French troops from Syria in 1943, plunged the country into a period of political instability that took a high toll on the definition of a common national identity (Rathmell 2014) (Fig. 1). With the seizure of power by Hafez Al-Assad in 1971, Syria embarked on a relatively steady political journey compared to the previous three decades. Against a


A. Gissi

Fig. 1 French Mandate in Syria and Lebanon. Retrieved from: wiki/File:French_Mandate_for_Syria_and_the_Lebanon_map_en.svg

backdrop of a colonial legacy that for many people in the Mashreq implied submission to foreign powers and exploitation, Hafez Al-Assad laid the foundations of a long-lasting regime presenting himself as a promise of stability. Fulfilment of this promise was made possible by the regime’s assumption of the monopoly of violence, national memory and control (Ismail 2018). Mindful of the potential danger to his power posed by the diversity of the Syrian social fabric whose multiple ethnoreligious communities displayed individually strong identitarian components, Assad was anxious to create a shared memory heritage that could bind people together creating commonalities on a national scale that transcended confessional differences. To that effect, he combined the memorialization of historical events evoking the bravery of Syrians against foreign oppressors with celebration of the leader, and maintained a simultaneously nationalistic and pan-Arab character in his political approach to ruling.2 With broadcast content being subjected to a stringent top-down vetting by the regime, national media outlets acted as a fully-fledged platform for the perpetuation 2 Batatu

(1999: 279–283) contends that Hafez Al-Assad’s actual attitude and efforts towards the definition of a unitary political project for the Arab countries did not appear to be always in line with his ostensible championing of pan-Arabism.

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of the public spectacle of power and for an all-round celebration of the president: his political acumen, his unifying mission, his ability to make Syria flourish, and his pledge to protect the country from external interference (Wedeen 1999). The unity invoked by the Assad regime was meant to be ideological as well as geographical, as it referred to swaths of Syrian territory, as in Lebanon that were no longer under Syrian control, due to a series of historical vicissitudes dating as far back as WWI. Cartography is one of many ways through which the regime has sought to redesign the ‘mutilated’ borders of the country and to keep alive the memory of lost geographies on which Syria continues to claim ownership. The initial perimeter of Syria, as had been arranged by France and Britain, included an area called Hatay in northeastern Syria, bordering Turkey and with a mixed population of Turkish and Arabic speakers. In the 1930s, following pressure from the Turkish government, France handed the Hatay region over to Turkey (Fieldhouse 2006: 297–298), causing a lasting rift in relationships between Syria and Turkey. In propagandistic maps of the regime’s military, Hatay can be observed as being still incorporated into the body of Syria.3 Lundgren Jorum (2014) argues that Syria’s contestation of this section of the border with Turkey is at times downplayed, and on other occasions overstated, in the Syrian government’s political rhetoric, depending upon the shifting nature of the relationship between these two countries. The abovementioned maps also include the Golan Heights within Syrian borders, an area Israel has been occupying since 1967, following the Arab debacle during the Six Day War. Indeed, the map does not give any recognition of the presence of the State of Israel whose territory was displayed as all being ‘Palestine’ and whose borders with Syria, along with Syria’s borders with Jordan and Lebanon, were loosely marked as temporary or regional. The Syrian regime’s makeover of the geographical perimeter of the country on the map highlights how in national discourse the creation of the state of Israel, the origin of the Palestinian issue, and loss of Hatay and Golan Heights are directly linked to the Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) and subsequent manoeuvring of the foreign powers that reconfigured the geopolitical order of the Middle East and de facto dismembered Ottoman Syria during and after WWI.

The Memory of Martyrs as a Factor in Forging National Identity The study of memory poses questions of power, social inequalities and domination. Scholarly contributions have pinpointed the instrumentality of memory for dominant groups, and argued that ruling power rests on the ability of the authority to, for

3 During my trips to Syria between 2003 and 2010, when visiting various governmental buildings to

sort out my residency permit, I frequently came across maps of the country depicting a geography of the territory that had remained crystallized in time since the end of the Ottoman period, standing completely oblivious to the changes that Syrian borders had undergone over several decades.


A. Gissi

example: (i) manipulate historical narratives and manufacture traditions for indigenous people, “thereby providing a false, that is, invented memory of the past as a way of creating a new sense of identity for ruler and ruled” (Said 2000: 178); 2); (ii) coerce individuals and groups into collective forgetting and simultaneously, dampen any attempt to contradict a top-down vision of the past (Edkins 2003); 3); (iii) push people to forget specific historical occurrences while also trying to “force them to remember things and events […] they would rather forget” (Jovi´c 2004: 104). While the past, by its very nature of being lapsed in time, cannot be reproduced, it can certainly be “selectively exploited” (Zachs 2012: 84) to achieve predetermined goals. This points to the need for a cautious approach to memory, as it can only provide summary accounts, often also different and contradictory, of past events and phenomena. Nora’s (1996a, 1996b) iconic work on lieux de mémoir discusses the performative nature of memory in space, and frames the shift from its private dimension to a national phenomenon, or from memory to history, in terms of transition from milieux to lieux. As the spatialization of memory contributes to its socialization, Hoelscher and Alderman (2004: 348) argue that “[t]ogether, social memory and social space conjoin to produce much of the context for modern identities— and the often-rigorous contestation of those identities”. Construction of memory through spatial practices and social discourse is not immune from power dynamics as it is inherently “a very political process involving contestations over meaning, articulation and inscription” (Mcgrattan and Hopkins 2017: 490). By building an ideological complex centred around the figure of the president and stoked by oppression and violence (Ismail 2018), the Assad regime has managed to project an umbrella national identity that sought to overcome sectarian particularisms and to extol the unity of the Syrian people. In Syria, the political construction of the ‘patriot’ as a ‘fighter’ and a lover of the homeland has given rise to a social archetype of the Syrian citizen embodied by the president who, while no one can equal, everyone should aspire to emulate (Wedeen 1999). The regime’s emphasis on emulation seeks to generate domesticated identities that are presented to the public under the guise of ‘good forms of citizenship’ and are beefed up through the rhetoric on, and commemoration of, martyrs. By virtue of their immolation or sacrifice for the motherland, martyrs occupy a place of prominence in the discursive landscape of authoritarian Syria. As Wedeen (1999: 64) puts it, “[t]he bodies of martyrs substantiate allegiance [to the leader and homeland] by providing concrete, specific examples of national dedication, echoed in the contracts signed in blood.” Buckner and Khatib (2014: 369–370) have analysed that “[th]e word martyr comes from the Greek and Latin term for ‘to witness’, and in Arabic comes from the root (shuhada) that means ‘to witness’, or ‘to testify’”. Although the concepts of martyr and martyrdom are fluid and interpretations vary largely across space, time, sociopolitical contexts, and personal motive, in Arab speaking countries the term ‘Shahid’ (martyr) is most used. Buckner and Khatib (2014: 70) observe that it has generally come to be associated with the loss of life, or sacrifice, sought or accidentally occurring during a struggle in the name of a religious or nationalist cause. Consequently, it is not surprising that the figure of the martyr has long been harnessed in the Mashreq to mobilize people for political purposes.

Syria: Memorializing Past and Present ‘Martyrs’ Under Fire


Fig. 2 Marjeh square in Damascus Retrieved from break-bombing-in-damascus

In Syria, commemoration of martyrs dates back to WWI and was initially built around a cornerstone of political discourse, the sacrifice of nationalists versus oppression of the foreigner. Martyrs’ Day was introduced to remember the sacrifice of seven Syrian nationalists executed in Damascus’Marjeh square, thereafter named Martyrs’ Square - on 6th May 1916 by Jamal Pasha, due to their involvement in the independence movement in collaboration with France.4 Zachs (2012) retraces the historical stages in which the commemoration of Martyrs’ Day has developed in Syria since its first occurrence in 1918 under Amir Faisal and the increasingly denotative meaning attached to the sacrifice of heroic Syrian patriots who stood up against the Turks. At a later stage, even though Martyrs’ Day was not yet recognized as a national holiday, the martyrs embodied sentiments of “freedom and independence” (Zachs 2012: 81) from the French occupier. With time, Martyrs’ Day became an occasion to commemorate the ‘martyrdom’ of all Syrian citizens who have lost their lives to defend their homeland ever since (Fig. 2). In 1985, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was completed on top of Mount Qassioun, an iconic mountain overlooking the city of Damascus and hosting the ‘Cave of Blood’, an emblematic site where, according to legend, the first killing in the history of humanity, that of Abel at the hands of his brother Cain, took place. It is symbolic that the presidential palace is conveniently located on a side of Mount 4A

short biography for each of these nationalists can be found in an article by Hamda Mustafa (2016) ‘Martyrs of May 6th 1916 , The Syria Times, 6 May. Available at this address: https://syriat (Accessed 5 November 2019).


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Fig. 3 The Tomb of the unknown soldier in Damascus Photo: Jadd Haidar. License: Creative Commons (Own work). Retrieved from: oldier_(Damascus)#/media/File:Tomb_of_the_Unknown_Soldier_Damascus.png

Qassioun, facing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where each year the president pays a tribute to the martyrs surrounded by security forces (Fig. 3). States have often been the principal pioneers in developing portrayals and discourse of martyrs that suited their national narratives (Buckner and Khatib 2014: 369). The martyrs of WWI that are celebrated by the Syrian government are symbols of the struggle for the nation but do not represent the many people who died from starvation and disease generated by the famine (Volk 2010: 3). Such an approach bespeaks a political attitude that seeks to privilege a sense of ‘patriotic sacrifice for the nation’ over ‘non-patriotic death’. Although wars and armed conflicts continue to cause civilian casualties, in national commemorations the lives lost on the battlefield assume more significance than civilian deaths as the sacrifice of combatants is hailed by the state as an act of self-denial for the common good, in the name of the homeland. In Syria, the concept of martyrdom is central to the regime’s idea of the nation. Under Hafez Al-Assad, and his son and successor Bashar Al-Assad, ‘martyrs’ enjoy reverence and honour in their capacity as the backbone of Syria’s national freedom, unity and self-determination. On Martyrs’ Day, like on other national festivities, the government takes the opportunity to “present national and political messages” (Zachs 2012: 83) which re-emphasize the importance of the nation as an independent political and territorial unit, and to express criticism towards previous occupiers and ambitions of imperial powers, past and present.

Syria: Memorializing Past and Present ‘Martyrs’ Under Fire


Commemorating Martyrs After the 2011 Uprising The 2011 uprising in Syria started with non-violent protests driven by people’s demands for political and economic reforms. When protesters were confronted with the regime’s crackdown, the hope that a large section of Syria’s population had placed in the prospect of starting a peaceful process of reformation of the political and economic systems in the country was defeated. Events in Syria were initially read by the international community as part of the Arab Spring protests and revolts that swept throughout the Mashreq having started in North Africa (Maghreb) in 2010. On 30th March 2011, Bashar Al-Assad made his first public appearance in front of the parliament since the beginning of the protests a few weeks earlier. His longawaited speech was broadcast on TV and radio and generated bewilderment and anger among those Syrian people who had taken to the streets to request reforms. Throughout the duration of his 50-min public address, Bashar Al-Assad stood before an audience of politicians who showed their support for him, and his regime alternating standing ovations, applause, cheering, verbal demonstrations of allegiance and chants like ‘Allah, Suryia, Bashar ou bas!’ (God, Syria, Bashar and no more!) and ‘bi-l-ruth, bi-l-dam, nafdeek ya Bashar!’ (with soul and blood we sacrifice for you Bashar!). The president spelled out clearly his ostensible lack of trust in the genuine motives driving the large majority of protesters and accused them of being terrorists or secret agents working for enemy states with the aim of undermining Syria’s unity, dismantling its government and bringing chaos and fragmentation to the country. This was one of a long series of public speeches through which the regime forged a state narrative of the events unfolding in the country that contradicted the version of protesters. With the militarization of the opposition, formation of an anti-Assad coalition, and heavy losses of regime loyalist lives, the idea of nation that the regime had built to indicate the unity of the Syrian people, and of which it proclaimed itself the only guarantor, came under fire. It is in this context that the idea of martyrdom was reaffirmed as an essential underpinning of patriotism. Regime-controlled media helped raise the profile of the martyr to its utmost by drawing connections between the sacrifice of regime loyalists and bravery of the most prominent martyrs of Arab nationalism who were executed at the hands of Jamal Pasha’ in 1916. The remainder of this chapter explores how this rhetoric generated, as an effect, a more idealized myth of martyrdom and commemoration of martyrs, and supported the regime’s call to maintain the unity of the people of Syria against foreign powers (Fig. 4).

Producing a Stronger Myth of Martyrdom Multiplication of celebratory events for the martyrs since 2011 has facilitated circulation of a novel conceptualization of the term ‘jihad’. While in traditionalAlawite belief,5 ‘jihad’ refers to the personal struggle that each individual undertakes against 5 The

Alawites are the sectarian group of the ruling Assad family.


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Fig. 4 Syrian nationalists executed by Jamal Pasha’ on 06th May 1916 Retrieved from https://syr

the seduction of sin, a lack of proper knowledge of other sectarian groups living in the country has filled inter-community relations with suspicion and prejudice, allowing a sectarian framing of the ongoing war and enabling an understanding of ‘jihad’ that “justif[ies] the armed defence of one’s community and the Alawite religion against aggression” (Stolleis 2015: 21). Regarding sectarianism, the Assads have shown an ambivalent attitude. As Stolleis (2015) notes, they have fed a fear of the Sunni Muslims among minority groups, including the Alawites, thus presenting the regime as their only lifeline. Simultaneously, owing to their fear of losing hold on the country, the Assads have continued to promote national unity as an antidote to the socio-political divisions that sectarianism is often believed to cause in very diverse societies, such as in Syria. Drawing from this rationale, throughout the war, the commemoration of the fallen has been re-spatialized in order to respond to the new geopolitics of the conflict and to restate allegiance between the people and ruler in different ways.6 Due to their sociopolitical, educational and spiritual functions as places of community congregation, religious sites, such as churches and mosques, have come to play a fundamental role in celebrating the value of martyrs and in disseminating the regime’s views on the relevance of martyrdom to the safety and freedom of the homeland and Syrian people. In 2012, during a sermon on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day, the Syrian Christian archbishop Khoury affirmed: “Syria will remain free as long as its land is filled with the blood of the martyrs of its sons”.7 Khoury described Christ’s immolation for human redemption as the most supreme and unconditional example of altruism, 6 During the first few years of the conflict, for example, announcements of soldiers’ deaths and funeral

processions among the Druze community of Sweida “transmuted into loyalist demonstrations” with pictures of Bashar Al-Assad and tributes from high representatives of the army and the Ba’ath party (Stolleis 2015: 63). 7 Al-Abjadiyya (2012a).

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linking it to the fate of martyrs whose sacrifice, he emphasized, represents the triumph of their loyalty to the struggle for the homeland over any sentiment of selfishness. Bashar Al-Assad has openly solicited people’s involvement in the struggle for the homeland, for restoring security and ensuring the safety of all the people: The battle against terrorism should not only be the battle of the state and its institutions only; it is the battle of all of us. It is a national battle in which everybody is duty-bound to take part in.8

In areas under regime control, pictures and posters of martyrs have taken centre stage in the streets. A wall in Tartous is covered with hundreds of pictures of those who died to support the regime and to whom local people pay tribute in a sign of recognition and indebtedness for their sacrifice.9 Development of an iconography of martyrs in Syria can be regarded as a phenomenon predominantly sustained by people’s need to remember and extol the value of their relatives. At the same time, such displays of Syrians’ ultimate sacrifice for the homeland feeds into the regime’s intrinsic project to instil a love for the country in new generations and guide them towards embracing their expected duty to defend the nation under the guidance of the Assads. Confirming this approach is the message of the leadership of the Baath party on Martyr’s Day 2017 which, according to SANA news, a Syrian state news service: stressed that the martyrs and martyrdom memory consolidate the confidence to go forward in the struggle against terrorism, confront any aggression, restore the rights and to liberate the occupied land (Fig. 5).10

Tartous is one of the cities that has lost a large number of young men due to their oath of loyalty to the regime that led them to fight and die for it.11 Pictures on Tartous’ wall give prominence to the figures of martyrs, often portrayed in military uniforms and wielding a weapon. In the background of such images, some of the most common features are the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic and image of president Bashar Al-Assad in military attire. These key references to the affiliation of the martyr with the regime confirm an allegiance that transcends life and continues beyond death. Graphic arts have contributed to transforming private sorrow into a public affair, thus making the public display of martyrs’ posters a political act of loyalty to one party or another, and a way of imposing the memory of sacrifice over the living space of the street where local people can look, remember and feel a sense of gratitude and indebtedness to the martyrs. 8 Global

Research (2012). (2013). 10 SANA (2017). 11 Khaddour (2014) ‘Tartus in the Present Crisis: A Mirror of the Syrian Regime’, Jadaliyya, 13 April. Available at: (accessed 01 November 2019). Tartous has been dubbed ‘The mother of Martyrs’ after a Sculpture Forum was established to document the ongoing conflict. See Said (2015) ‘First Sculpture Forum featuring martyrdom opens in Tartous with 25 participants’, SANA, 4 September. Available at: (Accessed 01 November 2019). 9 Steele


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Fig. 5 The ‘Martyrs’ Wall’ in Tartous, Syria. Retrieved from tus/649545060967575553

Music has also played a key role in sublimating the loss of national fighters, becoming itself a spatialized instrument of memory. In 2012 on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day, the daughters of the martyrs who had been attending a school for martyrs’ daughters in Damascus sang in a concert that extolled the meanings of martyrdom and its value for the homeland and the citizens. The lyrics of the song ‘Wedding of Testimony’ affirmed the loyalty of the daughters of martyrs to Syrian president: Sons and daughters of martyrs, we love the leader Bashar, a symbol of national unity. Every heart is calling: I am an Arab from Syria.12

Furthermore, the performance of a concert entitled ‘The Gate of the Sun’, which was held at the ancient theatre of historic Palmyra in honour of the martyrs, was another showcase of Assad’s and his Russian allies’ might.13 In fact, Palmyra was a symbol of victory for the Assads as it had just been retaken by the regime after its fall to the Islamic State in May 2015 (Fig. 6). The tradition of creating events in which the children and families of the martyrs and president can gather together dates back to the early years of the Assads’ power. 12 Al-Abjadiyya 13 SANA

(2012b). (2016a).

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Fig. 6 A Russian orchestra playing at the Palmyra’s ancient theatre in 2012 to celebrate the Syrian government’s victory over ISIS. Retrieved from: ikes-force-islamic-state-out-of-palmyra-10692016

After the 1973 war with Israel which did not result in any territorial gain for Syria but led to a moral victory of the Syrian regime over its enemy, Hafez Al-Assad established himself as the father of all the children of the ‘Umma’ (Arabic for ‘Nation’) who had lost their fathers in the war (Wadeen 1999: 51). In this respect, Bashar Al-Assad appears to have chosen continuity over renovation of some practices already initiated by his father, particularly with reference to state holidays as illustrated by Podeh’s (2013) findings concerning Martyrs’ Day and other national celebrations. Martyrs’ Day entered the national holiday calendar in 1974 as a result of Hafez Al-Assad’s desire to draw a direct line between the martyrs of 1916 and the fallen of the 1973 war. As Podeh (2013: 445–446) analyses, this move aimed at: (institutionalising) the meaning of martyrdom in the Syrian national narrative, starting with the first convoy of martyrs in 1916 and ending with the 1973 martyrs, all of whom died defending the homeland against imperialist—Ottoman, French or Israeli—attacks… [and] was meant to create a shared history for the Syrian nation, unifying its members in their struggle for liberation.

Similarly, since 2011, on Martyrs’ Day Bashar Al-Assad pays a tribute to both ‘old’ martyrs who sacrificed for the homeland in history, and ‘new’ martyrs, meaning the people who have fallen during the uprising and ongoing war. As the war continued to claim victims in different parts of the country, martyrs’ commemorations have extended beyond Martyrs’ Day across areas under the control of the regime.14 14 For example, in Homs, a city retaken by the regime following a siege that starved the population to the extreme in 2013, a Syrian-map-shaped memorial was unveiled in the Martyrs’ Cemetery in 2015. SANA reported this event as being the culmination of a ‘cleaning and decorating’ campaign in the


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Although taking place at different times of the year, all these events uphold the solemn and unique significance of the martyr and reaffirm Martyrs’ Day as one of the most powerful and necessary nation-wide holidays.

Reinforcing the Appeal to National Unity Against Imperial Powers Besides practice, the official discourse surrounding tributes to the martyrs has also undergone a substantial reinvigoration since 2011. Analysis of the regime’s strategy to enhance national identity among its followers suggests two main trajectories of operations running in parallel, internally and externally. On a domestic level, the regime has sought to reiterate a sentiment of brotherhood among all Syrian people and their duty to the homeland, while in fact being guided in its war for power by the ‘divide and rule’ logic (Stolleis 2015). Ismail (2011: 540) has contended that the regime harnessed fear of sectarianism to reaffirm its role as the only authority capable of maintaining a patchwork of communities together under a common set of national values. Deriving from this logic is the inference that Syria is the property of the Assads, as encapsulated in the expression ‘Suriyya al-Assad’ (Assad’s Syria). The demonstrators of the Syrian uprising in 2011 contested “the idea of the Syrian nation as the possession of the ‘eternal leader’” (Ismail 2011: 542) but, as previously discussed, were discredited and labelled as terrorists by the regime. On the external level, the regime has pointed the finger at foreign interests and geopolitical ambitions of imperial powers who seek to subjugate Syria and the Syrian people. To this end, it has endeavoured to reinforce the link between the predicament of modern Syria and the oppression suffered by the Syrian people at the hands of the Ottomans and French. The regime has entrusted the dissemination of these views and their performance to state media. In 2016, SANA reported how on May 6th. The Syrians reiterated their adherence to follow their predecessors starting with May 6th martyrs, Yousef al-Azmeh and his colleagues’ struggle against the French occupation and the heroes of October Liberation war. Neither the Ottoman ruler Jamal Basha nor the Turkishbacked terrorist organizations’ heinous crimes will undermine the Syrians’ willingness to defeat terrorism, the last of which targeting Aleppo city with hundreds of rocket and mortar shells over the past ten days which caused the martyrdom and the injury of hundreds.

cemetery aiming at “honouring the souls of the martyrs who died while defending the homeland”. Source: SANA (2015) ‘A Syrian map memorial built in the Martyr’s Cemetery in Homs’. 17 July. Available at: (Accessed 30 October 2019). Also, some of the events that took place in 2016 to commemorate the loss of heroic fighters for the homeland included the naming of schools after martyrs, visits of official figures to the families of martyrs and to cemeteries where wreathes were laid on martyrs’ tombs. See SANA (2016b) ‘Martyrs’ Day marked, Syrians will be victorious over terrorism’. 06 May. Available at: (Accessed 30 October 2019).

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In this excerpt, SANA mentions the Syrian minister of war Yousef al-Azmeh (1883– 1920), who stood against French troops’ successful attempt to oust king Faysal and take over Syria in the battle of Maysalun on 24 July 1920. Maysalun is engraved in Syrian national memory as a symbol of the unity and steadfastness of the people of Syria in their strenuous fight to preserve the independence of their country. By exposing the plan of colonial powers, in particular Britain and France, to control and subjugate Arabs in the wake of WWI, the memory of Maysalun serves as a reminder to all Syrians to remain vigilant as danger lurks at Syria’s threshold. To substantiate this idea, SANA joins the dots, moving along a time line that links the struggles against the Ottomans and French to resistance against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, aka the October Liberatory War—a national holiday in the Syrian calendar. Considering the great significance attributed to all these struggles in Syrian historical narrative, the recurrent mentioning of these events by the regime’s propaganda organs on Martyrs’ Day can be analysed as responding to a twofold objective: (i) The need for the regime to invoke old stories of value and national pride in order to continue to project the idea of a united front of Syrian people against terrorism, even when many of those who have been dubbed ‘terrorists’ by the regime are in fact members of the Syrian civil society demanding the regime’s accountability for war crimes. (ii) References to the Ottomans, French and Israel may suggest that the current enemies of Syria are nothing but a new version of old enemies and, as such, deserve to be targets of equal contempt. Syrian state-media invectives are hurled at imperial countries, including the US, France and Britain, but also at neighbouring Turkey and Israel, and fellow Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These two overlapping approaches emerge from a host of accounts of Martys’ Day that have been pushed by various regime-backed propaganda channels, 2011–2019. On 6th May 2014, regarding centenary of the beginning of WWI, the online newspaper The Syria Times published an article authored by K.Q., a regular contributor to the journal, stating: This day commemorates the hanging of leading intellectual, political and cultural figures in Damascus and Beirut at the hands of Ottoman despot Jamal Pasha who attempted to stifle the fire of revolution and freedom in Syrians. Just like Jamal Pasha set up gallows for the intellectuals of Syria in the past, Takfiri15 terrorists and their sponsors in the region and west are now targeting scientists, religious figures, places of worship and universities, continuing the dark and criminal legacy of Jamal Pasha and French General Gouraud16 .17

The Syria Times is a government-owned English language daily which, as its website states, was closed in June 2008 and relaunched in October 2012 with the green light 15 The

term Takfir is a controversial concept in Islamic theology that generally refers to a ‘nonbeliever’ or someone that has been excommunicated by another member of the Muslim community. Islamic jihadists have appealed to the doctrine of takfirism to justify their targeting and killing of Muslim individuals and communities whose religious beliefs and practices are not deemed sufficiently aligned with their vision of Islam. 16 Henri Gouraud was a French general mandated to lead the French forces in Syria and Lebanon, and represent his government in the region between 1919 and 1923. 17 K. Q. (2014).


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of the Syrian Ministry of Information. The mission of the magazine is expressed through the words of the UNDP, in terms of facilitating “continuous dialogue between media, government, citizens, civil society, expatriates and internationals in Syria”.18 However, from a perusal of this and other articles available on their website, an attentive and non-partisan reader would certainly conclude that The Syria Times does not live up to its ambitious mission statement of encouraging dialogue among and between different parties, as the only voices given space are those supporting the regime. In other words, The Syria Times comes across as one of many internet megaphones of the regime’s propaganda in English, a lingua franca which allows admirers of the Assads worldwide to keep themselves updated with the regime’s narratives of Syria’s domestic and international affairs, and to give a platform to supporters’ paeans to the president. A brief inquiry into the positioning of the director of The Syria Times, Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim, helps to illustrate him as a professional promoter of the Syrian regime and an apologist of Bashar Al-Assad.19 On 6 May 2015, in an article for The Syria Times, Al-Ibrahim reported on Bashar’s speech for Martyrs’ Day. He included the following analogy between past Ottoman oppression and ruthlessness of the current Turkish government: H.E. President Al-Assad pointed out that those who have perpetrated the hanging of Syrians on May 6th, 1916 were the Turkish Jamal Basha the slaughterer and today the Turkish President, the atrocious Erdogan..20

In his tribute to the martyrs, Bashar Al-Assad’s reference to Erdogan as ‘atrocious’ must be contextualized in light of the role played by Turkey in the Syrian war. In 2015 rebel groups were gaining ground in north-western Syria thanks to the supply of arms and funding from abroad and support of Erdogan’s Turkey. On 7th May 2015, K.Q. published an article on The Syria Times explaining in a more explicit manner what he believes were the interlinks between past and present attempts by the Turks to oppress Arabs and sabotage their independence. Here, K.Q. recycled excerpts from his 2014 article, using the exact same wording but shifting the focus of his blame from Takfiri groups to the Turkish president.21 In his tirade against Turkey, K.Q. went on to glorify the sacrifice of the martyrs and called on Syrians to continue to embrace martyrdom under the leadership of Assad:

18 See the ‘About us’ page of The Syria Times newspaper at (Accessed 10 November 2019). 19 In an article that appeared in The Syria Times on the 51st birthday of Bashar Al-Assad, Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim praised the president and affirmed “To imagine Syria without such a wise brave president, which is what US, Israel and the ewes wasted in vain treasures to achieve, is to have a life without air, water, light, knowledge and without any humanity”. Al-Ibrahim, M. A. (2016) ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’. The Syria Times, 11 September. Available at: https:// (Accessed 28 October 2019). 20 Al-Ibrahim (2015). 21 Available at: xhaustible-source-of-inspiration-in-the-battle-against-terrorism (Accessed 08 November 2019).

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Jamal Pasha’s oppression did not force the Arab people to halt their unabated resistance to the Ottomans and they pressed ahead with their struggle until they forced the Ottomans out of their homeland ending a four century occupation. However, the Arabs fell under a new conspiracy represented by the ill-famed Sykes-Picot Accord which divided the Arab countries between Britain and France as if they were their inheritance. Once again, the Arab people started a relentless struggle until they won independence. Syria today is more determined to eradicate terrorism. Syrian people take pride in the martyrdom of their sons, because martyrdom is the only way to protect the dignity and unity of the homeland. Our martyrs, who offered their lives for the sake of their people and homeland, have been the torch guiding the way for successive generations to continue struggle against colonialist forces.22

The articles by K.Q. and other journalists that have been published in The Syria Times to mark Martyrs’ Day are noticeably repetitive. Their language and content are awash with historical coordinates, in time and space, which allow the reader to locate the Syrian regime’s positioning on a geopolitical tier and to legitimize its idea of the nation. A contribution to The Syria Times’ stands on Martyrs’ Day from May 2016 reads: The Martyrs’ Day anniversary comes as Syria is currently facing new Ottoman-backed Wahhabi terrorism that targets the unity and sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic. Tens of thousands of terrorists and mercenaries have been recruited, trained, armed and sent to Syria from all over the world to fight the Syrian state with limitless support from western countries, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.23

In such a hostile geopolitical conjuncture for the Syrian regime, recalling the Arab nationalist struggle against the Ottomans, in which the ancestors of modern Syrian people distinguished themselves so valiantly, is part and parcel of a political strategy apt to bolster a system of values that hinges on martyrdom as a vector of national unity.

Conclusions WWI caused massive death tolls. Since the signing of WWI peace treaties and throughout the last century, many governments have taken upon themselves the task of preserving the memory of the war and commemorating the many non-identified soldiers who never made their way back from the battlefields. In Syria, there has never been any commemoration of WWI of this kind. At the dawn of the twentieth century, Syria had yet to be established in the form of an independent political entity. As citizens of the Ottoman Empire, many men from the historical Syrian region were conscripted into the empire army, sent to fight against British and French and lost their lives. Despite their sacrifice, Martyrs’ Day was introduced in Syria primarily to commemorate the courage of Arab nationalists that agitated against the Ottoman 22 K.

Q. (2015). (2016).

23 Mustafa


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authority in their struggle for self-determination. While the hope in the establishment of Greater Syria as an independent unit was quickly derailed by Britain and France’s secret plans, the imposition of new borders continued to be a matter of contestation for decades.24 What has remained as an indisputable point of pride in the history of Arab people in Syria is the attachment that nationalists throughout history have shown for their homeland. That is why spaces and items of remembrance in honour of Syrian patriots constitute a memento to other citizens of the importance of the nation. This chapter has pointed to the impact of the legacy of WWI on the Syrian regime’s commemoration of martyrs on a national level since the beginning of the 2011 uprising. As Bashar Al-Assad has managed to maintain hold on the helm of the country, only those who have lost their lives fighting on the side of the regime will enjoy respect and be remembered on a national level. This reality confirms that selectivity is a key principle underlying official recollections, narrations and commemorations of past events, including wars and power-based struggles. Memories are not necessarily drawn, shaped and reshaped from a remote past but rather constructed soon after an event takes place or while it is still ongoing, particularly when there is a major interest by political elites to hold control over official narratives. An analysis of the regime’s propaganda surrounding the Syrian conflict is highly illustrative of the process of creating official narratives. To legitimize state propaganda in the face of mounting casualties within the ranks of Bashar Al-Assad’s supporters, the regime has made abundant use of commemoratory events to remember the sacrifice of loyal patriots and substantiate a nationalist argument that equates the defence of the homeland from foreign interference with the perpetuation of Assad’s power. Whoever dies struggling for these two correlated causes are the heroes of the nation and in that capacity will be admired and celebrated by their compatriots. Based on the examples adduced in this chapter to corroborate this view, it is possible to conclude that the regime’s version of ‘wataniyya’, Arabic for patriotism, rests on an eschatological interpretation of martyrdom as the most sublime way of culminating one’s life for the sake of the nation, and its protectors the Assads. The notions of martyrdom and protection of the homeland are infused with an historical ethos related to early examples of nationalism at the dawn of the twentieth century when Arabs organized against the Ottoman rulers and sought to remove foreign powers after WWI. Martyrs’ commemorations in Syria are therefore an opportunity for the regime to restate the essence of its anti-imperialist and nationalist stance.

24 In June 2014, ISIS fighters removed the marks delimitating the border between Iraq and Syria in a symbolic act of rejection of the Sykes-Picot agreement. See Black, I. (2014) ‘Isis breach of Iraq-Syria border merges two wars into one ‘nightmarish reality’, The Guardian, 18 June. Available at: (Accessed 03 November 2019).

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SANA (2016a) Under the patronage of President al-Assad and in memory of the martyrs. The effectiveness of the “Gate of the Sun” on the scene of the ancient city of Palmyra – Video. https:// Accessed 31 Oct 2019 SANA (2017) On martyrs day… Syria deserves all sacrifices. Accessed 02 Nov 2019 Steele J (2013) Syria’s Martyrs’ wall reveals ‘unknown truth’ of bloody civil war. The Guardian. Accessed 04 Nov 2019 Stolleis F (2015) Playing the sectarian card identities and affiliations of local communities in Syria. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Beirut Thompson E (2000) Colonial citizens: republican rights, paternal privilege, and gender in French Syria and Lebanon. Columbia University Press, New York Volk L (2010) Memorials and martyrs in modern Lebanon. Indiana University Press, Bloomington Wedeen L (1999) Ambiguities of domination: politics, rhetoric, and symbols in contemporary Syria. University of Chicago Press, Chicago Zachs F (2012) Transformations of a memory of Tyranny in Syria: from Jamal Pasha to ‘Id al-Shuhada’, 1914–2000. Middle Eastern Stud 48(1):73–88. 2012.644459

Of—Borders and Memories: Erased Boundaries in the Land of Israel Tal Yaar-Waisel

Abstract There are many places in the land of Israel that used to be associated with the country’s borders, including sites of memory such as fortifications from all historical periods. Their presence in the landscape and various usage are appraised here from the author’s standpoint regarding the Israeli state’s national narrative. Border lines and their functions have changed over the decades, but their remains and relics can still be seen in Israel; they symbolize history and often have national significance. Hence the major questions discussed are: What is the dynamic of their remaining, or else their disappearance from the landscape? What are the factors playing a part in the preservation of a border after its erasure? A mixture of historical and current borders in the same territory, sometimes with only a few metres between historical and present lines, makes the memories of the past expressive. Memories stemming from the borders in Israel involve personal and national feelings and therefore, they also have a vibrant formal and informal educational significance. When discussing Israel, WWI centennial commemorations bring to consciousness the ending of Ottoman Empire rule in territories in Europe and the Middle East and succeeding geopolitics, the Balfour Declaration (1917) regarding a Jewish Homeland and the blueprint for British and French protectorate rule embodied in the Sykes Picot Agreement (1916). Keywords Borders · Erased boundaries · Landscape · Symbols · National significance

Introduction For a visitor, the experience of getting close to a border can entail a strong mixture of curiosity and fear. Many Israeli visitors know these feelings well as a tour to the north, east or south of the country gives them the opportunity to “look over the border” as they try to get an impression of what is happening on the “other side". In an era of globalization and post-globalization, changes in border functions are very T. Yaar-Waisel (B) Oranim College of Education, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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common. Many of these regions which for the most part experienced considerable suffering, bloodshed and neglect have, in recent years, become areas in which there are processes of development and cooperation between the countries they cross. In other places, open borders are being closed and coming under supervision. Boundaries are not fixed at times in their positions and in their functioning: some boundaries that were open have been closed, and some border crossings are no longer operating or else under supervision (Soffer and Yaar-Waisel 1999). As with Israel, borders around the world are dramatically changing in character. Hence, this analysis will deal with the remains of borders in the landscapes that used to cross the land of Israel. The land of Israel has a long history of conquests including Imperial rulers who built walls and fortifications and left them behind. Moreover, the young state of Israel had highly fortified borders with its neighbours. Some of these lines were erased more than fifty years ago in June 1967.1 Not only do erased national borders have meaning in the land of Israel; it is well known that thorny cactus shrubs were used to build barriers for Arab communities as protection against invaders—animals or humans. Those previous Palestinian villages may no longer exist but the cactus shrubs, known as Sabras, still symbolize their presence on the land, although, ironically, the Sabra became the “new” Israeli— a Jewish symbol. We might see this as a “Social memory” involved with “Social forgetting” (Beiner 2016) (Fig. 1). Memories stemming from the borders in Israel involve personal and national feelings; and, therefore, they can also have an important educational significance.

Israel’s Borders Israel has a border of 79 km. long with Lebanon, and with Syria (92 km.), Jordan (309 km. along the Jordan river), Egypt (208 km.) and the Gaza strip (59 km.). Its maritime border along the Mediterranean shore is less than 200 km. Taking into account the border known as the “Green Line”—this comes to 330 km. Although Israel is 20,300 sq. km. in area, its border ratio is 1:19, demonstrating the state’s long borders (Map 1). Half of Israel’s boundaries are those which were established as a result of ceasefires at the end of wars (1948–1949—The war of Independence, June1967—The Six Day War, 1973—Yom Kippur war/October war), and two others are boundaries that were approved in peace agreements (1979—Peace agreement with Egypt, 1994— Peace agreement with Jordan). A special line, the “Green Line”, separates the State of Israel from Judea and Samaria and constitutes the eastern border of the state


history in a nutshell.—Israel’s Geographic—National Library of Israel.


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Fig. 1 Cactus plant

according to the UN, but does not exist as an international border.2 Finally, there is the Gaza strip, the border in the south west of the country. Israel has had a peace agreement with Egypt since 1979 and one with Jordan since 1994. A ceasefire agreement with Syria was agreed upon twice: first in 1967 and again six years later in 1973. Since then there have been UN troops at the crossing-point between the two countries and at a demilitarized zone along parts of the plateau border. The border with Lebanon was established in a British-French agreement in 1916, amended in 1920 and finally approved by both governments in March 1923; it was marked a year later between France who ruled ‘Greater Syria’ and England who ruled ‘Palestine’, This line was re-approved in 1949 as a ceasefire line, and once again at the beginning of the twenty-first century. After Israeli troops left Lebanon, most of the border was agreed upon by both states, except for small areas that Hezbollah opposes despite the fact that the re-marking took place under UN supervision.3 The border with Syria has not been agreed upon as an international border since 1967. International law sees the former boundary as the border between Israel and Syria, although in 1982 Israel annexed the Golan Heights and established de facto sovereignty over this region regarding state security, protection of Israeli citizens 2 Encyclopedia

Britannica. Establishment of Israel: The War of 1948. https://www.britannica. com/place/Israel/Establishment-of-Israel. The Green Line, or (pre-) 1967 border or 1949 Armistice border, is the demarcation line set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between the armies of Israel and those of its neighbours (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. 3—INSS—The Institute for National Security Studies: Strategic, Innovative, Policy oriented research- Tel Aviv university.


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Map 1 Israel’s border lines; Also at: Satellite image—Israel’s border lines, Photographed by Astronaut Barry Wilmore. From the International Space Station, 2014,734 0,L-4608205,00.html

in the borderlands, hydro-politics and realpolitik. In 2019, the American president, Donald Trump, declared the Golan Heights to be Israeli territory. One day later, the European Union condemned this declaration, claiming that the Golan is an occupied territory. As is well known, there is no agreement with the Palestinian Authorities on a separation, and a border line between the state of Israel and a separate Palestinian one. The former boundary between the state of Israel and the “territories” settled mainly by Palestinians will be discussed later.4 Israel’s borders are diverse in their topography and physical character: the north is mountainous; the border with Syria is a plateau—the Golan Heights. The border 4—Central

Intelligence Agency (US).—Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Israel in maps.

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Map 2 Satellite NASA view.php?id=65114

with Jordan flows down through the Jordan River, which is actually only a stream, and also divides the Dead Sea. It then continues south through the Arava Valley to Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba in the extreme south. The border with Egypt is mostly mountainous but is a plain in its northern part; the Gaza Strip is a plain, and, on the west, there is the Mediterranean coastline. The southern half of the Jordanian border and the border with Egypt, are both arid areas (Map 2).5 Usually, the distance between crossing points influences border functions; the greater the distance, the less likely it is for cross-border cooperation. It is not like that at Israel’s borders. The border with Syria is accessible only to UN forces but not for the people of the two states. Exceptions are made however, in special cases such 5

Image taken from the international Space Station.

Please have a look at the Satellite


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as those during the civil war in Syria (2011 on) when the wounded entered Israel to receive medical help, or the Druze citizens of the Golan cross the border for family visits or to study in Syria. Israel has four different “Triangle border meeting points”: (a) Israel-LebanonSyria, (b) Israel-Syria-Jordan, (c); Israel-Jordan-Egypt, and (d) Israel-Egypt-the Gaza strip. Such a border can create complicated situations, where three different interests are playing a role.

Changes at the Israeli Boundaries Israel’s borders have seen many changes with the most significant being the 1967 enlargement of Israeli rule following the “Six Day War” when Israel was attacked by three neighbouring countries—Egypt, Syria and Jordan. Israeli rule was then extended to the Sinai Peninsula, Judea and Samaria. It included East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The war cancelled the border that existed prior to 1967 which is known as the “Green Line”. (Bigger 2018; Collins-Kreiner et al. 2006). Another significant change occurred in 1994, when a peace agreement was signed by the Jordanian King Hussein and Israel’s late Prime Minister Itzak Rabin. Since Hussein gave up any sovereign demands to rule the “West Bank”, it remained the existing border as “Status quo” situation “In Facto” for more than 50 years. This, the longest border completely changed from being a border of conflict to one which allowed for cooperation between the two sides. However, in 2015 a fence was built along the Arava Valley, the southern part of the border with Jordan (Bigger 2018). The 1990s also saw meaningful changes along the Israel-Egypt border. After many years when there was no physical barrier along the desert border line, a fence was built; its aim was to prevent smuggling and illegal immigration to Israel. The fortified border with the Gaza strip is almost 60 km. long, the entire land border of Gaza strip is surrounded by a fence. Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the fence was Fortification but following the detection of tunnels under the border, underground fortifications were built by Israel to prevent the digging of tunnels (Srebro 2019). The beginning of the twenty-first century brought changes to the Israel-Lebanon border. In 2000 Israel withdrew its troops from South Lebanon, the (Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) was present beyond the border from 1982 until 2000. The border line was re-confirmed by UN forces (“the blue line”) and closed hermetically. In 2019 tunnels dug beneath this boundary were exposed by the IDF. These were dug by Hezbollah in order to illegally enter Israeli territory and destabilize the state6 (Srebro 2019).


with Large Wall. Israel Lebanon border 2018, I24 News.

Fortifies Borders with Lebanon

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Erased Boundaries The moment a border is determined, by the outcome of war or by agreement at the negotiating table, the landscape begins to change. It can be a natural vegetation cover landscape in open territory, or in either rural or urban settlements. The “scars” which include foreign materials, quarrying, embankments and the like become blurred. The moment a border ceases to fulfill its function, new forces with different forms begin to operate on it. Natural erosion works everywhere and at all times, but its effect is more limited when the border is maintained. Factors playing a part in preserving the border after its erasure are elements of physical geography as well as those involving human geography. There are a variety of human forces actively interested in the presence or disappearance of the border; these include economic and political motives. Topography in Israel has dictated the nature of the fortifications on every sector. If, for example, one side of the border is higher than the other, as was at the rim of the Syrian plateau, there were few positions as compared with the low-lying areas. Geology and climate affected the preservation of the border as well; the Israeli Syrian border mainly traversed a basalt area and the scars in such areas will remain for many years. In a temperate climate the vegetation rapidly covers the military positions and trenches; this does not occur in arid and rocky regions. An arid climate makes land cover more dramatic in the landscape with differences in land uses, overgrazing or afforestation have a massive impact on the land, and the differences between two sides of a border can be seen even in satellite images, as on all Israel’s borders.7

The Israel-Lebanon Border Although there have been few changes in its location, the Israel-Lebanon border has witnessed many changes in the ruling forces controlling it during the hundred years of its existence, starting with the Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) and continuing until the IDF withdrawal from south Lebanon at the beginning of the twenty-first century. While the Ottoman Empire was coming to an end, France and Britain were busy dividing the Ottoman territories in the Middle East. In 1916, British Foreign Minister Sykes and French Foreign Minister Picot met to discuss the future of the empire. In 1917, the Land of Israel was conquered by British General Allenby and towards the end of that year the Balfour Declaration was issued, by the colonial secretary for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people. In 1919 the Versailles Conference continued the process of dialogue and it was at the end of 1920 in the San Remo Accords that it was decided to establish the British Mandate in Palestine. In 1923, an agreement was signed concerning the demarcation of the boundary between the territories under the protection of France and the areas of the British Mandate. Two main factors influenced the delineation of the border: the need for British protection 7 See—KKL—Jewish National Fund.


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of water resources in the region and the French desire to maintain control over roads from the east of the French territory to the Mediterranean Sea. At the time of the decision, there was also the Zionist standpoint, the existence of Jewish settlements in the area of disagreement between the two powers, especially that of Metula. In practice, the border had not yet been marked and there was some controversy. The border committee had to contend with a multitude of local problems, mainly the preservation of agricultural land for the local villages. It was not until 1924 that the Northern edge of the Galilee passed to British control. The border was delineated by 71 border markers (Bigger 1995, 2018).8 The decade that followed was characterized by extensive terrorist activities carried out by the Arabs of Palestine, opposition to Jewish settlement and to the British rule. The northern border served the terror groups to move to French Syrian territory, where they were provided with weapons, ammunition and medical care. Their movement was almost completely free. In 1937 the construction of a road along the northern border began. The British police felt helpless in the face of Arab activity, which intensified in the second half of the 1930s, a period known as the “Great Arab Revolt” which broke out in 1936. For this purpose, Sir Charles Tegart, was called to come to the Land of Israel to advise the local British authorities on how to deal with terrorism. Tegart was the British commander of the Calcutta region in India, where he was an expert in counterterrorism. He conducted a survey throughout the country, and at the end wrote a comprehensive report, which included the need to build a fence along the northern border, which was later called “Tegart’s Wall.” He tried to negotiate with 8 See: 1914–1918 online: History of the First World War. Zionism. By Ofer Idels, Tel Aviv University. See: Encyclopedia Britannica. Establishment of Israel: The war of 1948. https://www.britannica. com/place/Israel/History Regarding British forces in WWI, the Jerusalem War Cemetery was created after the occupation of the city in December 1917. It contains the graves and memorials of over 2,510 servicemen of the British Empire, of whom more than 100 remain unidentified. Within the cemetery stands the Jerusalem War Memorial which commemorates some 3,300 servicemen of the British Empire who died in Egypt and Palestine and have no known grave. Gaza War Cemetery contains the graves and memorials of more than 3,200 servicemen of WWI and some 210 from WWII. Nearly 970 of those buried in the cemetery remain unidentified. Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial is the largest WWI memorial in Egypt and commemorates nearly 4,000 servicemen of the Indian Army. The current memorial was unveiled in October 1980 as a replacement to the original memorial at Port Tewfik which was demolished, having suffered severe damage during the Israeli-Egyptian conflict of 1967–73. See: nts/egypt-and-palestine See: Regarding the Ottoman forces in WWI, in the six cemeteries located in Israel and Palestine area, over 6,000 soldiers are buried, who fell in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. Within the larger region the biggest of the three Turkish cemeteries in Syria is located in Qatma, which holds the remains of over 1,000 soldiers. In the cemeteries in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, over 3,000 Turkish soldiers are buried. Wikipedia. Turkish military memorials and cemeteries outside Turkey.

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the French, but those who recognized Syria’s independence were not too cooperative (Kroiser 2011). In order to maintain the border, Tegart said that there was a need to strengthen police stations and police posts along the border. Police barracks would be replaced by concrete police buildings, in the form of fortresses whose shape was threatening, and which were capable of controlling a large area. On their roofs would be an observation post, with slits to allow shooting. The model of fortresses used by the British in various places in the empire was adapted to this area. The fortresses were known as “Tegarts” and by this name they are still known and being used today (Fig. 2). Among the fortresses, pill-boxes—small guard posts with room for three soldiers—were added. Until then, the positions were sparse and manned only during the day. Tegart demanded the establishment of positions that would enable eye contact with one another and equip them with lighting so that they could be used for policing also at night. 20 pillboxes were built by “Solel Boneh”—a Jewish building company. The patrols of “Rural Mounted Police” were protected and lit up for night tours, so that they could function at night (Fig. 3). The request of the police to erect a fence was rejected in London due to budgetary problems and as a result of the British fear of a war with Nazi Germany. Later, funding for the construction of the fence and fortresses came from the British government, but only after the unfortunate signing of the “Munich Agreement.” It was thought that there would be no war in Europe and that money could be transferred to Palestine. The construction of the fence was carried out mostly by Jewish settlers along the line, and it was completed in early 1939 (Kroiser 2011). As the construction of the fence was completed mainly by the residents of the Jewish settlements along the route, it is recognized as part of the Zionist enterprise that praised the combination of defense and settlement. That that is how it is being remembered and taught in schools. Fig. 2 Tegart fort on the Northern border


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Fig. 3 Pillbox at Kibbutz Bar ‘am with an army vehicle

In November 1947, the United Nations decided on the “Partition Plan” and it was agreed that two states would be established in the land of Israel. The next day, the Arabs of the area started to fight. The British decision to end its rule (“The Mandate”) and leave the country was accepted in the Jewish settlements with mixed feelings. In May 1948 David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the Jewish state and the last British soldiers left the area. They left most of the British police bases in the hands of the Arabs, who used them immediately to fortify their positions in the war. The Jewish fighting for the former British, now Arab, fortresses was bloody and is now enshrined in the national memory as a struggle for the independence of the Jewish people in its land. Thus, the British “Tegarts” became national symbols, not because they were British buildings constructed for the defense of the borders, but as a symbol of the Jewish struggle in the War of Independence against the Arabs. All the British fortresses along the northern border continue to serve the Israeli army or police as outposts of different units, although not all of them have a strategic advantage in today’s reality. The army has additional outposts stationed on the border with Lebanon. These fortresses, which are anomalous in the landscape, remain a symbol of Jewish power, and may still look threatening. Ordinary citizens cannot enter them because they are military areas. Some of the pillboxes remain in the area. More than seventy years have passed since their abandonment, but some of them have undergone conservation by the Council for the Preservation of Sites in cooperation with local authorities or by local residents. Signs commemorating the preservation posted at the entrances to the buildings indicate that the British positions were built by the Hebrew “Solel Boneh” company (Fig. 4). Even today, the symbol of the Israeli Border Police is the ‘building’ of the British police, “Nebi Yusha” in the north. It was there that fierce battles took place against the Arab control of the fortress, which was later named the “Fortress of Power” after the 28 fighters killed in these battles (Fig. 5).

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Fig. 4 Reconstructed pillbox at Goren in the Western part of the Upper Galilee

Fig. 5 Memorial site at the Nebby Yusha Tegart

Construction of the border fence with Lebanon and the British guard positions have become, over the years, symbols of Zionist activity to build and defend the land.

The Green Line The ‘Green Line’ is the armistice line that had separated the state of Israel and the areas of Judea and Samaria which were under Jordanian role until 1967; it includes the urban demarcation line that divided the city of Jerusalem for nineteen years. This


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Fig. 6 Separation wall along Highway no 6

constituted a closed border but allowed Israeli police delegates to cross once every two weeks to the territory of the abandoned iconic Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, on a mountain in northeast Jerusalem. Between the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and the Six-Day War in 1967, Mount Scopus was an UN-protected Israeli exclave within Jordanian-administered territory. Today, Mount Scopus lies within the municipal boundaries of the city of Jerusalem. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem campus there began in 1918 on land purchased from the Gray Hill estate.9 After the June 1967 war, this “Green Line” barrier was opened for movement of people and goods and ceased to be a political or military border, until the end of the 1980s following the first Palestinian uprising—The Intifada. While it was “an erased boundary” this line remained an administrative demarcation line between the sovereign state of Israel and the occupied territories of Judea and Samaria—often called “The West Bank” regarding the location of the Jordan river. It now serves as an administrative border between various districts of the Ministry of the Interior in the sovereign State of Israel and Israel’s government in Judea and Samaria. The “Green Line” is not an agreed border, and there are disagreements over its future. A “security fence” or a “separation wall” has been built along large sections of the line, sometimes near it and sometimes not (Fig. 6). There is no agreement on the future of the line, as discussed by Rassem Khamaisi (2008), in ‘From Imposed Ceasefire Line to International Border: The Issue of the Green Line between Palestine and Israel’.10

9 See:

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A brief History. Wikipedia. Mount Scopus. 10 See: Khamaisi, R. (2208) “From Imposed Ceasefire Line to International Border: The Issue of the Green Line between Palestine and Israel”, Journal of Borderlands Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1. Pages 85–102, published online 21 Nov. 2011.

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The border has not only political significance, it also has physical geographical implications as the traces that it left in the landscape can be seen in satellite images many decades after its cancellation. It is fascinating and raises questions about some of the segments of the line which have become even more conspicuous than they were in 1967. The removal of the border’s physical features including fences, barrels, barbed wire and concrete walls did not remove the “Green Line” as a linear feature in the landscape (Yaar-Waisel 1994). Contrasting differences between the two sides of the line became stronger after the building of the wall separated land uses on both sides.11 Two very significant man-made elements have affected the formation of the border areas: settlements and afforestation. Afforestation tended to perpetuate the border line, especially as planting trees along the line and not across it, continued well after 1967. The responsibility for planting trees in Israel lies with an organization known as the “Jewish National Fund” (JNF) supported by funds from the Jewish communities in the USA.12 Donations beyond the “Green Line” are not recognized in the US for tax refunds, therefore, the JNF maps the route of the historic “Green Line”, in order to enable the donors to facilitate tax relief from the American authorities. Thus, afforestation has maintained the “Green Line” in a “green” formation, both visually and symbolically, as existing in the landscape, even more dramatically, after it was officially abolished! In addition, the same happened with the construction of new settlements along one side of the Green Line and not across it, also emphasized its presence even after it ceased being an official inter-state border (Yaar-Waisel 2018). This, Of course, was strengthened with the building of the separation wall. The choice between accentuating the borderline in the urban areas of Jerusalem, and minimizing it there, depended on the local urban planning: New suburbs were established on the previous border line in the northern and southern parts of Jerusalem; these perpetuated the marks or traces of the Green Line. There was also exploitation of the area of the demarcation line that was removed. In its stead was the construction of a wide highway which allows difficult and sometimes dangerous crossing between east and west. There is also the route of the light urban railway which emphasizes the previous line and creates a different type of dividing line between eastern Jerusalem and the western parts of Jerusalem (Fig. 7). After 1967 the city area was called by the Jerusalem planning authorities “the Seam line"—meaning to “stitch” or to “sew” the east and west parts of Jerusalem, as the “scar” or the “seam” still exists in the urban scape which did not always exist. 11 See

Satellite image- Israel’s border lines. Photographed by Astronaut Barry Wilmore. From the International Space Station, 2014.,7340,L-4608205,00.html 12 See: JNF at “JNF is a nonprofit organization and United Nations NGO that gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people. JNF began in 1901 as a dream and vision to re-establish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere.”. See: Trees for the Holy Land. fmZXN4wIVxLHtCh1wBgGcEAAYASAAEgL3FfD_BwE


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Fig. 7 Jerusalem—road and light urban railway along the former border route

“The seam line” title is not in use anymore. The “Separation wall” in the city does not follow the previous border exactly and that causes many problems for Palestinians who are citizens of Jerusalem but do not have an Israeli identity.

The Mandelbaum Gate and Museum on the Seam After the War of Independence (1948–49), and the armistice agreement signed in Rhodes, it was stipulated that the Mandelbaum crossing would serve as a border crossing between Israel and Jordan. Security checks and family meetings were conducted here, at a site where the Jordanian police station was located. The Mandelbaum Gate crossing was used mainly for the passage of diplomats and UN personnel, as well as for the path of Christian pilgrims on Christmas Day. Periodically Israeli troops were allowed to cross the border through the Mandelbaum Gate to the Israeli Mount Scopus enclave within Jordanian territory. After the Six Day War (1967), it was announced that this gate should be preserved by the Jerusalem Municipality, but this never took place (Shalmon 2019). The neighbouring building to the Gate was a Jewish post known as the “Turgeman post.” It served as a military outpost along the border, its front was damaged during the wars. The damage was conserved as part of the architecture; it symbolizes and marks the line of conflict which existed before 1967. Between 1970 and 1997, a permanent exhibition was presented in this building on the subject of the unification of the city, which was “joined together”, as it is termed in Hebrew. Between 1999 and 2005, an interactive exhibition was presented that called for tolerance, understanding and coexistence. Since 2005, the building has served as a social museum for contemporary art. The museum is committed to

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Fig. 8 Museum “on the seam”, Jerusalem

examining the social reality of conflicts in our region, promoting dialogue in the shadow of disagreement, and encouraging social commitment based on common rather than on differences. The museum presents art as a language without borders in order to present controversial social issues for public debate.13 At the entrance to the museum two stones are exhibited: one shows the letter “E” the second has the letter “W". They mark the meeting point between east and west parts of Jerusalem in the past and in the present (Fig. 8). Thus, the preservation of the “Green Line” is mainly determined by government policy—the decisions to establish settlements, to construct a road or plant forests along the diminished boundary have perpetuated it. The fact that the administrative and jurisdictional partitioning between the two sides of the “Green Line” were left unchanged, contributed to its conservation. This was the result of the Israeli police that yielded to American pressure. It is particularly interesting that the governments that kept the line are the right-wing governments, headed by the Likud party, even though their policy in Judea and Samaria is to encourage massive Jewish construction and, even more so, the desire to unite the capital city of Jerusalem. The disappearance of the crossing point at the Mandelbaum Gate, raises questions about the policy that seeks to minimize the memory of the border that crossed the city, or that it should not be seen as an attempt to obscure memory, but only as a result of market forces and the normal development of a city.



Museum on the seam: Socio- political contemporary art museum,


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Forty years after the cancellation of the border as an active military barrier, it again became a “scar” in the landscape; a wall was built in order to prevent terrorism. The “Separation wall” is not running along exactly the former border line but accompanies it and, what is more important, it symbolizes in many aspects a return to the 1967 lines.

The Israel—Syria Border There have been changes along the border line which separated Israel and Syria from 1949 to 1967. It runs from the northern border with Lebanon to the border with Jordan, on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Kinneret), under the cliff of the Golan Heights on its west. Since June 1967 Israel has ruled the Golan, and the border moved eastward, far from the erased border. More than fifty years have passed since then, but along the demolished border many of its remains can still be found. These include trenches, shooting positions, military positions and mine fields which cause injuries from time to time. A famous memorial site along this border is the Gadot Observatory,14 a former Syrian army position with an impressive view over the Israeli Hula Valley. It used to pose enormous threats to the Israel settlements below until 1967. Making this place a national heritage site illustrates the threat that the inhabitants of the Valley suffered. The memory of that time is thus being maintained for future generations. More remains exist on the border in the form of two French Customs Houses—the “Upper Customs House” and “Lower Customs House.” They were built in the early twentieth century by the French regime in Syria on the border with the territory ruled by the British. After the French left, they were used by the Syrian army until 1967. After fifty years during which these large buildings were left unchanged and became neglected, the upper customs house was rebuilt as a hotel, while the lower structure remained neglected. Although the building was declared a heritage site it was sold to a private client (Shalmon 2019). The existence of this border in a peripheral region, which suffers from neglect and lack of attention, left signs of its existence as a former border line. Historic remains of the former international border were given a significance, especially with the application of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Those sites turn this border into a heritage sites symbolizes the adoption of the remains of the border for national purposes. The present border with Syria is existing for over fifty years. It can be easily seen on satellite images, because of differing land uses and a fence to stop grazing beyond the border.15


marking the border that was until 1967. 15 See Satellite Image.

the dotted line.

Of—Borders and Memories: Erased Boundaries in the Land of Israel


Discussion Borders create meaning on the landscapes they cross, as well as on the people who live in these areas. Changes of borders in their functioning, form, or meaning, have many aspects and bring changes into people’s lives. This study examines the dynamic that comes into operation when a border is erased or changes its function; this dynamic can cause the scars to disappear or lead to the preservation of the borders. The will to preserve the line or its meaning is sometimes a national goal and involves educational and symbolic efforts. The forces which erase a border can be economic, aesthetic, psychological, political and/or security-related decisions. There are also the initiatives of local forces. All the forces listed above have led to maintaining the border signs and the remains of the area.

Memorialization: Factors Acting to Preserve the Border The first elements to disappear following the erasure of the border are usually the military obstacles which are likely to endanger the public. The military takes immediate steps to remove them. This applies to barbed wire fences, mine fields and weaponry in the area. Some are destroyed and dismantled in the course of the fighting, or immediately afterwards, out of fear that the enemy might make use of them. This is the most important factor in the survivability of any border. There is no doubt, that if a decision had been made (on the national, regional or even local levels) on the removal of any border, it would have expedited the erasure process of the border. It is interesting to note that some people evince interest in the ugly and warlike aspects that remain after the removal of the border, namely landmines, barbed wire, fences, fortified positions and the like. However, the remains of many military symbols which were left and preserved along Israeli borders are the most powerful symbols of commemoration. These can include military positions or posts. This raises the question, what is the purpose in remembering the strength of the enemy or foreign occupier? As described above, acts of perpetuation and commemoration serve the national interest of the “justness of the way” or approving the “justness of the struggle”. Memory enables us to transfer from generation to generation the importance of preserving the power of the state. Various means are involved in perpetuating the memory of the erased border including plaques, monuments and museums. The memorialization of the border in this way is usually located in random places, sites that used to be strategic but are no longer so. According to Omri Shalmon, head of the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, preservation of sites should not be a political matter; and if the site has political significance, the Conservation Council does not take part in it. While a border might have a political element, as it has in Jerusalem, the decision to preserve


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or not will be taken by the local authorities, such as the Jerusalem municipality. Statutory committees must comply with the “Planning and Building” Law, which determines whether there is value in the preservation of sites. This is often done after a local initiative. Mr. Shalmon says that sites which symbolize the struggle for the establishment of the state have significant value, and therefore are likely to be approved for preservation.16 If we sum up the elements chosen to mark and commemorate specific sectors of a border, we find an answer to the question of why some of the borders and scars have remained in place. There is a combination of commemoration, complex planning restrictions, and the ecological protection of “green” areas. More than fifty years after the cancellation of the “Green Line” border as an active military barrier, it has a significant presence in the landscape. The “Separation Wall” does not run exactly along the former border line but accompanies it and what is more important symbolizes in many aspects a return to the 1967 lines. Although officially, this is only an administrative line and not an international boundary, its existence in the landscape is significant. The Jewish battles for the British and, later, Arab fortresses were bloody, and have been engraved in the national memory as a struggle for the independence of the Jewish people in its land. Thus, the British “Tegarts” became a national symbol, not because they were British buildings constructed for the defense of borders, but as a symbol of the Jewish struggle in the War of Independence against the Arabs. For an example, alongside the police building in Nebi Yusha, a museum called “Re’ut” (Friendship) was established and perpetuates the struggle for the preservation of the Galilee before the establishment of the state. The museum explains the history of British control over the northern border. In the history of Israel, the rule of the British in the land of Israel is not remembered in a positive way as they British refused to allow Jews enter the Land of Israel even though they were being persecuted and exterminated in occupied Nazi Europe. Many believe that the British authorities gave preference to the Arabs and, upon their departure, left them their military bases. Neither did they fulfill the promise of the Balfour Declaration (1917) for three decades. It is therefore astonishing that the remains of British rule are preserved and even budgeted for preservation. The question arises why is it necessary to preserve and remember British police stations? Preservation of the pillboxes and “Tegarts” symbolizes the Jewish defense during the struggle for the establishment of the state. For instance, a figure depicting a Hebrew fighter was added to the front of one of the positions near Kibbutz Bar’am (Fig. 9).

Conclusions There is a wide range of reasons for the remains of borders that no longer exist in Israel; sometimes there is a combination of several reasons. 16—Council

for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel.

Of—Borders and Memories: Erased Boundaries in the Land of Israel


Fig. 9 Figure of a Hebrew fighter depicted on a renovated British position

Firstly, the remains are the result of neglect in areas either in the center of the country or on its periphery. Usually these areas are at the edges of land under the jurisdiction of local authorities. They are open spaces and are sometimes used as garbage dumps—before and after the existence of the border. It seems at times as though no one really cares about the remains of the borders. Secondly, some remains are being maintained following national feelings—the ruins remain as a form of historical approval for the building of a nation. It is an outdoor history lesson so to speak; some of these places became a museum, telling the story of the time when the border existed or where a battle took place. Now the site functions as a memorial to those who fell, as a “social memory” (Beiner 2016). Borders which existed and have disappeared de jure from the maps and have left their mark on the landscape, symbolize the Zionist struggle for the establishment of the state, the preservation of the homeland, the price of blood that the people of Israel must pay, and the power of the Israel Defence Forces. These places have an educational value for the young generation that was born years after those borders no longer existed. In addition to these two reasons, there are different local solutions, for instance, using former British Police stations current as military bases.


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Omri Shalmon, director of The Council for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, says that choosing a site to conserve has to meet the Organization’s aims: it was founded for the purpose of preserving and commemorating historical sites related to Israel’s pathway to independence. As written on its internet site: “The conservation of historic buildings and sites ensures that the achievements of the past and the bravery of Israel’s pioneers live on forever, so that we may learn from our history and use it to create a brighter future. As the late Yigal Allon17 said: A nation that does not respect its past will have a dull present and an uncertain future.”18 Acknowledgements I would like to thank SHALMON, O. (2019), Head of the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel. Interview, May 2019. SREBRO, H. (2019), Former director general of the Survey of Israel. Interview, July 2019

References Beiner G (2016) Making sense of memory: coming to terms with conceptualisations of historical remembrance. In: Grayson RS, McGarry F (eds) Remembering 1916: the easter rising, the somme and the politics of memory in Ireland. Cambridge, pp 13–23 Bigger G (2018) The borders of the land of Israel and the state of Israel—from the end of the ottoman period until the un partition resolution. Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv (In Hebrew) Bigger G (2015) Israel-Egypt (186–191), Israel-Jerusalem-Palestine (pp. 261–268), Israel-Jordan (pp. 269–275), Israel-Lebanon (pp. 276–281), Israel-Syria (pp. 282–287), in Emmanuel BrunetJailly, (editor), Border Disputes, A Global Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara Bigger G (1995) Israel—Lebanon boundary. Encyclopedia of international boundaries. New York, pp 316–319 Braver M (2014) University Atlas. Yavn, Tel Aviv (In Hebrew) Brunet-Jailly (ed) (2014) Border disputes—a global encyclopaedia. Canada Collins-Kreiner N, Mansfeld Y, Kliot N (2006) The reflection of a political conflict in mapping: the case of Israel’s borders and frontiers. Middle eastern studies, vol 42, No 3 Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, 95%D7%A2%D7%A6%D7%94/?lang=en INSS—The Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University Khamaisi R (2008) From imposed ceasefire line to international border: the issue of the green line between Palestine and Israel. J Borderlands Stud. 23(1) Kroiser G (2011) The Tegarts—establishment of British police fortresses in the land of Israel. Yehuda Dekel library (In Hebrew) Minghi JV (1991) From conflict to harmony in border landscape. In: Rumley D, Minghi JV (eds) The geography of border landscapes. Routledge, London Newman D (2001) Boundaries, borders and barriers: changing geographic perspectives on territorial lines. In: Albert M et al. (eds) Identities, borders and orders, rethinking international relations theory. Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press, pp 137–150 Newman D (2011) Contemporary research agendas in border studies: an overview. In: Wastl-Walter The Ashgate research companion to border studies, pp 33–47 17 Yigal Alon was a commander before the establishment of the state and one of the IDF leaders during the War of Independence. 18 Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, D7%95%D7%A2%D7%A6%D7%94/?lang=en

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Popescu G (2012) Bridging borders the cross-border cooperation paradigm. In: Bordering and ordering the twenty-first century understanding borders. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, UK Sakki I (2014) Social representations of European integration as narrated by school textbooks in five European nations. Int J Intercul Relat. September 2014 Prescott V (1999) Borders in a ‘Borderless’ world. Routledge Scott JW (2010) Borders, border studies and EU enlargement. Finland, University of Joensuu, Karelian Institute Soffer A (1994) Form of coexistence and transborder cooperation in hostile area; the Israel case. In: Gallusser W (ed) Political boundaries and coexistence. Peter Lang, Basel, pp 182–191 Soffer A, Yaar-Waisel T (1996) The border of Israel and Syria—why has it not been removed? Karka (Land), 42, Journal of the Land-Use Research Institute, Jerusalem, Israel, 29–40 (In Hebrew) Soffer A, Yaar-Waisel T (1999) Borders that were: dynamics of vanishing from the View. Haifa University (In Hebrew), Geo-strategy Chair Stoklosa K (ed) (2019) Borders and memories: conflicts and co-operation in European border regions. Amazon, Zurich Yaar-Waisel T (2018) Bordering on the impossible: optimistic planning of border regions. J Borderlands Stud.

The Conservation of Traumatic Ruins: A Piece of Memorabilia to Perform Urban Resilience Antoine Le Blanc

Abstract Urban ruins are unwelcome in many cities, yet they often hold functions in materializing memories and conveying messages as traumatic ruins caused by catastrophic events hold historicity for the population. Their conservation can bolster urban resilience, as the urban system integrates the trauma. Planning-wise, should ruins be preserved as history traces, tools for remembrance and reminders to prevent reoccurrences where possible, or should the trauma site be erased in favour of urban functionality. Many municipalities decided to preserve WWI and WWII ruins throughout Europe by creating restoration and management standards. Two major trends are identifiable: (i) immediate bold conservation, involving symbolic monuments as typified by Berlin’s Gedächtniskirche and Coventry’s St Michael’s Cathedral; (ii) late choices, as in Gemona (St.-Mary) and Palermo (Holy Spirit) in Italy. When decisions to preserve ruins are made years after the disaster, the sense of pain is softened; stakeholders can make more rational and aesthetic choices. Keyword Urban · Ruins · Trauma · Planning time-line · Preservation · Conservation

Introduction Urban ruins are non-functional buildings and as such are unwelcomed in most cities, where production and traffic density and efficiency prevail. But ruins do have functions in the city: they materialize urban memories, thus conveying a social and political message, sometimes with great impact. This chapter will deal with what I call “traumatic ruins”, meaning ruins caused by catastrophic events such as earthquakes or bombings, as opposed to slowly degraded objects; according to Riegl’s terminology, the latter are valued for their age, the former for their historicity. A. Le Blanc (B) Université du Littoral Côte D’Opale, Université de Lille, EA 4477 – TVES—Territoires Villes Environnement and Société, F-59140 Dunkerque, France e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



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In most cases, the pain and the will to rebuild have prompted stakeholders to cancel the traces of disaster, and the conservation of ruins was only due to much disputed decisions from the local authorities (Sauvageot 1995). Such difficult decisions can be explained by the political benefit linked to the staging of catastrophes, but also by the will to use the conservation of ruins as a preventive tool. Indeed, traumatic ruins can be real urban scars reminiscent of a catastrophe to the local population. These memorabilia have sometimes been compared with «medals of merit on the community’s chest» (Sauvageot 1995) and can be considered a necessary step towards risk consciousness and the constitution of a risk culture. In other words, the conservation of a catastrophe’s traumatic mark can be a tool to perform urban resilience, since the urban system integrates the trauma instead of cancelling it, in an open purpose of risk mitigation. This specific process will be here called a proactive form of resilience. But this instrument of risk management entails major urban planning issues. Should ruins be preserved as traces of history and a tool for remembrance and risk prevention, or should the trauma be erased in order to favour urban functionality? And how do we integrate a massive ruined element in an urban space? Many municipalities in various countries have decided to preserve ruins after a tragic event. They set up specific restoration and management standards, various aesthetic and technical choices, access and presentation criteria. Two trends can thus be identified: on the one hand, immediate, bold conservation choices, which involve strongly symbolic monuments, mostly ruins of World War II (Berlin’s Gedächtniskirche—see Photo 1, St. Michael’s Cathedral in Coventry, ruins of Oradour-surGlane in France …); on the other hand, late choices, as in the case of Gemona (St.Mary) and Palermo (Holy Spirit) in Italy, or Christ Church Greyfriars in London. When the decision to preserve the ruins is made a few years after the disaster, the sense of pain is softened, and stakeholders can make more rational and aesthetic choices. In any case, it is argued that the conservation of ruins indicates a political exploitation of the catastrophe.

The Fate of the Ruins The UNESCO defines a ruin as “a building that has lost so much of its original form and substance that its potential unity as a functional structure has also been lost” (Feilden and Jokilehto 1993). Ruins are not welcome in most cities today, where the efficiency of traffic and production seems to prevail. As a result, ruins are often destroyed, erased from the urban environment. However, they have very real urban functions, particularly in terms of identity; which explains that, in some cases, the actors of urban development have decided to maintain, preserve or even enhance ruins. Historically, ruins were considered primarily as reservoirs of building material; it was not until the eighteenth century that their cultural value began to be perceived, thanks to social, political and economic changes that challenged traditional identities (Pinon, in Faut-ilrestaurer les ruines 1991). The following century, the question of

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Photo 1 Berlin’s Gedächtniskirche (photo by JL Piermay)

the fate of the ruins was the subject of intense debate between the theories of Ruskin (restoration is the worst form of destruction of a monument) and Viollet-le-Duc (who advocated integral restoration), until consecutive currents (for instance Boito) proposed various forms of compromises, and eventually, in the middle of the twentieth century, rules concerning reconstruction and restoration were recognized at the international level. The reconstruction of a destroyed building is formally prohibited on the basis of scientific and aesthetic arguments at the 1931 Athens Conference, and reaffirmed in the Venice Charter in May 1964: “Any reconstruction work must be excluded a priori” (Article 15). These principles are taken up and specified in the theories of Cesare Brandi (1963), for whom it is neither normal nor respectful of History and Art, to rebuild a collapsed monument as it was, or to reconstitute a ruin. However, almost all restoration theories are still debated, probably in essence, as regards acts of a cultural and identity nature. As far as ruins are concerned, the


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debate, from the end of the twentieth century onwards, no longer focuses as much on the reconstruction of ruined buildings as on the use and museumization of ruins.1 This debate could be reduced to a question, which is of particular interest to us in this chapter: should we let ruins die? In reality, it is necessary to distinguish between several types of ruins, depending on their origin: this largely determines the message conveyed by the ruin, and therefore, by ricochet, the management choices that will be made in relation to this spatial object. I take up a distinction, classic since Victor Hugo,2 between two main types of ruins, which I will call “slow” and “violent” (or “traumatic3 ”) ruins. The former are the result of long historical processes and are linked to the cumulative action of time, people and various events. Violent ruins are the result of more punctual, more or less destructive events on different scales. They are the spatial materialization of a temporal discontinuity: traumatic ruins are the result of violent hazards, wars, earthquakes, but also accidental explosions, floods, fires …4 Of course, in many cases, violent ruins gradually turn into slow ruins. In urban environments, violent ruins are scars, evoking the memory of a crisis, on different levels: the urban fabric is suddenly disrupted, traffic is modified, the functionality of space is interrupted, symbolic and spatial identity must integrate a more or less significant distortion. The inhabitants of the city, or transient individuals, face this urban disruption, which raises questions. The ruins, in an urban environment, can shock the observer, and carry messages whose meaning is difficult to manipulate. In the case of slow ruins, the major message that is transmitted is the awareness of the passing of time, of the historical action of mankind (both positive—the architecture of the past—and negative—the carelessness, the destruction), of the somehow normal evolution of the city. The message conveyed by a traumatic ruin is quite different: it recalls a violent and often painful event. This contrast creates two opposing attitudes towards the conservation of the ruin.5 As regards slow ruins, whose message is the passage of time, it is not logical to keep them in a state out of time, to remove them from the action of time. Two opposing options then appear more relevant: either the city’s actors revive the ruin, by reusing it, by transforming it, which, historically, has been the fate of the vast majority of urban ruins (Federici 2008); or they do not handle the ruin, the vegetation seeps in, the ground sinks in, the stones fall, which is considered by some theorists 1 See

for instance the international symposium Faut-il restaurer les ruines? (Should ruins be restored?) organized in Caen, France, in 1991. 2 Victor Hugo differentiated ruins causes by violent destruction and ruins due to ageing. 3 A violent ruin is not necessarily traumatic; the hazard may be violent, whereas the trauma designates a consequence of the disaster. So the most accurate expression should be «traumatic ruin», however I will sometimes use the expression «violent ruin», to cover wider experiences of ruins. The historian Eric Fournier talks of «brutal ruins» about the reconstruction of Paris after the 1870 war (Fournier 2008). 4 Sauvageot (1995), p. 59. 5 I am focusing here on voluntary ruin management. Obviously, in many cases, ruins are not «managed», and are simply left aside, abandoned to the destructive action of time. In these cases, violent ruins become slow ruins.

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as the normal vocation of the ruin (Stanford 2000). These options—transforming the ruin, or not managing it—can be analyzed as forms of resilience which I will call reactive (along with Dovers and Handmer 1992) and passive. On the other hand, for a traumatic ruin, the message is quite different. The issue is whether to consider or not the painful consequences of an event; whether to maintain or not the memory of the disaster, with the objective to prevent a potential future risk (war, earthquake, etc.). In this case, the logical action is to preserve the ruin as it is, to prevent it from gradually becoming a slow ruin, and to prevent the message from losing its initial strength. This could be called proactive resilience (Dovers and Handmer 1992). Certainly, the philosophical question is still asked: even violent ruins, can’t we let them die? Should we force societies to remember? The actors of urban planning are faced with the paradox of trauma, which implies choosing between two terrible options: remembering the horror, or forgetting it.6 The management of urban traumatic ruin raises this question: should we confront the inhabitants with their pain, or should we try to erase the wound? The answer to this question underwent a radical shift in the twentieth century: the Second World War, in particular, generated a surprisingly homogeneous desire throughout the world to preserve ruins in memory of the horror of war. The unprecedented scale of the disaster is not unrelated to the implementation of this proactive form of resilience; in other words, people have acknowledged the inadequacy of passive and reactive forms of resilience.

A Short History of the Voluntary Conservation of Urban Ruins A distinction must be made between interest in ruins and the idea of their voluntary conservation, particularly in the case of traumatic ruins. The birth, in the fifteenth century and in Europe, of a heritage cult focused mainly on ancient monuments, does not concern the other ruins, “widely considered as ‘natural sites’ that can be used according to purely technical criteria. A ruin is first of all a mass of masonry in which one can cut, on which one can build”.7 According to Pierre Pinon, the cultural value of the ruins began to be perceived in the sixteenth century, but it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that this cultural value became more important than the utilitarian value. In a somewhat offbeat way, S. Lacroix dates the birth of this interest in the ruins of the 1740s, “when it became clear to the lucid man of the eighteenth century that he could no longer conceive the existence of universal benevolence”.8 This interest would be the corollary of the “crisis of European consciousness”. The extremely rapid social and spatial upheavals caused in particular by the industrial revolutions challenged traditional identities. The craze for ruins in any case reached 6 This paradox shows particularly in the example of the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane (Stone

2004). Pinon, «Construire sur les ruines», in Faut-il restaurer les ruines? (1991), pp. 191–195. 8 Lacroix (2007), p. 15. 7 P.


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a peak a little later, in the romantic exaltation of various kinds of remains, in letters and pictorial arts. At the same time, theories about heritage conservation rapidly evolve from the cult of ancient monuments to other arts, countries and periods, to comprise more recent monuments, including ruins other than Greek and Roman ruins. It was then that the idea of the voluntary conservation of a recent, possibly traumatic, ruin developed from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards. The context, in the middle and end of the nineteenth century, was also that of nascent urban planning in Europe and the United States, marked by theoretical excitement and intense debates, some of which focused on the place of ruins (one thinks of course of the opposition on this subject between Viollet-le-Duc and Ruskin). Still later, after the First World War, the city was compared to a living organism and became, in line with the success of psychoanalysis, the site of traumatic events, of which the ruins are traces, to be treated in a delicate way. At the end of the twentieth century, art historian Paolo Marconi stated that ruins, “with the problems that accompany them (biological infections, crumbling structures, loss of form), are certainly the most telling metaphors of the human skeleton and therefore constitute the ultimate representation of death, total disappearance and consequently permanent oblivion. It is precisely this omission that we wish to avoid when we consider that the monument is a work worthy of lasting for the message it contains, and that we want to transmit to our descendants”.9 The invocation of anatomical and psychoanalytical metaphors (ruins in the city are physical or psychological traumas) thus becomes common, even if it must be qualified, as Françoise Choay explains in particular.10 In Europe, before the nineteenth century, a few rare examples are precursors to the conservation of urban traumatic ruins for the purpose of memory and even risk prevention: this is the case of a church in Lisbon (Convent of the Carms), preserved after the earthquake of 1755. The case is exceptional in many respects. A century later, in the United States, the ravages of the Civil War generated debates on the place to be given to ruins: are these traces of war violence useful, painful or ambiguous messages? For Americans, this is the first time their territory has been in ruins; the shock is considerable, and politically exploited.11 The same debate, also intense, agitated Paris in the 1870s, about symbolic monuments with a highly political scope: should the burnt Tuileries palace be rebuilt? What about the destroyed City Hall? Should the ruins be preserved to denounce the massacres of the Commune forever? (Fournier 2008). Subsequently, one of the first attempts to implement this idea was made in Sicily in 1908: following a devastating earthquake, followed by an even more devastating tidal wave, the Messina Cathedral was destroyed. An intense debate then took place, 9 P.

Marconi, in Sauvageot (1995), p. 58. especially Choay, Anthropologie de l’espace (2005). Françoise Choay refers to the «palimpsest city» but warns that we should be very careful with this metaphor; she shows that cities do erase certain traces, contrary to the human memory. Hence the urban planner must not treat the city as a doctor treats a human body. 11 The Los Angeles Getty Institute put up an exhibition on ruins and their treatment by artists after the Civil War. 10 See

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and some of the theorists (including Giovannoni) proposed to keep the ruins as they were, so that the population would remember the disaster and develop a culture of risk prevention. In the end, the proposal was not accepted. The same kind of debate, with the same final decision, took place for various monuments after World War I, for example for the Cathedral of Reims (Andre 1986). It was in fact following the immense destruction of World War II that the voluntary conservation of traumatic ruins had numerous applications in countries as different as Japan, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland and France. From the Town Hall of Darwin in Australia to the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, the Cathedral of Coventry, the church of remembrance in Berlin, the church of Saint Nicholas in Hamburg, or the dome of Hiroshima, the reconstruction actors wanted to preserve spatial traces of the destruction, most often in memory of the horror, in tribute to the victims, and as an altar to peace, all goals which are in fact distinct and not without ambiguity. The voluntary conservation of ruins due to violent events other than wars has not been as successful, if one can say so, or at least they came a little later. There are varied examples in very different places, a few of which are ancient: for example, in Macau, the Portuguese and then the Chinese have preserved the still standing façade of the Church of Saint Paul, destroyed by fire in the nineteenth century. In Avignon and Rome, the municipalities have preserved and made heritage of bridge arches destroyed by major floods in the Rhône and Tiber rivers. In Gemona, in the Italian region of Friuli, the municipality has voluntarily preserved the ruins of the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, in the heart of the city destroyed by the 1976 earthquake, as a reminder of the disaster and a warning for the future. In Darwin, Australia, the City Hall was partially destroyed by bombing during World War II, but hurricanes completed the destruction in the 1970s, and the current ruins, preserved, bear witness to both disasters. Many other examples could be pointed out, in Hawaii, Japan, or European countries.

Conserving Ruins to Prevent Future Risk Among examples of the voluntary conservation of traumatic ruins, the majority reflect a desire to prevent future risk. The preserved traces of a catastrophic event awaken the observer’s awareness of the risk: ruins raise questions, they bear witness to a disaster, and impose on the observer a reflection on the risk involved. The relationship to ruins, in this respect, has changed considerably in a few decades, as analysed by N. Gauthier and Y. Boiret: “The romantic tradition has accustomed us to a vision of the ruins where the dream prevails over reality. Hubert Robert’s landscapes and the stories of 19th century traveller-archaeologists have reinforced this image. Today, the taste for history, the popularization of historical works, the passion for “masterpieces in danger” have given rise to another approach to ruin. The visitor wants to understand what he sees, to identify the function of the monuments from which only foundations


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remain; in a word, to go beyond the sentimental impression to reach understanding”.12 This more questioning attitude towards ruins is all the truer when it comes to violent ruins in urban areas, which contrast with the development of the rest of the city. The visitor stops in front of the ruin and wants to understand its history; he can be led to think about risk and disaster. The American Geographer J. B. Jackson highlights this challenge, this message of ruins, in a surprising but evocative way. After a brief development on the Berlin Remembrance Church—according to him “a huge ruin, without grace and picturesque, but which, for this very reason, acts as a powerful reminder of World War II, and whose message is not easily forgotten”13 —he compares the ruins with the reminders of unpaid bills, “on yellow paper”, by the telephone companies: “of good or bad grace, we will catch our cheque book to pay our dues and thus avoid further inconvenience.”14 Pain and trauma are not much studied in geography; these topics are more studied in sociology, in studies of risk perception and disaster. However, the painful memory of a disaster is a determining factor in urban policies. The trace of an immediate and painful past is difficult to sustain: traumatized populations most often wish to erase the ruin, either by reconstructing the destroyed building identically, or by moving as quickly as possible to something else, by building something new, even if it means associating it with a memorial. Henri-Pierre Jeudy evokes this process in the following way: “Natural or industrial disasters do not cease to modify landscapes, they generate a constant metamorphosis of territories, and the ruins they leave behind seem to arouse horror rather than an aesthetic perception or a sovereign representation of the transmission of collective memories. It is said that disaster “must” not be forgotten, but the traces it caused are quickly erased to demonstrate the will to survive.”15 It is important here to highlight the fundamental difference between ruins as memorabilia, and a memorial, which is something built specifically for the purpose of memory; a distinction that evokes FrançoiseChoay’s distinction between the monument and the historic monument.16 The buildings constructed on purpose do not ask quite the same questions as the ruins; their message may be very different. Monuments to the dead convey the memory of a disaster in a painful way, but through a sometimes ambiguous message. H.-P. Jeudy expresses it as follows: “It is not only a question of fighting against oblivion, but of giving a posthumous meaning to the memory of the dead, a meaning that is always capable of being updated”. In some cases, he explains, this meaning has the “conjurative vocation” of a “never again”, as in the case of the Hiroshima memorial17 ; so the message puts forward an ideal 12 M.

Gauthier et Y. Boiret, «Introduction au thème conservation-lisibilité», in Faut-il restaurer les ruines? (1991), p. 31. 13 Jackson (2005), p. 142. 14 Jackson (2005), p. 142. 15 Jeudy H.-P., «Ruines en trompe-l’œil», in Faut-il restaurer les ruines?, (1991), p. 49. 16 Choay (1992). 17 Jeudy (2001), p. 92.

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Photo 2 Reims Cathedral, 2009

of peace. But it is not always the case. Very often, as the inscriptions show, these monuments favour a spirit of national pride over the desire to encourage peace. Many war memorials highlight hatred of the enemy, especially memorials from World War I. This feeling of national hatred or pride is exploited to dilute the feeling of pain. It should be noted, however, that the ambiguity of a memorial’s message is not confined to monuments to the dead: it can be found in some debates concerning the reconstruction of a number of destroyed monuments and ruins. This was the case after World War I in Reims when, with regard to the possible preservation of the cathedral in ruins, the debate among intellectuals and artists saw arguments of this type flourish: “you have only one right, one duty, it is to preserve these ruins to our admiration, to our pain, so that our hatred will feed itself there, and renew itself from generation to generation”.18 However, in the Reims case, this position was not retained, which is a very substantial difference from war memorials (Photo 2). The ambiguity of the message is also illustrated by a form that is somewhat intermediate between the ruin and the memorial, and quite widespread, as J. Sauvageot explains: “among these commemorations, the most common practice consists in the idea of leaving “on the spot”, where the bomb exploded, or where the bombing took place, a tangible testimony of the cannon shots, such as the cannonballs embedded in the defensive wall of Pierrefonds or in the Aurelian Walls. These are substantially 18 Revue

des Deux Mondes, quoted by Christian Dupavillon, in Sauvageot (1995), p. 75.


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medals of Merit, pinned on the chest of the urban community, that the community accepts even when they are incongruous or from a bygone era”.19 These “medals of merit” emphasize national pride rather than a culture of risk; but here again, there is a great difference between punctual traces limited in space, and the ruins of a destroyed and therefore non-functional building. The examples are significant: the impacts of bullets or shells in undestroyed walls do not make the construction lose its function, and on the contrary they evoke the idea of resistance, of victory in the face of an attack. To deepen the difference between ruins and memorial, it may also be argued, albeit in a more cautious way, that the evocative and emotional power of ruins is greater than that of a memorial. The memorial, built after the disaster, is more easily accepted by the population, precisely because it is not a sharp wound, and the message is less powerful. Moreover, when the ruined building had architectural and artistic value, its remains acquire a particular value, to the point that Diderot could say: “You have to ruin a palace to make it an object of interest”.20 More poetically and more recently, Louis I. Kahn writes: “A building under construction is not yet in servitude. But it is so anxious to be in servitude, that no blade of grass can grow at his feet, so high is the spirit of existence he desires. When it is completed and in service, the building wants to speak out: “Look, I’ll tell you how I was made". No one listens. Everyone is busy going from room to room. But, when the building is in ruins and freed from its servitude, the spirit emerges, saying how wonderful it is that a building has been built”.21 On another level, which illustrates the ambiguity of the message of the ruins, we can recall that under the Nazi regime, the architect Albert Speer advocated stone and brick to build the buildings of the Third Reich, because they age better than reinforced concrete. The buildings would then have been transformed into colossal remains testifying to the grandeur of the Reich.22 The history of the DresdenFrauenkirche illustrates this dynamic of memory and risk prevention: it was kept in ruins to bear witness to the disaster of the bombing of the city at the end of World War II, and then rebuilt as it was before its destruction, when the benefit derived from the message became inferior to the cost of preserving the ruin. Christian Dupavillon summarizes the issues highlighted by this example of the “Women’s Church” as follows: “This church, which became a stone field following the bombings, is the city’s monument against the war. Dresden was then in the East. Recently, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Conservatives have been questioning the condition of the stones that were deteriorating with the weather. Restoring them seemed more expensive than rebuilding the church as it was before the war. We are no longer in the 19th century when ruins were in fashion. For simple economic reasons, a church, however remarkable it may be, will be rebuilt, a peace monument will be removed and the traces of war will be erased. This example is a fable: you can 19 Sauvageot


20 D. Diderot, Ruines et paysages. Salon III, 1967, Paris, Hermann, collection Savoir: Lettres, 1995,

p. 348. 21 L. I. Kahn, Silence et lumière, in Ferranti (2005). 22 Ferranti (2005).

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Photo 3 Dresden Frauenkirche

remove a monument against the war to rebuild a monument as it was before the war.23 ” Today, the church has been rebuilt and has regained its baroque splendour (Photo 3); however, the reconstruction by anastylosis, respecting the theories of restoration of the second half of the twentieth century,24 led the rebuilders to distinguish between the original stones and the new ones, a clear contrast for inhabitants and tourists alike. The reconstructed church therefore raises questions through this contrast between the old and the new stones; the message of the disappeared ruin is not completely erased. Still, it is much less powerful today, because it is less visual and extremely attenuated by the aesthetic beauty and technical achievement of the monument.

23 Sauvageot 24 See,

(1995), p. 74. among others, Brandi (1963).


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As we can see, if ruins are “talkative”, it is necessary to pay great attention to the ambiguity of their message; this is one of the difficulties in the management of what R. Robin calls the “fragile pasts25 ”. The message of ruins in terms of risk prevention depends directly on the causes of destruction—in other words, whether or not it is possible to identify an enemy: the message will be substantially different, if the blame for the disaster lies with a person, a social group, or, say, fate. In some cases, those considered responsible for the disaster are alive and more or less easily identifiable (wars, technological accidents, terrorist attacks, fires…). The consequences, reactions, and risk management methods are different if the hazard can be reduced to a fatality, a data considered natural, an earthquake, an eruption, a storm, a cyclone, among others. However, some recent examples—such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (Hernandez 2008; Vale and Campanella 2005; Comfort et al. 2010) or the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009— show that populations affected by disasters presented as “natural” are increasingly blaming risk managers, especially elected officials and entrepreneurs, rather than the hazard itself. Anyhow, even when no immediately responsible person can be identified, the principle of ruin conservation remains the same: the process lies with remembering the disaster, and highlighting the risk and the resilience. While the conservation of ruins has essential consequences in terms of risk culture, this statement must be qualified. The preservation of ruin indicates the memory of the event, and only indirectly the existence of a risk; it is only one element in the creation of a risk culture. Indeed, learning about a past disaster, and imagining that it could happen again, are two distinct mental processes, even if they have a deep and ambiguous connection. On the one hand, risk awareness implies a greater attention to the event than that resulting from a simple reminder of the disaster. On the other hand, risks and disasters involve a wide range of time horizons: not all risks are cyclical, and the reality of the disaster that has occurred is not systematically synonymous with future risk. Securing and preserving ruins is not enough to ensure a proactive process of resilience. The ruin must also be presented, put into context, by means of educational information panels; this presentation of the ruin must be accompanied, as far as possible, by evidence that the risk is still present and real. For example, the developer may have educational or scientific tools reminding of the risk in or near the ruins. In reality, the voluntary conservation of a traumatic ruin in a city is a real urban planning issue.

The Urban Functions of the Ruins Presenting urban ruins also means developing the city around the ruin: turning the remains into a kind of polarity. A violent ruin in an urban environment leaves a spatial, functional, psychological scar: redeveloping the space around the ruin, thanks to a 25 Robin


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proactive conservation policy, makes it possible to restore a function to the space in question, without erasing the trauma and its spatial trace. The urban landscape thus integrates trauma, but in order to sublimate it. It is necessary to come back here on a frequent confusion: the preservation of a monument or ruin in a given state does not systematically lead to the muchdiscredited museumization of city centres, sometimes called mummification. City planners can preserve a ruin as it stands, and bring it to life, thanks to functional and landscaped developments. Moreover, unlike other monuments and slow ruins, violent ruins are not preserved primarily for aesthetic and artistic demonstration purposes. The museumization of city centres comes from the functional limitation of the enhanced elements, for which tourism seems to capture any other function and message of the building or site. Violent ruins can be exempt from this phenomenon, insofar as the immediate and most sensitive message is that of destruction, not the enhancement of artistic production and architectural techniques that generate admiration. In other words, the emotion caused by violent ruin is clearly distinct from the standardized reaction of admiration towards tourist sites or constructions. This is valid if the violent ruin is preserved as it is; if, on the contrary, it is left to abandonment and time, if it thus becomes a slow ruin, its message is attenuated, diluted in a feeling that gradually approaches the tourist admiration if the old monument was of value or the absence of interest for an abandoned urban space if the ruins are those of buildings less artistically interesting. Moreover, the public is not the same as that of a museum or other tourist spaces: for the latter, the public makes an effort to get there; the entrance is often charged, and there is a specific public. In the case of an urban ruin developed as a promenade, for example, the park is freely and frequently accessible to poorer, more local and more diversified populations. This argument, of course, does not differentiate between violent ruins and slow ruins or other monuments, but rather between “museum-like” and lively developments. So how can a ruined element be integrated into the urban space? The very term ruin is associated with negative connotations such as wasteland, decline, misery, destruction; it seems antinomic with the idea of a living city, a dynamic system. Some municipalities have preserved ruins and transformed this space into urban promenades or tourist attractions: they have given the ruins an original urban functionality. Through the reorganization of urban traffic around the ruins, they modified the urban structure according to an element that they considered as a potential rather than as a data from the past acting as a constraint. The range of new functions is rather varied, ranging from small urban parks for walking and meditation, such as inGemona26 or London (Christchurch Greyfriars, St Duncan in the East, see Photo 4) to the transformation of a site such as the Colosseum in Rome as a huge roundabout,27 through open-air concerts (Church of the Holy Spirit in Palermo, Royaumont Abbey), or the restoration of original functions (Church of Remembrance), not to mention of 26 Le Blanc A., «La ville 30 ans après une catastrophe sismique: traces, identité, renouveau. L’exemple de Gémone (Italie)», in Vallat et al. (2009). 27 Federici (2008).


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Photo 4 London Saint Duncan-in-the-East, 2012

course the museum and educational function. If the ruin has been almost total, and the urban space is therefore open, relatively flat, the place can be appropriately chosen by municipalities as an emergency gathering area, in the event of an earthquake for example, after minimal development (consolidation of the ruins, access to a water point, traffic development …). This variety of new functionalities and the creation of new urban dynamics could be measured, in specific cases, by different instruments: flow assessment (of inhabitants or tourists), questionnaires to the local population and visitors to the ruins (regarding the understanding of these ruins), measurement of visits to the municipality’s website concerning the ruin, assessment of the inclusion of ruins in legal and urban planning documents. Around monuments and ruins that have been deliberately preserved, there are often free spaces, transitions between “sacred” spaces and everyday urban space (Halbwachs 1950)28 : empty spaces in front of churches, squares in front of monuments, redesigned urban furniture around destroyed monuments … New urban spaces are created around these monuments and ruins: squares or gardens to open the view, to stage the majesty of the monumental space, but also to give the feeling of the sacred, the idea that we leave the everyday and banal space to enter a space that offers a message, which needs to be respected (Ricci 2006, pp. 20–21). In short, the layout of the urban space around the monument is what creates a different perspective, what makes it monumental. The logic is no different when it comes to traumatic ruins. If the risk management message is to be strengthened, the ruins must also be separated 28 Halbwachs

showed how collective memory needed a specific space to be built on.

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from the daily urban fabric; the passer-by’s gaze must be captured and directed. A ruin in a well-planned and neat urban space is more shocking and raises more questions than a ruin in the middle of urban wastelands. The spatial discontinuity then reflects the temporal discontinuity of the traumatic shock.

Conclusions It is difficult to make a general judgement on the success of projects for the conservation of traumatic urban ruins, as this depends on the achievements on a case-by-case basis and the nature of the message regarding disaster memory and risk awareness. However, specific surveys and urban developments, tend to show that these choices are fruitful, when the project carries a carefully considered message and the implementation is integrated into an overall development of the surrounding urban space. In a survey I conducted among the inhabitants of Gemona, I asked whether, to their knowledge, there were still visible traces of the 1976 earthquake. Only 11% answered in the negative, while 42% cited the Church of St Mary of the Angels. The preliminary survey is not statistically representative, but this figure, thirty years after the disaster, is quite significant. The municipality’s bold urban planning choice seems to have contributed to the risk culture of the local population, and to accelerating a process of proactive resilience. The Church of Remembrance in Berlin, like the ruins of St. Nicholas in Hamburg, are now small urban polarities, both tourist targets and recognized symbols. On the other hand, the tourist heritage choices of the bridges in Rome and Avignon, or the discreet development of the ruins of the churches in Cologne (Photo 5), do not seem to have brought back memories of disasters and therefore risk awareness. Ruin management is ambiguous and delicate, particularly in the case of traumatic ruins in urban areas. The messages conveyed are powerful and extremely political in nature.29 Indeed, when urban planning actors manage to exploit a ruin to turn it into a monumental spatial polarity, urban memory is reshaped, urban identity is redefined in depth, and a feeling of a political nature is generated in the population. Risk management, the designation of an enemy, the shaping of a message and an urban heritage identity, the orientation of the population’s memory, are all factors in the politicization of a particularly delicate process. The traces of disasters can thus be read as “symbolic weapons” (Sauvageot 1995, p. 60) used to “legitimize the attempts to revisit history” (Jeudy 2001, p. 10). Paradoxically, these “political ruins” can also be interpreted as a sign of urban vitality, as Marc Augé says in Le temps en ruines (2003). For him, ruins sometimes allow people to rediscover a meaning, a time, a world, that modern societies struggle to capture. The excessive heritage building, the refusal of risk, the standardization of certain lifestyles, would offer a spectacle too staged to be real and alive; but “the 29 See Le Goic P., «Traces et politiques de la trace: Brest, Lorient, Saint-Nazaire», in Vallat C., Philifert P., Le Blanc A. (dir), 2009.


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Photo 5 Cologne, Madonna in den Trummern, 2010

ruins, they still give sign of life”30 thanks to their evocative power, their enigmas, and their temporalities both long and fragile. Let us not forget that resilience means returning to a state of equilibrium, but also, and above all, that a local life is being re-established.

References Andre M (1986) Cathédrale de Reims. Monum Hist 145(1986):113–114 Auge M (2003) Le temps en ruines. Galilée, Paris Brandi C (1963) Teoria del Restauro. Editions Storia e Letteratura, Rome Choay F (1992) L’allégorie du patrimoine. Seuil, Paris Choay F (2005) Anthropologie de l’espace. Seuil, Paris 30 Auge

(2003) p. 131.

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Comfort LK, Boin A, Demchak C (2010) Designing resilience. Preparing to extrem events. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh Dovers SR, Handmer JW (1992) Uncertainty, sustainability and change. Glob Environ Change 2(4):262–276 Faut-il restaurer les ruines? Actes des colloques de la Direction du Patrimoine, mémorial de Caen, Paris, Ministère de la Culture, Entretiens du Patrimoine (1991) Federici F (2008) Vincere il tabù dell’intoccabilità. Il Giornale Dell’Arte 01(10/2008):48 Feilden BM, Jokilehto J (1993) Management guidelines for world cultural heritage sites. ICCROMUNESCO-ICOMOS, Rome Ferranti F (2005) L’Esprit des ruines. Hachette, Paris Fournier E (2008) Paris en ruines. Du Paris haussmannien au Paris communard. Paris, Imago Halbwachs M (1950) La mémoire collective. PUF, Paris Hernandez J (2008) Le tourisme macabre à La Nouvelle-Orléans après Katrina: résilience et mémorialisation des espaces affectés par des catastrophes majeures. Norois 208, 2008-3 Jackson JB (2005) De la nécessité des ruines. De la nécessité des ruines et autres sujets, Paris, Editions du Linteau Jeudy H-P (2001) La machinerie patrimoniale. Sens and Tonka, Paris Lacroix S (2007) Ce que nous disent les ruines. La fonction critique des ruines. Paris, L’Harmattan Ricci A (2006) Attorno alla nuda pietra. Archeologia e città tra identità e progetto. Rome, Donzelli Robin R (2001) Berlin, chantiers. Essai sur les passés fragiles, Paris, Stock Sauvageot J (dir) (1995) Architecture monumentale et reconstruction, Actes du colloque des 8-9 décembre 1994 à Rennes, Rennes, Ecole régionale des beaux-arts Stanford C (2000) On preserving our ruins. J Architect Conserv 3:28–43 Stone M (2004) A memory in ruins? Publ Archaeol 3(2004):131–144 Vale JV, Campanella (2005) The Resilient City. Oxford University Press, New York, How modern cities recover from disaster Vallat C, Philifert P, Le Blanc A (dir) (2009) Pérennité urbaine, ou la ville par-delà ses métamorphoses. Volume I: Traces, Paris, L’Harmattan

Architectural Trends: Cultural and Social Affinities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) Elša Turkuši´c Juri´c

Abstract Collective memory and the structure of it, are central to the formation of cultural identity. Architecture is highly significant in processes of identification, being a mediator in which identity is manifested or constructed, but also a medium for the (re)construction of identity. Following WWI, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) became part of a new multi-ethnic state: Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Essentially, this chapter appraises the interwar period (1918–41) regarding identity and architecture, with case study work in Sarajevo, where the first shot of WWI was fired in the well repeated war narratives. With the breakup of Yugoslavia (1991–92), the new BiH state has undergone a long slow period of economic, political and social transition. By comparing the two eras (1918–41) and (1991–present), it is hoped to gauge current attitudes regarding architecture built in the interwar era. Key questions remain, is this architectural expression just part of the history of Modernism in general, or is it a part of the collective memory, cultural and identity of BiH. Can this heritage become a cultural legacy for contemporary architectural discourse and new generations? Keywords Sarajevo · Architecture · Modern heritage · Identity · Transitional process · Memory

Introduction This research proposes “cognition that the manner in which a building is designed can engage people in a way that stimulates the collection of memory” (Trieb 2009, XIV). Collective memory and structure of it, are central to formation of cultural identity, being integral to society. Architecture, in these processes of identification, is a mediator in which identity is manifested or constructed, but also, it is a medium for the (re)construction of identity. E. T. Juri´c (B) Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architectural Design, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 G. O’Reilly (ed.), Places of Memory and Legacies in an Age of Insecurities and Globalization, Key Challenges in Geography,



E. T. Juri´c

In this context is appraised the interwar period (1918–1941) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (commonly called Bosnia or BiH) regarding questions of identity with a focus on the role architecture played. Analysis of public and residential buildings in Sarajevo have shown both awareness and interest for the built heritage including the rising principles of Modernism—a style or movement in the arts and architecture that aimed to depart significantly from classical and traditional forms, despite the period being turbulent, unpredictable and marked by social stagnation and speculation. With the breakup of Yugoslavia, since 1991 the new BiH state has undergone slow economic, political and social transitions. Comparing the two eras (1918–41) and (1991-present), it is intended to evaluate current attitudes regarding architecture built in the interwar period. Key questions include: is this architectural expression just a part of the history of modernism in general, or is it a part of the collective memory and identity of BiH. Can this heritage become a cultural legacy for contemporary architectural discourse and new generations?

Historical-Cultural Contexts Box: X Key Events in the History of Bosnia and Herzegovina The Slavic medieval Kingdom of Bosnia was annexed by the Ottomans in 1463 that impacted greatly on every aspect of its geography; following the Congress of Berlin (1878) it was seized by the Austro-Hungarian empire. With defeat of the Alliance powers in WWI, and redrawing of the political map of Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina became part of a new multi-ethnic state: Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–41). For the first time in history, South Slavic‘s countries were organized in one common state. Essentially, BiH lost its independence and integrity by becoming a part of the new state. Following World War II, BiH was granted full republic status by the communist government in the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The new Yugoslav republic also acquired the territories of Istria, Rijeka, and Zadar from Italy. Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled as president until his death in 1980. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia (1991–92), BiH proclaimed its independence, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995.

In the historical context, the interwar period (1918–1941) is appraised: questions of identity—cultural, national, collective, and processes of constructing and representation were a significant challenge for the new state. Practices have reflected on the development of BiH, regarding its history, memory and traditional values. Here focus is on what role architecture played. Analysis of public and residential buildings in Sarajevo have shown both awareness and interest for the built heritage including the rising principles of Modernism.

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Architectural Dialogue: Human-Environmental Relationships Architectural work builds a dialogue with the environment, it is situated in the time of its creation thus becoming a testimony of an era. Besides its functionality and atmosphere, architecture provides us with information that enriches our social reality. The issue of cultural continuity and integration has been associated with contemporary architectural notions since the first decades of the twentieth century in a specific way. Due to diverse and often contradictory interpretations as well as today’s intensive social and urban changes, this issue still poses a dilemma. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the aspect of the disintegration of cultural continuity in all its complexity. It is extremely important to recognize, through architectural reference to cultural identity, how architecture interprets elements of cultural continuity and how it participates in the manner of its upgrading. Analyses of this issue is guided by motives and interests deriving from daily observation and participation in a complex but specific cultural milieu. Explored is the everyday spatial framework through which architecture, in its wide application and diversity, can arouse memory and achieve strong symbolism of space. Research seeks to get an insight into how these issues are addressed and whether they are raised at all by everyday architecture in post-conflict, post-socialist and transitional societies. The term everyday architecture implies the one whose fundamental responsibility and function are not related to the preservation of memory, such as memorial complexes, monuments, mausoleums, museums, and so forth. Additionally, selected buildings thematize (collective) memory through exploring intensity and character of social change and reality, unlike most recent built memorial monuments that formalize this issue. The current BiH social environment is undergoing certain stages of transformation on the path of trans-national integration, as part of the (re)construction of the European cultural, geographic and political-economic space. Also, given the specificity of its historical development, BiH is undergoing a transition of not only external but also internal character, manifested by the dimensions of the post-socialist (transition from socialist/centralized to a capitalist-neoliberal market system) and post-conflict (Bosnian war—1992–95) social transformation. These threefold processes or levels of social transformation in the built space are manifested in different, very complex and often contradictory ways, giving architecture an acritical and asocial role. In everyday life, the architecture/architect plays a significant role in reshaping the existing environment through its spatial and temporal decomposition. Instead of upgrading it, architectural tendencies are focused on: complementing the cultural and social context with the “missing” layers/elements from the treasury of the past and privatizing and “colorfully densifying” the public space. The result is a non-critical and careless reaction to the inherited spatial, cultural and architectural achievements of previous periods and generations. Hence the question arises as to whether the process of building cultural identity and continuity is always new and shaped over, or is it generated by dynamic transformation processes.


E. T. Juri´c

Is there an architectural memory-experience and knowledge passed on by previous generations of architects thus creating a cultural stratification? With its multiple cultural and social role, architecture shows that it is a limitedly independent discipline within transformations of social and cultural context, because although it may be determined by representations of ideology and power, it is primarily a carrier of the lasting cultural values of humans and society. In this context, the research is based on the model of comparison of two historical eras of BiH society, the period between two world wars, and present period since 1995, through elaboration of certain activities or accomplishments within the pronounced social phenomena of these periods: • Character of building and political ideologies. • Relationship between private and public domain. • New social needs and new spatial program.

Architecture and Socio-cultural Processes Generally, society represents the human constructed world in which people base their complex relationship with themselves, other people and nature, with the material and spiritual world. Social order, constant social change, and interaction of people are the three basic factors that shape any society. Psychoanalytical theories attribute a significant role of harmonizing the relationship between the individual and society that ultimately leads to the achievement of mutual (social) stability, to the social character which distinguishes one society from another—changes within society are associated with the change of social character. According to Erich Fromm, social character is a synthesis of the personality structure of an average individual and socio-economic structure, but also of all other elements of the structure such as religion, politics, philosophy, culture, science, technology and so forth, which are in a dynamic and dialectic interaction. The social structure and social character shape each other mutually in the way that the structure of society shapes up the social character of the members of society. And the social character acts either “as a cement provides the social structure with even greater stability or, under special circumstances, as a dynamite that seeks to destroy the social structure” (Fromm 1986, 143). One of the specific elements of social character and social structure is the culture that integrates or connects them, while simultaneously connecting all remaining elements within the structure. Culture is a very broad and complex social phenomenon that only in the interaction with material and intangible aspects of human activity, spiritual and intellectual achievements (art, religion, language, poetry, philosophy, cities, buildings, symbols, technology, economy, etc.), manifests itself as a means used by both society and individuals to express their values, meanings, visions, ideas and norms of behavior. Socialization takes place through “imitation”, which is the assumption of cultural elements and the understanding and adoption of mediated values by relating to them

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(identification)—the harmonization of the value system of a person, group or community with higher or broader value systems of society. However, these values are not absolute; they are part of an ever-changing cultural tradition—they are integrated into a person through interaction, while society, given its continuous transformation, requires them to be replaced with new ones, i.e. to be re-defined. In order to be able to reconcile these relationships, it is “necessary to have a sense of value and cultural equality, i.e. the sense of identity” (Kovaˇcevi´c 2013, 67). Given the abstract and complex construction of identity, it is important to recognize and more closely identify the elements that initiate and participate in the process of identification, as well as the elements through which these processes take place (transfer, reading, transformation, and adoption of cultural values). In order for the identification process to be accomplished, since identity is a phenomenological notion, it requires transfer, medium or interpretation of that content or basic knowledge (its symbolic meaning) into the signifying and experiencing sphere of action, or the sphere of reality. It is the character or model of how this process of transmission is carried out that captures the essence of the relationship between architecture and cultural identity. Architecture, language, and art belong both with elements of basic knowledge and transmitters of that basic knowledge. Namely, just like cultural identity, they have dual character as they are representatives of culture and society, and at the same time constitute the system and mechanism of cultural designation. Analyses made on the parts of cultural identity and cultural values that are found within the forms and structures of identification appropriation through architecture, reveal much about the constitution and aspirations of that society. A stance on the past is always topical as it represents part of human existence and reality formed within the socio-cultural worldview. Collective memory, the way it is structured and the memory intensity are fundamental parts of the process of cultural identification and the construction of cultural continuity. Considering the phenomena of remembering and forgetting in conjunction with slowness and speed, Juhani Pallasmaa concludes that “architecture has to safeguard memories and protect the authenticity and independence of human experience. Architecture is fundamentally the art form of emancipation that makes us understand and remember who we are.” (Pallasmaa, 2009, 35).

Modern Architectural Expressions History has shown that many architects do not belong to a particular or singular discourse. They often switch from one to another, depending on demands thrown at them by the context and their own philosophy, as well as the effort of architects to experiment thus pushing the boundaries of architectural approach within the general divergence of architectural culture. In general, such ambivalence of architectural contemporary practice is typical of modern architecture. From the historical overview of the protagonists of modernism, the critic and historian of architecture


E. T. Juri´c

Hans Ibelings states that modernism, in the early years between the two world wars, overlaps, interfaces and connects with other expressions such as Art Deco, expressionism, traditionalism, regionalism, classicism, functionalism, and so forth (Ibelings 2011,157–158). The success of that overlapping as contemporary reference to the existing contextual circumstances and needs of the society depended primarily on the individual characteristics and sensibilities of the architects. On the other hand, this flexibility, as the essence of modern expression itself, is not exclusively manifested in the adaptation to the cultural context, but also in all aspects of social structure. Some authors whose research is not solely based on the Western or Euro-centric social and cultural milieu, but within the post-social realities of the twentieth century point out that it only seems paradoxical that architectural modernism, within “different contexts and ideological environments, could be mobilized for constructing different national and cultural identities” (Ignjatovi´c 2007, 255). Just as today’s iconic buildings of the “star” architects are “buying the identity” of today’s urban centers, putting them on the global tourist map, neutral and reduced language of modern architecture in the twentieth century could have also served to create a “desired identity”—most often by hybrid selection of desired and ideologically suitable elements from the past.

The Historical Context of BIH Society The public role of architecture and degree of intensity of collective memory as well as the way of their activation in the processes of cultural identification are more pronounced within intense social change. In BiH, the whole twentieth century was marked by intense social transformations—transitions from one social and political system to another, which were often completely different. These social transitions, modern by their attribute, have in a certain way formatted the present-day social character of BiH society. At the same time, it was conditioned by the geographical position of Bosnia and Herzegovina—between the Mediterranean and Central Europe, and between the Orient and the West. The very core of BiH society consists of unity in diversity, unity of all the cultural distinctions which disunite it at the same time. The first beginnings of modernization and Europeanization coincide with the entry of BiH into the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1878—which after four centuries ceases to be the westernmost province of the Ottoman Empire. After 40 years spent under the centralized monarchy, at the end of World War I, the territory of BiH becomes an integral part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (called the Kingdom of Yugoslavia since 1929), and after World War II as one of six equal republics enters the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The SFRY period is certainly most marked by intensive urbanization, modernization and industrialization of society at all levels. After the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia and wars that took place in the 1990s, BiH and the other republics become sovereign and independent countries.

Architectural Trends: Cultural and Social Affinities …


BiH is currently on the path of European integration and a potential candidate for EU membership, since 2003. However, for the purpose of this research, comparison will be made between the second-interwar period (i.e. the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) and the fourth—present period. Because of their similar characteristics: suspense and political uncertainty; slow socio-economic development and lack of government investments. However, another motive for making this comparison lies in the character and mode of development of the architectural profession in this region. Ivan Štraus, one of the most renowned Bosnian and Yugoslav architect and architecture chronicler, explains that local architects working in the interwar period and “adopting European trends in contemporary architecture, (…) unburdened by any earlier models or imitation of the past” became originators of contemporary architectural concept in BiH. (Štraus 2010, 23). In the context of the continuity of the development of these progressive ideas characterized by the diversity of approaches to solving tasks, it is necessary to vaporize the present moment. More serious intentions to regenerate the architectural profession were initiated in 2010 by the publication of a book with quite a symbolic title “RestartArchitecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina 1995–2010”. It provides an overview of the best achievements in the area of architecture and urbanism in the first 15 years of the post-war period. The selector of works, architecture historian and critic, Hans Ibelings explains the basic aim of this endeavour launched by the BiH Association of Architects: “I think, or at least hope, that this selection gives an impression of the merits of post-war architectural culture, a culture that in many respects had to begin all over again, had to pick up the thread, break new ground, and has done this in an intriguing manner”. (Ibelings 2010, 13). The very name of the project points to a new beginning in society and architecture and seems to be a logical choice given the recent wartime destruction as well as the challenges of an unpredictable global market. However, it is impossible to negate the fact that a restart is accomplished within the existing space and community, with all their inherited patterns, meanings, and characteristics.

The Interwar Period In 1918, after WWI, Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. This event marks the first uniting of the South Slavs into a common independent state. The young new state was now comprised of parties and nations that shortly before had waged wars. The forthcoming post-war and new period was accompanied by constant administrative and political changes that would lead to the subsequent social unrest. Seeking an identity at national, religious and ethnic level becomes even more pronounced and complicated than in the previous period— since it was necessary to bridge the cultural differences in order to create an authentic and ahistorical Yugoslav national identity. Within its historical borders, Bosnia and Herzegovina was divided into six areas that were “subjected to a general centralist


E. T. Juri´c

model of integral Yugoslavism” thus questioning for the first time its political and customary-cultural integrity (Lovrenovi´c 2010, 212). The short period of the Monarchy, in general, signifies a political crisis, economic and urban stagnation, particularly in BiH—it remained mostly a rural country, with no major urban interventions or construction of significant governmental and public buildings. However, a majority of what was built in this period is certainly a precursor of a high-quality and contemporary architecture, with residential architecture as predominant (urban villas and residential buildings). The bearers of building ventures and ideas were private entrepreneurs (wealthy citizens) and institutions such as cultural and educational societies (with national prefix), cooperatives, and the like. European incentive for modern expressions on architecture and culture, alongside the modest and limited activity of domestic avant-garde associations, find their adequate concretization and realization thanks to local architects educated in Central European centres. Working in the twenties and thirties, they “sought through humane predicative to break previous conservative perceptions and not to follow in the steps of misconception of the architecture burdened by national-folkloristic ideas” (Ugljen 1967, 47). It is obvious that the very (fashionable) character and taste of the customers enabled the dominance of modern architectural language.

The New Social Reality After the ravages of the 1992–1995 war and urbicide, accompanied by the break-up of Yugoslavia, BiH found itself devastated and faced with the challenge of gaining independence and sovereignty. According to the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war in December 1995, BiH consists of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (made of 10 cantons), the Republika Srpska entity and the Brˇcko District which is under international patronage. The established entity division is artificial as it does not follow the natural, topographic, economic, cultural and historic characteristics of the region. The issue of space, being an important economic and human resource, thus becomes more complicated within already complex and huge bureaucratic mechanisms. The process of transition from a socialist and centralized system to a free-market model is slow due to certain political speculations. Globally, the strengthening of private interests and short-termism is reflected in BiH through the loss of importance and poly-centricity of public space, emphasis on the market value of architecture, consumerist culture. (Mustafi´c, 2019).1 Given the level of wartime destruction and incommensurable human tragedy in the past war, attitude towards heritage and history is part of everyday life, but it is built in a very selective manner. In this sense, the reconstruction and construction of society, community, and cities take too long, because BiH still lacks social maturity to cope with the challenges of the unpredictable global era. And on the other hand, there is no clearly articulated concept of common interest and the common good. 1,


Architectural Trends: Cultural and Social Affinities …


Character of Building and Political Ideologies One of the few public buildings in Sarajevo built by the government in the interwar period (1929) is the monumental building of the main branch of the State Mortgage Bank (today’s Central Bank of BiH), according to the winning design of Belgrade architect Milan Zlokovi´c. It is located in the central part of the main city street. At the time of construction, the building challenged the possibility of achieving monumentality through a new architectural language vocationally opted for by the architect: proportionality and static of the building’s composition are achieved by clean and symmetrical volumes, the use of large window openings, honest use of materials as well as the genuine treatment of the facades (northern or the courtyard facing part of the building with apartments is not monumental but modest) (Fig. 1). Although being modern by its basic concept, the building was labelled by expert (Belgrade) public as a fine example of national style. A shallow sculptural decoration was applied to the facade—an allegorical depiction of the human figures representing: Decorative Arts, Architecture, Industry, and Agriculture—the work of sculptor Vladimir Zagorudnjak. The very use of decorative ornamental art, its way of presentation and its motive, show the intention of determining the character of a building, thus transcending its typological or functional affiliation. Namely, the use of allegoric artistic depiction served to represent the “Yugoslav identity “, thus Fig. 1 The State Mortgage Bank (photo A. Kreco)


E. T. Juri´c

assigning the building an ideological and political role. This form of “engaged facade plastic” was used on many Belgrade buildings whose semiotic language rendered “reproductions” of the ornamental stylization of the specific body of work of Croatian and Yugoslav sculptor Ivan Meštrovi´c (Kosovo cycle, the “Avala” monument) sought to visually portray racial Yugoslav identity. (Ignjatovi´c 2007, 270–275.) “While the syntax of architecture and associated sculptural decoration was academic and quite similar to the established models that were considered to be the universal heritage of European identity, their semiotics was moving towards building a notion of local, Yugoslav identity.” (Ignjatovi´c 2007, 271). Whether the decoration used was decided on by the architect or the investor, which in this case is the state seeking stronger symbolism of the building, remains open to debate (Miloševi´c 1997, 165–166). During the commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of World War I, triggered by the Sarajevo assassination at the very heart of the historic core, the issue of meaning and symbolism of the act and its perpetrators is quite open and subject to diverse interpretations. Members of that time group Young Bosnia, striving to gain freedom and a common homeland for the South Slavs, have lost the status of national heroes in today’s BiH society. There is no official stance or a single political or social consensus on their role in the world’s and Bosnian history. Therefore, the ways of interpreting this global scale tragedy are represented on a modest formal level. “With such a momentous event to commemorate, you might have thought the city and national authorities would be filling the streets with historical re-enactments and using any available venue to stage cultural events exploring the many human stories and tragedies unleashed by the Sarajevo shooting. But they are not.” (Damon 2014).2 Artists are much more concerned with this topic and explore it in a much broader context and with a time distance devoid of ideological determinants.3 At the commemoration, the most important event was the ceremonial opening of the reconstructed City Hall “Vije´cnica” (former University library since 1954.) that was destroyed at the very beginning of the war in the 1990’s. Such a decision is emotional and bears symbolism that is the best explanation of the reasons for this unarticulated attitude towards the “Sarajevo assassination”. The past war and its effects have not yet been overcome. Box: The Siege of Sarajevo (1992–94), Destruction of Heritage and Books On 25 August 1992, Serbian shelling during the Siege of Sarajevo caused the complete destruction of the library. Among the losses were about 700 manuscripts and incunabula (book, pamphlet, or broadside printed in Europe before the year 1501) and a unique collection of Bosnian serial publications, some from the middle of the nineteenth century Bosnian cultural revival. Before the attack, the library held 1.5 million volumes and over 155,000 rare books and manuscripts. Some citizens and librarians tried to save some books while they were under sniper fire, at least one person died.4 2 Damon,

D., Bosnia and WW1: The living legacy of Gavrilo Princip, magazine-28016999. 3 See the movie Death in Sarajevo (2016), by Danis Tanovi´ c. 4 Sarajevo.

Architectural Trends: Cultural and Social Affinities …


Photographs of the magnificent library in flames and the agony of powerless firefighters have travelled the world and are a direct association to the days of besieged Sarajevo (April 1992–February 29, 1996). After the reconstruction of the City Hall, which took more than two decades, the city regained its previous silhouette. Being one of the most famous city’s landmarks, the City Hall was indispensable in all the city’s postcards and photos. It was built in the period of the Austrian Monarchy in 1896 (architects Witek and Ivekovi´c) and its large decorative volume was peripherally integrated in the corpus of the Ottoman-time Bašˇcaršija. It was constructed as a central domed building, in pseudo-Moorish style—specific form of eclecticism which sought to transpose decorative elements of Islamic culture into historicist style. Only, in the case of the City Hall, this interpretation is also spatial, not only formal and decorative. The renovation project restored the City Hall to its original purpose, though solely ceremonial. The seat of the city government is in another building, so the City Hall is used for