Breaking the cycle

Whether defending human rights on an international stage, checking facts from the frontline, processing traumatic experiences over a lifetime, or even questioning the language you have spoken since childhood – all matter in the collective fight for justice.

Eurozine EditorialSarah Waring

Invading and absconding with children, indoctrinating them, destroying artefacts and literature, forcibly replacing local political actors – Oleksandra Matviichuk describes these crimes, when seen collectively, as genocide. Speaking at the Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna, after her Speech to Europe, the director of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Center of Civil Liberties stresses how certain definitions within international law don’t match the Russo-Ukrainian war’s reality. She believes it’s time to recognize the gravity of systematically obliterating the cultural foundations of a nation. Could it be that she wants to take colonialism to court?

Ongoing repression

Myroslav Laiuk, writing about upholding Ukrainian traditions, emphasizes the historic and current ‘repressive colonial politics of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation.’ He identifies elderly Ukrainians, who ‘remember the Great Famine, the Second World War, the post-war famine, Afghanistan, the gangster wars of the 1990s,’ as ‘fonts of memory: they recall the queues for basic necessities in Soviet times; know the recipes they cooked during the famine; remember the old cafés located where new apartment blocks stand; recount stories about banned books and censorship; retell how the intellectual elites were arrested.’ In each of these examples, reminiscing about the old days is tantamount to reliving trauma. And those who have survived so far aren’t experiencing a peaceful retirement….