Even in United States below surface run dark currents repressed memories such as slavery and the genocide of native peoples

'After wars, societies are traumatized, above and beyond the physical death, injury, destruction, and cost... One way to deal with trauma is denial - put the war behind, never look back, and move on... Stanly Cohen writes that denial occurs when "people, organizations, govbernments or whole societies are presented with information that is too disturbing, threatening, or anomalous to be fully absorbed or openly acknowledged. The information is therfore somehow repressed, disavowed, pushed aside, or reinterpreted... Denial is understood as an unconscious defence  mechanism for coping with guilt, anxiety, and other disturbing emotions aroused by reality." Denial causes societies to repeat "stupid destructive things" withou even realizing they are repetitions...' pgs 306 - 307

 

During and after war societies arrive at unwritten agreements about can be publicly remembered but individual memories do not disappear

“But denial is always partial; some information is always registered. This paradox or doubleness – knowing and not knowing – is the heart of the concept. Sometimes, and this is especially true during and after wars, societies arrive at unwritten agreements about what can be publicly remembered and acknowledged ...[For example] the media image of the Gulf War was a masterpiece of collusive denial... Not did the public really want to know more. Given the past suffereing of societies around the world, even those that seem relatively tranquil now are still dealing with the terrible histories of atrocities and social suffering...In a society such as China, at peace for decades, memories of famines and civil wars still lurk....”pg 307

Just read

Winning the War on War – Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide

by Joshua S. Goldstein

Denial's role in confusion is war getting worse in recent years

“Denial plays an important role in our confusion about whether war has been getting better or worse in recent years. Precisely because we remain in denial about past traumas, we cannot accurately compare them with today's situation. Sometimes denial is literal, such as when the government of Sudan states that attacks on civilians in Darfur did not occur. Other times, denial is interpretive – for example, the attacks occurred but they are not what they seem; … A third type acknowledges acts but claims they were justified. Sometimes all three types occur together: The massacre did not take place, anyway, it was accidental, and the victims what they deserved!” Joshua S. Goldstein Pg 306

What does this mean?


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