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Viken Berberian in the NYRB: Armenia’s Tragedy in Shushi — “Will the apocryphal stories continue or will one day both sides acknowledge the other’s memories?”

23 Dec

Will the apocryphal stories continue or will one day both sides acknowledge the other’s memories? For answers, I revisited the pages of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. “The city of Zora is like a honeycomb,” he wrote, “in whose cells each of us can place the things he wants to remember: names of famous men, virtues, numbers, vegetable and mineral classifications, dates of battles, constellations, parts of speech.” And what if Shushi, too, were to become a honeycomb in whose cells memories coexisted without vitiating or privileging one over the other? What if we included in those cells not just the names of famous women, places, fictions, and nonfictions that we have been taught or lived and gotten to know, but other such signs, peoples, and meanings that can be acquired outside ourselves and communities? Can we not meet halfway in those liminal spaces to build new histories of inclusion?

[my emphases]
SHOUSHI, NAGORNO-KARABAKH – OCTOBER 12: A view of the inside of a church which was struck twice by UAV strike on October 12, 2020 in Shoushi, Nagorno-Karabakh. On the day after a ceasefire was broken between Azerbaijan and Armenia, war continues to wage between the two countries over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital was left largely untouched by the latest spate of Azeri shelling, with fighting in the south intensifying and the city of Hadrut sustaining the heaviest damage. (Photo by Alex McBride/Getty Images)

See full text of article below.

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