Every year, the months of January-April are crowded with traumatic commemorations in both Armenian and Azerbaijani national calendars. Seeing the bitter online exchanges during this time, one could be forgiven for thinking that history should be left alone.
Yet societies affected by violence need an internal dialogue on the violent past. Many conflicts generate complex combinations of victims and perpetrators, necessitating difficult conversations for post-war societies on how they distinguish right and wrong – even under the most extraordinary circumstances imposed by war. This imperative is reflected in the fact that reconciliation is no longer seen in peacebuilding practice as a utopian aspiration or a ‘soft’ add-on. Questioning how its history is transmitted – what is foregrounded and whose voices are omitted – is healthy for any nation. This is all the more relevant in the South Caucasus today as a new generation with no memory of 1990s violence grows up.