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On Commemoration

Global Reflections upon Remembering War

Edited By Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro

How, in the twenty-first century, can we do commemoration better? In particular, how can commemoration contribute to post-war reconciliation and reconstruction? In this book, a global roster of distinguished writers, artists, musicians, religious leaders, military veterans and scholars debate these questions and ponder the future of commemoration. They include the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, the award-winning novelists Aminatta Forna and Rachel Seiffert, and the human rights lawyer and Gifford Baillie Prize-winner Philippe Sands. Polemics and reflections together with poetry and creative prose movingly illuminate a subject that speaks to our common humanity.

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From ‘Daniel’ (Patrick Toland)

Extract

patrick toland

This is a short extract from a poem entitled ‘Daniel’, which addresses a Northern Irish Nationalist family’s unspoken taboo story of a British soldier’s intervention in the survival of their child during the Troubles.

For the soldier in 1970s Belfast who keptthe generators running in the Mater Hospital

…What I call alchemy, others say is fraud.

After forty years it’s also hard to know who was lion, thorn, den.

I had an uncle who said remember the godless believe in the same God.

Maybe he saved me. Maybe I saved him. Saved him from what we all

were becoming – paper torn, paper thin. Maybe it was him that hanged

on my slim shoulders a mantle. Maybe him

that hanged on the moment a form of blessing, an urge for benediction.

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