Impossible Music? On Genocide as Silence (Rwanda, Auschwitz and Beyond)
How can we start after all is over? How can we begin after the end? Genocide is an operation which seeks the ultimate end and finds it. Therefore genocide is irrevocable, irreversible, and definite. It brings a closure after which all the efforts to restore what has been before are futile. Therefore we cannot begin. A start is impossible so we are forced to adopt a different perspective. If something is to be said or written, it has to be taken from the closure. This is neither to give affirmation nor permission. Yet, one cannot simply begin after the end and so this text does not really begin. It is already over just like the experiences it tries to embrace. If we look from a political perspective, it wallows in certain powerlessness. The text is neither a call nor a program. It is not positive in any sense. It just tries to be and fails but in this motion it expresses a stubborn if impossible hope. This hope is trapped between two endings with no beginning to attach itself to. One can see it as having been already utterly destroyed by the irreversibility of genocide. But one can also stubbornly stick to it as precisely this – hope destroyed.
This is a lesson taught to us by Theodor W. Adorno with whom this text converses. Yet the text is not a reconstruction of Adorno’s pensée. Rather it can be viewed as an act of co-failure. Just...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.