How Should Societies Remember Their Sins? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Does Confronting Our History Build a Better Future?

Recent attempts to confront difficult history appear to be dividing the United States and entangling communities in cultural and legal conflict. But historians, social justice activists, and many others argue that grappling with the sins of the past, and the way they reverberate into the present, is a necessary foundation for reimagining the future. What are the best and most …

How Should Societies Remember Their Sins? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Why Isn’t Remembering Enough to Repair?

The Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel did not believe in collective guilt. Instead, he asked for repair, and for holding the post-World War II generation of Germans responsible “not for the past, but for the way it remembers the past. And for what it does with the memory of the past.” Other societies and communities have taken up Wiesel’s call—at the …

How Should Societies Remember Their Sins? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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What Kind of Monuments Do We Deserve?

Beyond debates over keeping statues up or tearing them down, and changing the names of schools and streets, lie more fundamental questions at the intersection of personal and public memory. Whom do we remember, who remembers, and whom does remembering serve? What do we owe to those who lived before us and those who come after us? How can we …

How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth?

Since the beginning of time, people have gazed up at the stars and wondered: Are we alone in the universe? Now, this question is stoking controversy as the U.S. military continues its release of videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena”—about which former President Barack Obama admitted, “We don’t know exactly what they are.” It’s time we put together a game plan—preferably …

Can California Lead a New Reproductive Rights Movement? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Can California Lead a New Reproductive Rights Movement?

In the weeks preceding the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Gov. Gavin Newsom called on California to continue to serve as a “beacon of hope” for those seeking abortions. But even within the state, geography often determines individuals’ reproductive rights—access to abortion, but also access to prenatal and pregnancy care, contraception, sex education, and institutions that support parents. …

What Is Our Responsibility for Our Government’s Wars? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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What Is Our Responsibility for Our Government’s Wars?

It’s easy to pin responsibility for war on political leaders or soldiers who commit the worst atrocities, from rape and torture to bombings of civilians and ethnic cleansing. But experts note that, because of technology and other factors, modern conflicts in particular “[blur] the lines among soldiers and civilians, winners and losers.” And the injuries that accompany war—moral as well …