The Nahrein Network


Memorialisation of Troubled Pasts

Team: Nidal Abdel Mohamed, Dr Salah Faifel al Jabari, Sadiq Mahdi Jaafar, Dr. Hawra Atta Al-Hasani, Dr Mahmoud al Qaisy, Amir Bahraloom, Majid Amin Muhammad, Justine Di Mayo 

Duration: 6 months from 1 December 2023

Iraq’s recent history is replete with suffering and pain. Its society has suffered from the effects of wars, sanctions and civil strife, producing one negative and detrimental episode after another. Forgetting has been a way in which people cope, but this has had unintended outcomes, namely that the past is erased and denied adequate attention in terms of public debate, memorialization and addressing issues of healing and recovery.  

The Memorialisation of Troubled Pasts project takes stock of those patterns and attempts, using a case study of the events pertaining to ‘Camp Speicher’ - a military camp in Tikrit, which was captured by the Islamic State in 2014 - to develop memorialization processes. The intention here is not only to remember and document professionally the memories of those affected victims and communities but to use those events as a vector for discussing ‘dark’ or ‘difficult’ heritage in Iraq.  

The project develops an innovative, consultative process-oriented approach to memorialisation, involving families and stakeholders involved in safeguarding the memory of ‘Camp Speicher’ in Iraq.  The project is led by the Organisation of Iraq Victims in Speicher, an Iraqi non-governmental organisation, and involves two key partners, the UNESCO Chair for the Prevention of Genocide Studies at the University of Baghdad and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a global network of historic sites, museums and memorials. 

These institutions will implement this 18-month project with a view to producing a professional, process-based memorialisation that could be a model for researching and memorialising difficult periods that Iraq has endured over the past few decades.  

Follow the team's work @Speicheriraq