May 2022 Session

May 2022

Memory politics: Dealing with the troubled past

The former Soviet sphere of influence, or post-communist Europe, has experienced some of the worst political violence in human history in the last century – including the Holocaust, World Wars, the repression of human rights, mass deportations, and ethnic cleansing. Acknowledging this past is vital to healing historical trauma, bringing justice, and understanding societies in the region as well as the imperialistic mindset which attempts to reimagine the borders of Russia.

Film: 26 May at 00:00 CEST – 2 June at 23:59 CEST

My Favorite War (2020)

My Favorite War is an animated documentary recounting the personal story of its director, Ilze, who grew up in the Cold-War USSR. It is an exciting coming-of-age story about finding one’s own identity, truth and loyalty.

First, we meet Ilze as a little girl playing war at her grandfather’s farm in Latvia. Then, she is faced with the horror of war threats at school. Ilze lives in a clash between Soviet reality and the state propaganda which denies what people are experiencing. Moreover, Ilze finds out that even the people she loves the most have opposing beliefs. The film is about the difficult choices she must make at a very young age and the courage she must find to finally speak out.

Director: Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen
Country: Latvia
Duration: 77 min
Access: due to distribution rights, this screening is only accessible in European countries except France.
Subtitles: German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Latvian, and English.

Debate: 2 June at 18:30 CEST

The USSR was formally dissolved in 1991, when Latvia also gained its independence. The Singing Revolution, which led to the restoration of independence in the Baltic states of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, was a non-violent revolution that overthrew a violent occupation. While recognition of victims and perpetrators is a precondition to putting the past to rest, it is just a first step in healing collective trauma.

During this debate, we explored Latvia’s struggle for its own independence and identity through the lens of memory politics, and how this relates to Ukraine’s own fight for freedom and self-determination. How has Latvia been addressing its past and what are other European examples of dealing with war crimes, repression of human rights, and ethnic cleansing? How can transitional justice bring lasting peace and security in post-conflict situations? Watch the conversation to find the answers.

We were so excited to celebrate our first live debate in Riga, during the 35th European Green Party Council. We had an interesting and insightful conversation with Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen, Director and Scriptwriter of “My Favorite War”; Laura López Domínguez, Deputy of Spanish Parliament; and Kaspars Vanags, Member of Progresīvie; with moderation from Mar Garcia, Secretary General of the European Greens.