“The illusion of unique identity is much more divisive than the universe of plural and diverse classifications that characterize the world in which we actually live.
Amartya Sen, in his book “Identity and Violence”
At the AWID Forum in 2016, at an evening memorial for women human rights defenders who were no longer with us, we chanted: “We honour the dead, and we fight like hell for the living.”
Recently, I’ve been wondering what honouring someone’s life looks like in our quick-to-share, digitised cultures, especially when those lives are familiar to you in some way. For viewers who share aspects of their identity with the group upon whom violence has been inflicted, reading or learning about that violence can be in and of itself traumatising. For others who don’t share that identity, sharing and learning about the event might further entrench their feeling of privilege or superiority. So when does sharing stories of violence, turn into inflicting violence upon other members of your collective identity group, and to what extent does it further existing inequities in how that violence is felt?
More simply put: when does sharing a story – often intended as an act of solidarity – turn into perpetuating violence upon the persecuted, and further entrenching existing power dynamics?