Is it better to forget?

Michael Williams on the limits to David Rieff’s brilliantly phrased polemic

The World Today
3 minute READ

Lord Michael Williams

In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and its Ironies
David Rieff, Yale University Press, £14.99

I first met David Rieff in the Balkans in 1994 when I was the hapless spokesman for UNPROFOR, the United Nations protection force, which most of the time, and most starkly at Srebrenica in 1995, was unable to do what it says on the tin, as the young say today.

A brilliant writer then and now, David was a relentless critic of the UN’s role, disarming in his intellectual rigour and sharpness, but always thoughtful, more cerebral and distant than most of the journalists who covered that war.

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