It used to be that wars, massacres, genocide etc. -- killings of historical scope, shall we say -- were mostly commemorated in public with vaguely heroic monuments -- perhaps an impersonal sculpture or obelisk. Sometimes a more personal plaque marked a local tragedy.
But memorial observances have become much more expressive in the past couple decades -- thanks in the U.S. at least to projects like the AIDS Quilt and the national Vietnam Memorial -- often acknowledging the individual lives lost with readings, listings, or engravings of the names of those who died. Why do I think this is worldchanging? It helps channel grief into mourning instead of anger or revenge. And because it's truer to the actual events of history -- making the invisible, visible, a crucial component of protecting human rights -- and perhaps a step on the path towards a social consensus on the value of saving these individual lives, instead of acknowledging them only after they're gone.
At Global Voices online, blogger Veronica Khokhlova reports on a reading of the names of those killed in Stalin's Great Terror of 1937 -- a tragedy most Russians apparently don't even remember, never mind the rest of the world. It was recorded over 12 hours and posted in podcast installments by the Moscow-based Foundation for Independent Radio Broadcasting.