PARIS — A nation’s relationship with its past is crucial to its present and its future, to its ability to “move on” with its life, or to learn from its past errors so as not to repeat them. This includes the past that isn’t dead and buried — “in fact, it is not even past,” as William Faulkner famously said. Such a past obsessively blocks any possible evolution toward a necessary reconciliation with oneself and a former or current foe.

Such a past is painfully visible today, for example, in the Balkans, a region largely paralyzed by a painful fixation on the conflicts that tore it apart in the 1990s. An absolute inability to consider the point of view of the other and to go beyond a sense of collective martyrdom still lingers over the entire region.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.