chapter  6
14 Pages

Facing Past Human Rights Abuse: A Way from a Liquid to a Solid Society

In such a society, the past, even the most horrible one, takes – in the best case – a frozen, clean and sterilized form of referential simulacra transplanted from the real order to an order of history, science, museums (Baudrillard, 1994). In the worst case, as recent examples indicate, the horrific past of Auschwitz and the gulags is used to enhance a decadent consumption, to stir unhealthy emotions. It takes the form of masquerade, of a Waffen SS uniform thought suitable for a discotheque in a catastrophic annihilation of meaning, as shown by the example of a member of the British Royal family; the possibility of experiencing fake horrors, as in the cases of gulags turned into tourist attractions, where a tourist can spend a few days in the original barracks eating the prisoners’ food; or of a techno event organized in the Netherlands on 4 May – Victims Commemoration Day – advertised on the Web.1

The latter examples present a grotesque type of contemporary liquidity, where the boundary between consumers’ fantasies and the most horrible reality is perceived as a mere optical illusion.