About Remembering Those We've Lost

What is Remembering The Ones We Lost?

Remembering The Ones We Lost is a public memorial that aims to name all victims of conflict and armed violence in South Sudan. This unified and public recognition of individual lives being lost through violence is accomplished through the collective efforts of individuals, communities and institutions to name victims. This initiative hopes to bring attention to the shared suffering, give additional meaning to cries for peace and be a tool for understanding and reconciliation amongst South Sudanese individuals and communities. As such, the website allows individuals and communities to provide the names of people killed in armed conflicts through filling of the testimonial form, email, SMS and twitter. 

The project compiles the names of all people who have died in armed struggle since 1955 to-date and generalized armed violence

What is memorialization?

Memorialization is a process through which society acknowledges violent and painful pasts and transforms them into tools for understanding both historical and contemporary injustices. Public memorials come in many forms, from museums and monuments to the collections of condolence notes, flowers, and pictures of victims at sites where they died or disappeared. 

Memorialization has both private and reflective objectives and public and educational ones. On the one hand, the acknowledgment of painful legacies and past can be seen as a form of ‘symbolic reparations’ that helps survivors in their process of healing. At the same time, memorials can help societies to build a collective narrative of the past and prevent recurrences. 

Remembering individuals who were lost to a conflict can be a powerful form of memorialization that brings attention to the circumstances of a person’s death or disappearance. In describing the symbolic power of publicly naming victims killed during the Syrian conflict, Lina Sergie Attar, a Syrian-American architect and writer, wrote:

"When you call someone by their name, something materializes that transcends the ephemeral utterance. The concrete syllables of one’s name represents everything that person is or was supposed to be. As we read 100,000 names, our dead gain the weight of recognition that they deserve but were never granted. Name after name, hour after hour, days through the nights, from reciting with a microphone in front of a bustling street audience to whispers alone in the dark surrounded by a slumbering world: we render each name visible and heard for a moment in time before it disappears once more."

Vigils in which names were read out aloud have been held in Juba, South Sudan and Nairobi, Kenya in December 2014. The organizers of the project plan to continue with such memorialization initiatives, including reading of names over the radio and publishing them in newspapers. 

Organizers

Remembering The Ones We Lost was initiated by a small group of dedicated South Sudanese volunteers and organizations: Anyieth D’Awol (The ROOTS Project), Awak Bior, Christina Obur, Daud Gideon, David Deng (South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)), Edmund Yakani (Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO)), Priscilla Nyagoah, Pio Ben Ding and Yohanis Riek. 

The team developed a testimonial form to compile basic biographical information about the deceased or missing and the circumstances surrounding their death or disappearance. Additional data is complied from records already publicly available. Online, print and social media, human rights reports and community lists are used to gather and crosscheck information. The initial list, ‘Naming the Ones We Lost’, was published in December 2014, listed 568 names of victims.

The team would like to thank songwriter, Mer Ayang and poet, Apuk Ayuel who, through the art of song and poetry have acknowledged the loss of life and the suffering of those left behind. Thanks to photographers, Jenn Warren and Tim McKulka for their contributions of photographs used on this website. We encourage more tributes.

Last but not least, the organizers would like to thank all individuals, communities and organizations that have worked tirelessly in compiling names of victims of violence. We appeal for continued submission of the names and lists not yet published on this website. To submit names please, either fill the online testimonial form; download the form and send to: submit@rememberingoneswelost.com; send an SMS to: +61481071202; or send a tweet to @WeRemembering.

We are grateful for all your contributions.

This website was made possible through a grant from the World Peace Foundation.