Violent People – Human Violence
Violence is multi-faceted, complex, at once disturbing and fascinating. It is historical, present, and future-threatening. Violence was the theme for the 2011 Weimar History Festival, in all its manifestations – including counter-violence and non-violence, as well as a deliberate shifting away from traditional and ever new violent relationships.
In 2011, at a juncture when the question of violence was thrust into the spotlight on the southern shores of the Mediterranean, this topic seemed more topical than ever; it once again was posed as the »midwife of history.« Individuals as well as societies constantly dream of peace –– yet violence remains a constant in our lives and a seemingly unavoidable part of our private and political circumstances. To what extent must peacefulness become a cultural inevitability in order to continue to endure the prevailing violent relationships or even to reduce them? Does our society have this chance for the present and the future?
Not only did Weimar’s International History Festival seek to address violence’s cruel aspect throughout history, but also to probe its anthropological origins and its liberating potential. Over the course of some twenty panel discussions and lectures, participants explored those tensions between freedom and violence, beauty and violence, legitimate and illegitimate violence – thus exposing the relationship between media and violence, language, literature and violence, violence and reconciliation. Spanning the Middle Ages to the year 2011, it was not geographically limited. The focus, however, was primarily on Europe – notably the nations in the Weimar Triangle, as well as on the city of Weimar and Thuringia.