10 August 2023

‘I can’t remember how many I killed’ …: Child soldiers and memory work in YouTube

CoverAssociate Professor Birgit Bräuchler has contributed to the journal Memory Studies with the article ‘‘I can’t remember how many I killed’ …: Child soldiers and memory work in YouTube’.

The article looks at memory work conducted in a YouTube video featuring two former child soldiers in Maluku, Eastern Indonesia, and their story from mutual hatred and war to friendship and peace.

Analysing and comparing the video and the related English and Indonesian video commentaries, Bräuchler’s article asks how the Moluccan violence is remembered, how that memory travels and how it is translated and received among different audiences. It investigates how connectivity and creativity open up new memory spaces and how, within these digital spaces, transcultural memory tropes and political and cultural contexts of social media users can both solidify hegemonic memory narratives and transform traumatic memories into hope and peace.

Bräuchler concludes that remembering a conflict has become a multi-scalar, multi-sited, multi-temporal and multi-stakeholder process through connective and transcultural memory and the translation of local memories into global memory tropes and vice versa. Her article shows that such settings ask for more in-depth analysis of the contextualisation of memory projects, both online and offline, including the various power relations involved and algorithmic hegemonies of digital platforms that influence and co-shape emerging memoryscapes and memory work.

Article keywords: child soldiers, Indonesia, memory work, social media, transcultural memory

Read the article in Memory Studies: https://doi.org/10.1177/17506980231188478