By Sherrill E. Grace, Patrick Imbert, Tiffany Johnstone
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Additional info for Bearing Witness: Perspectives on War and Peace from the Arts and Humanities
Reenactment culture can function as a simulation to ﬁeld test historical knowledge, especially of tactics and equipment. As such, it can include serious military historians. It also serves as a social forum for collectors of militaria, and this is particularly true of twentieth-century reenactment units that strive to kit themselves in authentic gear. (If you own a 24 bearing witness Soviet t-34 tank, well, you might want to dress up and drive it). This reinforces the idea that the experience of warplay operates as somatic proof of ideological interpretations of history.
In the logic of military culture, he is not a soldier because he has no honour, and he has no honour because he has no uniform. ”14 In the sense that warplay rehearses the procedures of warfare, it can be said to militarize war by reducing our understanding of war to the operations and structures of military forces, to requisition, parade, deployment, and manoeuvre, and to the structures that enable the privilege that Omar Khadr is denied. But warplay cannot testify to what it cannot enact. Every warplayer understands that play cannot cross the ontological boundary between performance and death, but the more problematic ethical challenge is that warplay manifests order but cannot play disorder.
However, I believe that the responsibility to foster the will to change – to “disarm history” and imagine relationships differently – does rest with writers, artists, 14 bearing witness and humanists. No one in this volume has the answer to Varley’s compelling question; however, together these essays serve to open minds and imaginations to possible answers by bearing witness, by exposing some of the gaps in understanding, in archival silences, and in abuses of language, and by suggesting creative ways to move beyond the binaries of power and othering.