Personal Items Unleash Memories of Conflict, Loss


While the search continues for a permanent exhibition space, the Memory Box exhibit travels the world, helping Afghanistan's war victims share their stories of loss and resilience with international audiences.

Memory Boxes contain donated personal items that once belonged to ordinary people killed in Afghanistan. Surviving family members or friends of the dead present the boxes at the exhibition, using the items contained in them to tell the audience more about loved ones who lost their lives. Their stories trace Afghanistan's violent history of mass murder, genocide, palace revolutions and unrelenting political upheaval.

The Memory Box initiative resembles earlier exhibits commemorating those killed in the Second World War. It was introduced in 2011 by TEDxHagueAcademy speaker Hadi Marifat and others at the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO). Their aim was to give conflict victims a place in the country's peace and reconciliation process.

Memory Boxes contain a wide range of items such as clothing, jewelry, books and games. Lined up in a row, the 20 boxes represent both individual stories and the wider social impact of war and impunity.