Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Peru: Museum of Memory: The Return?

Now it seems that the Museo de la Memoria is back on.

For readers of English, the AP informs us that Peru president accepts war museum, German donation.

Plus, Peru's Garcia does about-face on German donation to build memorial museum for victims of political violence (Peruvian Times)

Utero de marita has a round-up of the Peruvian blog reaction for readers of Spanish.

The next step is the formation of a High Level Commission - which has already been legally created - to coordinate the creation of the museum. The commission will be headed by author Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru's foremost literary figure.

I've been open about my support for a museum, and for an appropriate home for the stunning Yuyanapaq exhibition, so obviously I consider this good news. Despite his undoubted intelligence, Vargas Llosa would not be my first choice as the head of the commission, because:
1) I consider him too politically biased - he ran for President against Fujimori in 1990, in the middle of the conflict.
2) He has lived principally in London since the 1990s and also has Spanish citizenship, so his connection to Peru is not as strong as it could be.
3) He has headed a governmental commission before, into the murder of the journalists in Uchuraccay in 1983, and in the eyes of many observers didn't do a particularly job of it. He visited the highland village only briefly and, in the resulting report, appears to project many of his own prejudices about indigenous people, rather than analysing the facts of the case.

In view of these points, can Peruvians really feel that one of their own is leading the way to a representative museum, and can they trust him to do a good job? Nevertheless, I'm pleased to see the name of Salomon Lerner, the former head of the TRC, also among the names of the commission. I won't turn against the museum plan just because I'm not a fan of MVLL, but will judge him on the results.

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