Friday, 1 January 2010

Chile: Memory Museum About to Open

Chile's Museum of Memory and Human Rights will open its doors on January 11, although details of the exhibits have not been confirmed. It will be housed in a striking, copper-green building in central Santiago.

In a very good article for the Los Angeles Times, Chris Kraul is right to emphasise that the struggle over which side(s) of events to portray does not end with the opening of a museum. The museum is an important symbol of the state's official version of event and therefore its contents will be scrutinised - it is unlikely to satisfy all groups.
"The museum will cause a lot of conversation because the controversy over the dictatorship is very much alive and the reminders are everywhere," Iglesias said. "Not long ago, I was in an elevator with the wife of one my torturers."

According to museum director Maria Luisa Sepulveda, the facility's purpose is to ensure that democracy and human rights are never hijacked again in Chile. Its construction is part of the process of the nation coming to grips with its past -- a process of truth and justice that "Chilean society is still going through," she said.
"What we are waiting to see is whose version of history will be given," Iglesias said. "The official version of victims as anarchists and terrorists? Or that of the people who were crushed for simply exercising their political rights?

"In Chile," she said, "the battle for history is still being waged."
Chile confronts past with new museum (LA Times)

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