Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Peru: Museum of Memory Update

Apparently, Peru's future Museum of Memory, which will be built to commemorate the political violence of the past decades, now has a definite site: the Campo de Marte in Lima. Living in Peru is reporting that it will be situated underground so as not to change significantly the outward appearance of the area.

This will make the district of Jesus Maria, and in particular the park Campo de Marte, something of a focal point for memory issues in Peru. The memorial El ojo que llora is also located there (it's marked by a cross in the image above), and several human rights organisations have their offices nearby. It's also within easy reach of central Lima. On the other hand, the park is also overshadowed by the military centre known as El pentagonito. I suspect that a legitimate concern about centralism will be raised when discussing the site. It's a fair point: the majority of victims of both Shining Path and the armed forces were not from Lima, but from Ayacucho, primarily, and the other poor, highland provinces. These areas need places for commemoration too. At the same time, I believe that the country needs a representative museum and I see little alternative to the capital city to maximise visitor numbers. Plus, Lima ignored what was happening in the countryside for long enough - I think it needs to keep its eyes open.

According to El Comercio, the museum could now be ready by 2011.

Speaking to El Pais, head of the museum commission Mario Vargas Llosa welcomed the news about the Campo de Marte and spoke of his inspirations, including the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda.

Peru's Museum of Memory to be Built under a Park in Lima
(Living in Peru)
Museo de la memoria estara listo en el 2011 (El Comercio)
MVLl: Museo de la Memoria estara listo antes del 2011 (CNDDHH)
Peru consagra su memoria historica (El Pais)


Amazilia Alba said...

I don't think is a good place symbolically, underground, close to the pentagonito, as it has been in this government the respect to HR are out of sight.
Besides I don't trust MVLL a person whose racism and anti-indigenous stances have been very clear in his writings and essays.
The last contribution of this author is to say that there are some high and low culture, of course his is the highest...
(in Spanish)

Lillie Langtry said...

Thanks Amazilia. Indeed, I am NOT a Vargas Llosa fan and was dismayed when I heard that he was going to head the commission (after the mess of Uchuraccay?!!). I am prepared to wait and see how the museum idea turns out though. I think I will need to give the 'underground' idea some thought.

Any more opinions very welcome...