Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Peru: Condemnation of Memorial Destruction

UPDATE 20/06/2010: Apparently the incident will be investigated and the memorial hopefully rebuilt, see here.

The National Coordinator of Human Rights (CNDDHH) has condemned the 'vandalism' of a memorial in Lima - on the orders of the local mayor.

The memorial in question was designed by Jaime Miranda for the Comité Cívico Para Que No Se Repita de Lima Sur (Civil Comittee 'So that it does not happen again' of Lima South) and was privately financed. It consisted of a dead eucalyptus tree suspended inbetween three columns representing the three districts of Villa María del Triunfo, San Juan de Miraflores and Villa El Salvador, all of which suffered greatly during the civil conflict, and the sculpture was located at the intersection of the three. It might sound odd from this bald description, but I just saw photos of the site for the first time, here, and I think it looks really impressive.

Anyway, sadly photographs are all that is left of the sculpture as it is supposed to be, because last week the mayor of Villa María del Triunfo, Juan José Castillo, ordered its removal - see image. The CNDDHH commented:
Destruir una obra de arte es ya un comportamiento bárbaro; destruir además un memorial que busca contribuir a la reconciliación y al recuerdo público de lo sufrido por los peruanos en el terrible periodo de violencia política, sólo puede ser considerado como una renovada forma de violencia.
Destroying a work of art is already a barbarous action; destroying a memorial which is supposed to contribute to reconciliation and public memory of what was suffered by Peruvians in the terrible period of political violence may only be considered a renewed form of that violence. (trans mine)
I had not heard of the memorial before today, but I do find its destruction pretty shocking and would be interested to hear the justification for it. Without a very good reason (and plans for relocation?) it seems like an act of vandalism against memory.

CNDDHH condena atentado vandálico contra la cultura y la memoria cometido por Alcalde de Villa María del Triunfo (CNDDHH)

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