Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Reflections on memory, human rights, the Chile Coup, and implication for climate action

So today I went along to Todas las Mujeres Contra todas las Violencia (All women against all violence) Hosted by Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of memory and human rights) in Santiago, Chile. It made me reflect on the human rights of all the people that will obliterated by accelerating climate change, unless we all act, and act fast.

The first was a gathering of women in the forecourt. I passed this and then after visiting the museum hung back at the edge and observed for a couple of minutes.

Worthwhile visiting this museum as it documents Chile’s efforts to reconcile its political past and the killing time of the dictatorship, the path of Chile back from that time. Chile still has a way to go from my own observation of police repression and the level of inequality which drives a social crisis and social upheaval. Read my articles on protest and police repression at Greenleft Weekly:

More generally, the museum deals with human rights globally.

A powerful experience to wander the permanent exhibition on the 1973 coup, the giant wall of photos who paid with their lives,, and the slow process back from that time. Most was in Spanish, but there was some English subtitles, and the documents, videos were powerful in themselves.

It reminded me strongly of Memorial de l’abolition de l’esclavage (Memorial to the abolition of slavery) in Nantes, France, the reconciliation with a dark trade in human lives for this port city history.

In the entrance hall there was a list of human rights reconciliation commissions from around the world. Australia was not there. We have still not reconciled the European invasion and settlement was an act of genocide on aboriginal nations. We still have a way to go to recognise this, negotiate treaties with indigenous sovereign nations. We have made some progress with acknowledgement of country statements, but still far more to do.

The last exhibition in the basement was on campaign to end violence against women, in concert with the activity outside.

I wonder if we will build museums in the future of the dark times when our politicians refused to listen to the climate science, refused to act, which brought about the deaths of billions of people on the planet. Where will be the monument to the reconciliation of human rights to reconcile these deaths? These times are coming unless we act rapidly and with ambition. Dark times indeed.

This is part of my journey to #COP25 in Madrid.

I don't think we will have a wall big enough to encapsulate all the photos of the coming killing times as climate change accelerates this century. For those who die as sea levels rise, for those who die as temperatures rise, for those who die from starvation as crops wither and die. How will we protect their human rights?

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