'NEVER MORE TO MORE THAN EVER : Between the Social Outbreak and the Pandemic' says Francisco Javier Estevez, Laureate 2014

News Chile - 13th August 2020


Between the Social Outbreak and the Pandemic 

  The Museum of Memory and Human Rights of Chile celebrated, this 2020, a decade since its foundation. A determining museum space for our society and a benchmark in the Latin American region, which is    part of a very wide network of places of memory, constituted in remembrance and tribute to     the victims of regimes that violate the basic rights of human dignity, and at the same time as testimony to the fight for justice and human rights in this continent.

I assumed as Executive Director of said museum four years ago, with the very valuable antecedent of having received on November 16, 2014, in Paris, from the hands of the   Director-General of Unesco, Irina Bokova, "Le Prix Unesco-Madanjeet Singh pour la Promotion de la Tolérance et de la Non Violence". I understood that managerial responsibility then as a greater challenge to promote a collective responsibility for the "Never Again" and the "More than Ever".

These two orientations do not contradict each other but creatively dialogue with each other. And it is that those who visit us, especially the young people who are the majority, at the end of their tour of the permanent exhibition - which accounts for the human rights violations committed under the Pinochet dictatorship after the Civil-Military Coup of 1973 against the Government of President Allende- open to the following reflection. “This that we are presented with happened years ago, and by the way nobody wants it to be repeated. Okay, but what can I do in the current time to make it so ".

The answer is that awareness of the value of democracy and human rights also has a sense of the present - if you like, a "historical present" - because if everyone, where he is socially active, defends these values, we will have as a country an opportunity not to lose them as guiding principles of our coexistence. So the More Than Ever has a sense of ethical urgency that comes to affirm and not to contradict Never Again.

With this focus we approach the programmatic years of The Memory and the Rights of the Original Peoples, 2018, and The Human Right to be a Migrant, the year 2019, which featured an extraordinary exhibition facilitated by the Musée de l`Homme, “We and the others. From Prejudice to Racism ”.

The ethical inquiry that our Museum must leave on its visitors must be able to affirm that the consequence of solidarity with the victims of the years of dictatorship and making the democratic struggle of the time its own, always with the sign of human dignity as a guarantee, He asks us to confirm that now, in the current country and in the world we inhabit, that commitment must be renewed.

Therefore, due to this consequence, it was incumbent upon us to actively accompany the initiatives of protest and intercultural dialogue that occurred on the occasion of the so-called “social outbreak” in Chile. On the esplanade of the Museum were developed

different councils or extensive conversations, highlighting those that were made with girls and boys, and with people with mental illnesses. And in a very massive way, with women of feminist commitment, who sang and danced to the sound of the call called “The Theses”. And inside the building, next to the permanent exhibition, a large canvas with embroidered eyes, made by women of different ages and provinces, was hung as a denunciation of the violent repression unleashed by the police to prevent social protests.

 In the months of confinement due to the pandemic, the Museum, although it had to close its doors for in-person access by visitors, managed to open itself to extraordinary and sustained digital communication with its public, to the point that in these months a very programmatic link has been maintained. active with them through different live and direct broadcasts that address the artistic-cultural dimension as well as the social and political one, always from the founding perspective of memory and human rights.

 Here it is worth highlighting the webinar held with Unesco Paris and Montevideo   in April of this year where we argued, referring to The Plague by Albert Camus, that it is not possible to find a sustainable response to the pandemic that affects us worldwide without opening up to intercultural dialogue, which guarantees social rights (on-site access to benefits protection doctors respecting and not denying traditional culture), and   supporting   the solidarity-based community responses that are characteristic of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant communities.

 And it is that for the Museum the value of Memory and Human Rights only lasts in just causes.


Francisco Javier Estevez
Director of the Museum of Memory and Human Rights
UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Award 2014

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