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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Identicide: Warfare's Appetite for Symbolic Place

Who:  UNAC-NCRB is sponsoring a presentation by SarahJane  Meharg
What: "Identicide: Warfare's Appetite for Symbolic Place"
Date: June 11, 2002, Tuesday
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Auditorium, Ottawa Public Library, 120 Metcalfe
Contact: Name/phone number/email of contact person for more info

"Identicide: Warfare's Appetite for Symbolic Place"
Sarah Jane Meharg, B.LA., M.A. (War Studies),
Ph.D. Candidate (Geography), Queen's University

None need to be reminded of the impact of the ravages of war. People,
economies, and political systems all suffer, as do the material icons
of cultural heritage. Revered places with historical, aesthetic,
symbolic or scientific value are targeted. Their destruction is not
so much collateral damage or a matter of military necessity but
rather the intentional destruction or removal of landscapes during
conflict with the intention of weakening cultural identity, of
eroding what grounds people with place. Identicide may be applied to
immovable vernacular property (the recent destruction of Jenin), as
well as movable property (the burning of Ottoman manuscripts) in the
Sarajevo National Library.

The destruction of the material indicators of cultural identity is a
feature of modern, as well as ancient, warfare, even as the rest of
the world attempts to preserve and protect sites of cultural heritage
as part of our shared patrimony. Recognition as a nationally
protected site or as a world heritage site may even lead to its
demise during conflict, as seen in the systematic destruction of
Dubrovnik, Croatia, in 1991.

This presentation will highlight the significance of 'landscape',
attempts to protect 'landscapes' during conflict, and two
extraordinary cases of identicide in Bosnia and Afghanistan when
protection failed: the destruction of the Bridge of Mostar in 1993,
and the bombing of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001. Ms. Meharg visited
Bosnia and Croatia in the 2001 and will refer to this research trip
during her presentation. As well, the modes and methods of post-war
reconstruction will be introduced.

Ms. Meharg's recent publication, "Identicide and Cultural
Cannibalism: Warfare's Appetite for Symbolic Place", Peace Research
Journal 33:3 (2001), 89-98. Copies will be available.

Organized by National Capital Region Branch (info@ncrb.unac.org)
of the United Nations Association in Canada (613)232-5751 ext.254
Special presentation open to the public:
11 June 2002, Tuesday, 8:00 pm
Auditorium, Ottawa Public Library, 120 Metcalfe
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