Grants:Impact/Cultural Heritage/Wikimedia Argentina and Remembrance

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Impact of Grants
Wikimedia Argentina and Human Rights
MonumentoTerrorismoEstado.jpg
Location:  Argentina
Grantee:  Wikimedia Argentina
Grant information
  • Program: Annual Plan Grants
  • Fiscal year: On-going

All people and peoples are living histories, walking embodiments of cultural heritage. But what if those walking histories disappeared without a trace?


During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Argentinian government systematically tortured, persecuted, and forced the disappearance of individuals. The period of time was name by the military dictatorship as National Reorganization Process and it has been estimated that 30,000 people were detained and disappeared during its regime.[1] Just about every cross-section of Argentinian society was affected by this state terrorism: babies,political activists, academics, artists, journalists, social workers, and more.

For Argentinians, this period is a collective memory, woven into the fabric of their collective cultural heritage. And it is a trauma that must be to be acknowledged, reconciled and healed.

Human rights organizations, such as the Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo, have fought for such acknowledgment by educating society on what happened, and pushing for justice. In 2005 Argentina Supreme Court dictaminated the actions of the state terrorism as crimes against humanity and became an international example because of the judment of the responsables of these crimes. Wikimedia Argentina, through several grants from the Wikimedia Foundation, has become a key partner of Human Rights Organizations by providing a new avenue for their work: Wikimedia projects, and free and open knowledge. The idea of advocating under the banner of free and open knowledge has been especially necessary as human rights work becomes more difficult (and less supported) under the current Argentinian government.

One of their key collaborations has been with the Parque De La Memoria, or the Park of Memory. Located in Buenos Aires, the park is a place of remembrance and reflection. For instance, in the park there is a monument that displays the names of the victims of the military dictatorship.

Wikimedia Argentina has been helping the Parque De La Memoria to release and manage a database of those who were illegally detained or disappeared. It is an archive where families, and society, can send photos or provide information. Through this database, the people are uploaded to Wikidata or the photos to Wikimedia Commons, allowing families to display their lost son, daughter, grandson, husband, or wife online. The recognition and acknowledgement that comes from this act is one tangible way these organizations are pursuing memory, truth and justice in Argentina.

Workers in the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice in Argentina (2016)

But the importance of this work goes beyond Argentina. Many Latin American countries have faced (or continue to face) similar state terrorism; in some countries, the fight for truth and justice is blocked by censorship and propaganda. In such an environment, free and open knowledge becomes immeasurably valuable. Wikimedia Argentina’s WikiHumanRights project is not just about documenting the crimes against humanity committed by Argentinian dictatorships. It’s about showing other countries, other governments, other institutions - human rights or cultural heritage institutions - that these traumatic events deserve to be acknowledged and remembered. These events are a part of the collective cultural heritage of each country, and of the continent. And it should be freely shared with the world.


Now that you've read this case study, consider...

How can Wikimedia - through our commitment to free and open knowledge - play a part in the fight for truth and justice?

References[edit]

  1. Marchak, P., & Marchak, W. (1999). God's assassins: state terrorism in Argentina in the 1970s. McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP.
  2. Atkinson, Judy. (2002). Trauma Trails, Recreating Song Lines: The Transgenerational Effects of Trauma in Indigenous