Friday, January 25, 2013

Kwame Opoku on the "Declaration of ... Universal Museums" ten years on

Download Kwame Opoku, "Declaration on ...Universal Museums: Singular Failure of an Arrogant Imperialist Project" on MSN, as usual, hard hitting, copiously annotated and right.
The Declaration on the Importance and Value of the Universal Museum (DIVUM) of 2002 in now 10 years old. [...] The DIVUM is a very remarkable document that differs essentially from other declarations and documents that include in their title “Universal”, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whereas the latter aims at uplifting mankind from the miserable and abject conditions into which it has been plunged by unjust and oppressive systems and conditions, DIVUM was aimed at consolidating the results of oppressive systems and preventing the victims from attempting to reverse the results of imperialist adventures. In effect DIVUM was advancing the argument that there should be no attempt to seek to reverse the transfer of artefacts that had been acquired under colonial and other violent and oppressive conditions [...] The British Museum which had engineered the whole project was not one of the signatories but the handwriting of the museum’s officials is all over the document; the language and style of the DIVUM can be traced to Bloomsbury, London.

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