Celebrations and Commemorations

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Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations


Contents Editor’s Note | 2 Societies | 3~5 Academic | 6~33 The Many Faces of the Arch of Titus | Joshua Al-Najar Caribbean Cultures: Identity, Memory and the Planter Intellectuals | Jamie Gemmell The Commemoration and Veneration of Saints and their Relics | Tristan Craig Tyranny, Celebration and Simonides’ Epitaph of Archdike | Justin Biggi Commemorating the Srebrenica Massacre of 1995 | Martha Stutchbury Zimbabwe after Mugabi | Lewis Twiby Te Puea Herangi | Tessa Rodrigues Peace, Love and Music: Woodstock Festival and Counterculture | Jack Bennett The 100 Year Anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles | Kvitka Perehinets 17th May, the Nation and the Invisible Other | Inge Erdal

Features | 34~42 Indonesia’s Kartini Day | Prim Phoolsombat The Bayeux Memorial for Journalists | Peta Stamper The Fall of the Berlin Wall | Rosie Byrne The Art and Photography of Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ | Josh Minister

Fiction | 43~44 Commemorating Arabella Stuart | Isabelle Sher

Bibliographies | 44~47

With Thanks To: Baillie Gifford School of History, Classics and Archaeology Edinburgh University Student Association National Union of Students

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations


From the Editor The Team Editor-in-Chief (President) Anna Nicol Deputy Editor (Secretary) Martha Stutchbury Deputy Editor (Treasurer) Max Leslie Social Secretary and Fundraising Officer Toby Gay Podcast Editor Alfie Garland Illustrators Natasha Bucheit Hannah Purdom Copy Editors Rosie Byrne Anna Cooper Jamie Gemmell Alice Goodwin Tessa Rodrigues Caroline Swartz Columnists Joshua Al-Najar Jack Bennett Justin Biggi Tristan Craig Laila Ghaffar Kvitka Perehinets Prim Phoolsombat Isabelle Sher Lewis Twiby

Welcome to the twenty-fifth issue of Retrospect, ‘Celebrations and Commemorations’, written and collated towards the end of 2019. We are fortunate to publish this edition in a year that is significant for the School of History, Classics and Archaeology as it is three hundred years since the appointment of Charles Mackie to Chair of Universal History and Greek and Roman Antiquities. Therefore, we wanted to introduce a theme in conjunction with this and challenge our writers to reflect on other anniversaries, how the world has changed in these three hundred years, and how approaches to discussing the past have evolved. The results have produced an eclectic range of articles, from the significance of the Arch of Titus to historical fiction set in the fifteenth century. Retrospect, as always, has been incredibly lucky to have such phenomenal writers who aim to interrogate and nuance both well-known historical events and introduce you to some topics that, perhaps, are unfamiliar to you or highlight them through a different lens. Focusing on celebrating and commemorating can reveal the multiple understandings of historical events. It demands us as historians, classicists and archaeologists to re-evaluate perspectives of prominent historical events, as seen in Jack Bennett’s article on Woodstock. Alternatively it provides an opportunity to highlight the forgotten or dismissed histories of others: celebrating and commemorating is not only significant in what is remembered but also in terms of what or who is not remembered. Lewis Twiby underlines the tension within the memory of post-Mugabe Zimbabwe and the generational divides which emerge through differing perspectives of politics and national history. The common thread between all these fantastic articles is the complexity of memory and how it transpires within celebrations and commemorations. Our new committee has been very busy organising socials, writing and editing weekly articles, and helping to plan fundraisers. Our pub quiz was particularly successful and helped to raise £130 for our print journal! Not only will our usual socials and fundraisers continue in 2020, but we are also planning new events, including a talk on February 13th with Adela Rauchova, the Managing Editor at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, in collaboration with the Edinburgh University Arts and Heritage Society. In February, we will be celebrating LGBTQ+ History month as well as International Women’s Day on March 8th and will continue to approach history, classics and archaeology from as many perspectives as possible. I hope you enjoy these fantastic articles just as much as I did - and if you’re looking for more, visit us at retrospectjournal.com or even submit to us yourself at retrosubmissions@gmail.com! Happy reading, Anna Nicol Editor-in-Chief

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations


A Note from your Societies... History Society

End of the semester already? Normally this time of year evokes sentiments of dismay at just how little of your dissertation you actually got done, and all the other unfulfilled ambitions that you promised yourself you would achieve when you started anew in September. Alas, the History Society can’t relate. Not to be smug, but we have had a very successful, albeit hectic first semester (perhaps to the detriment of all the committee’s personal ambitions). Nevertheless, as President, the History Society has been my main source of pride this semester, and so I think it’s only right that I brag a little, and give thanks to my wonderful committee, whose dedication, hard-work and imagination never cease to amaze me. Our Social Secretaries, as ever, have been worked to the bone, organising countless events from our colossal pub-crawl to our magnificent Winter Ball. They’ve even thrown some curve-balls in there, with a joint social with the History Society of the University of Turku in Finland, a karaoke night, a potluck, and a ‘Sustainable Self-Care’ evening in collaboration with HC Peer Support. Similarly, our Academic Secretaries have been diligent, creative, and innovative (we expect nothing less). We were lucky enough to have been guided around the city by them on ‘Edinburgh’s Hidden Pioneers’ tour, learning about the lesser known sites and people in Edinburgh’s history, as well as ‘A Journey Through Ancient Egypt’ in which we learned of the research of expert Dr Judith Blair. Watch this space for events next semester celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month and Black History Month (which we’ll be celebrating

with the US in February). Our Student Experience Officers have been equally busy – running a ‘Life as a Postgrad’ panel event, where students interested in further study were given the opportunity to talk directly to HCA postgraduate students. We also ran a LinkedIn workshop in collaboration with the Careers Service, in which we provided members with FREE headshots for their profiles! Finally, our Trip Officers have moved full steam ahead in organising our trip to Prague during Flexible Learning Week, which we are SO excited for (for educational purposes, of course). And they’ve been keeping themselves busy elsewhere by running trips to Edinburgh Castle, as well as a visit to Stirling Castle – for free! On a final, but important note, after the recent vote by EUSA to support the UCU industrial action, I just wanted to stress the importance of students explicitly expressing their solidarity with striking staff. With Peer Support and Retrospect, we ran an event in which we heard the personal experiences of some of our striking staff within HCA, which was very impactful. We encourage you to send emails and letters in support to the university’s upper management – as their “customers”, we have the power to make a change – use it! We love hearing from our members about events ideas you have, topics you’re interested in, or places you would like to visit – so get in touch! Enjoy your well-deserved Winter Break, and we’ll see you next semester! Rachel Irwin, History Society President.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations


Classics Society

Salvete, and Χαιρετε! This semester has been a great one for the Classics Society, with many new members and tonnes of fun events! We’ve had great success with the continuation of our ‘Evening With’ lecture series, the first of which featured Dr. David Lewis, who spoke on his research that included a particularly memorable red-figure kylix. Dr. Theodora Hadjmichael gave an insightful talk on her research in Greek lyric poetry. Next semester’s ‘Evening With’ will feature another two lecturers, including Dr. Kimberly Czajkowski! We also had a successful Classical Artifact Session where students were able to handle and discuss objects from the HCA’s collection firsthand! Our ‘Classical Potluck’, another academic event, went down a treat; ancient wine, meatballs, and sesame seed sweets were consumed by the masses! Our social events have also been a hit. We started off the semester with our annual Toga Pub Crawl, a staple for the Classics Society. At our movie night we watched Disney’s Hercules, which was chosen in a landslide vote by attendees, and our Classics Pub Quiz attracted both undergraduate and postgraduate students who were looking for a challenge! The society also put on a Scavenger Hunt this semester, with tasks ranging from asking bar staff for a free drink to making sacrifices to Dionysus! For classicists looking to express their artistic side we hosted two new events, the first was a fresco painting session where masterpieces were created. The second event was our pottery painting session at Doodles; each person was able to design their very own ‘ancient’ piece of pottery, and after they were finished the pieces were fired so that we could take them home the next week!

We are very proud of our outreach project, Literacy Through Latin, which has improved and expanded since last year. Led by Kishan Mistry, LTL is the Classics department’s largest outreach project, placing fourteen dedicated volunteers in seven P6 classrooms throughout three different primary schools in Edinburgh. The scheme is currently teaching 237 pupils basic Latin and Roman History on a weekly basis, which is 102 more students than last year! We will be hosting two workshops at the university for our pupils in second semester, where the children will have lessons in some of the disciplines that come under the wide branching study of Classics, including Ancient Greek, Ancient History and Archaeology. We will be finishing off the semester with a Christmas Meal for both staff and students at 56 North on the 27 November, as well as a Study Session in preparation for exams on the 29 November. But don’t worry, the Classics Society will be hosting many exciting events in second semester, including Hadrian’s Ball on the 6 February, our Ides of March(mont) Flat Crawl on the 14 March, and a trip to Crete during reading week! The Classics Society has had an incredible semester with our new members as well as our returning members, and we cannot wait to make even more memories next semester! I’d also like to extend thanks to the Classics Society committee, who work tirelessly to make all our activities possible. Valete and χαιρετε, Mickey Ferguson President

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations


Archaeology Society This semester has been a busy and successful one for the Archaeology Society. I would first like to thank every member of the committee,who have all worked so hard to bring our events to life. I would also like to thank all the fantastic speakers for our lecture series; Lindsey Büster, Jonny Geber, Xavier Rubio-Campillo, Jamie Grant and Matthew Knight. We have run a number of events throughout the semester with the aim of collaboration, be it with other societies, university lecturers or those from outside the university. Firstly, in collaboration with ARCH PALS and Guillaume Robin we held a CV workshop to help students enter the workplace. We helped Lindsey Büster to organise a Death Café in the HCA which aimed to open up conversation around the topic of death in a safe space free from judgment. Finally, in collaboration with Joanne Rowland we organised tours of the National Museum of Scotland’s new Egyptian exhibition which drew in many people from outside the university as well as those within. Dr Rowlands fantastic insights added a great deal to the exhibition and we are planning to run additional tours in the next semester.

loween event. The trip to the palace was a relaxing day enjoyed by all while the Halloween event was a sold-out thriller as we visited the Edinburgh Dungeons. We value our social events as they give students a chance to relax and meet new people, keep an eye out next semester for more exciting events! Our biweekly fieldwork in Dunfermline continued to grow this year proving to be very popular especially with new students. I want to thank all those who are involved in the organisation of this fantastic opportunity, we are very proud to be able to offer free fieldwork to anyone who is interested. We will continue in Dunfermline next semester and would love to see you there.

Looking forward to next semester we will continue to organise as many events, both social and academic, as we can. I would like to give a special mention to the Scottish Student Archaeology Conference that will be held in Glasgow this upcoming year on 15th and 16th February. This is an event the society hosted last year and we are all excited to be attending the event. If you are interested in attending please let us know as we are organising group accommodation Our annual fieldwork fair took place on 8 November for all those coming from Edinburgh. with a record number of attendees. We would like to thank all the organisations who attended present- Keep up to date with all of our events on our Faceing a wide range of opportunities in archaeological book (Edinburgh University Archaeology Society), fieldwork. We would also like to thank the lecturers Twitter (@EdinArchSoc), and Instagram (@Edinfrom the university who presented their own field- Arch) pages as well as our mailing list (edin.archwork opportunities. We hope that everyone who soc@gmail.com). We would love to hear from you. attended gained as much from the event as we did and look forward to welcoming everyone back next Thank you to Retrospect for the opportunity to share year. our semester with you all and once again thank you to our committee for their hard work throughout the We also held several social events throughout the semester. semester with a scavenger hunt in Welcome Week as well as several pub nights throughout the semester. Ben Carrick Our two largest social events of the semester were ArchSoc President our trip to Linlithgow Palace and our annual Hal-

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


THE MANY FACES OF THE ARCH OF TITUS By Joshua Al-Najar In a hyper-militaristic society such as Imperial Rome, warfare was a common thematic choice for public art. For imperial authorities, state monuments could fulfil both a commemorative and celebratory role. Successful state art often had a clear primary message, with a secondary message mired in symbolism. In acknowledging this duality, T. Holscher fittingly claimed that “war in art is not war, but art.” The commemoration of warfare was readily juxtaposed with religious iconography and symbolic figures, all communicating in a pictorial vocabulary that most Romans were wellversed in. However, it would be remiss to regard this simply as propaganda; scenes of warfare often reflected the anxieties and needs of a particular emperor’s regime, whether to augment – or construct – a set of ideals.

to the deified emperor by his successor – and younger brother – Domitian . Decorative panels evoke Titus’ personal role in the Sack of Jerusalem in AD70. On the northern panel of the arch’s interior, the triumphant Titus rides on a splendid, four-horse chariot in a celebratory procession. On the southern panel, the spoils of war spill from the hands of revelling Romans as they are paraded through Rome (Fig. I). Crowded scenes heighten a sense of movement, as the figures reimagine the direction actually taken by the triumphal procession. The presence of specific visual cues – such as the seven-branched candelabra of the Jewish temple witnessed by Josephus – tap into collective memory and signify the specific achievement to be remembered (Josephus, Jewish War, 7.123-57.7).

Commemoration of an emperor’s achievements were most routinely expressed through the construction of The arch’s clear, primary purpose is to celebrate the triumphal arches. The oldest extant example of this is martial achievements of the deified emperor. Imagery the Arch of Titus (of 82AD), posthumously dedicated was key in communicating an emperor’s worthiness

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


Figure I. – Recreation of the northern relief panel on the Arch of Titus. to a largely illiterate populace. Titus, executed in high The Senate and the Roman people (dedicate this) relief, is embedded within scenes that augment not to the deified Titus Vespasian Augustus, son of the just his own role as a conqueror, but also the vigour deified Vespasian. of Rome’s military supremacy. His image is awash with various symbols of power, most notably the fas- Though largely illiterate, the Roman public could ces carried by lictors. Suetonius provides a glowing probably recognise certain words, such as emperors’ review of Titus by claiming: names. The textual reference to Titus’ divinity – a common practice for deceased emperors – is accomTitus, of the same surname as his father, was the de- panied visually by a relief on the soffit of the archway. light and darling of the human race; such surpassing Titus is depicted on the back of an eagle, ascending ability had he, by nature, art, or good fortune, to win to the cosmos, redefined as a god – this posthumous the affections of all men, and that, too, which is no distinction having been earned via corporal achieveeasy task, while he was emperor. ment. However, Bernard Andreae reminds us that the arch’s purpose was not merely to celebrate the dead; (Suetonius, The Life of Titus, 1.1). in fact, it was a functioning tool of self-fashioning for the living. Andreae indicates that the divine status of Suetonius echoes the decoration of the Arch – Titus Titus conferred glory upon the living members of his possessed the felicitas and virtus necessary to com- family. Thus, by combining visual depictions of Titus’ petently lead the Roman empire. In celebrating the achievements in Jerusalem and his subsequent divinachievements of his brother, Domitian enhances his ity, Domitian aggrandised his own status as emperor. own status by associating himself with the same triumphs. The Arch of Titus exemplifies that an emper- Despite the reference to a specific military event, the or could respond to supplement his own abilities by realistic portrayal of warfare was not considered to highlighting the glorious deeds of his relatives on be of great concern. Franz Wickhoff has suggested public monuments. that the decoration of triumphal monuments should be considered as ‘an exercise in illusion, over realThe oversized inscription on the western side of the ism’. He then states that the reliefs offer a window arch alludes to these deeds, by emphasising Titus’ di- into an “imagined reality” whereby ideology can be vine glory (Fig. II). The original Latin script reads: augmented – or constructed – based on the emperor’s circumstances. SENATVS POPVLVSQVE·ROMANVS On the Arch of Titus, the dialogue between state and DIVO·TITO·DIVI·VESPASIANI·F(ILIO) beholder is deepened by the usage of symbolism and VESPASIANO·AVGVSTO allegorical figures. The crucial connection between the populace and state is provided by two hyper-mas-

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


Figure II. – Recreation of the southern relief panel on the Arch of Titus. culine figures in the processional scene. An older, wizened man represents the Senatorial class whilst a virile youth denotes the Roman people. The proximity of the figures to Titus’ arch reminds the beholder that all strata of Roman society can participate in the emperor’s successes. Besides these, allegorical figures lend Titus credibility. In the Arch’s processional scene, Titus’ validity as emperor is confirmed by a winged depiction of Victory. She hovers above Titus’ chariot and crowns him with a laurel wreath. Leading the chariot is a personification of the Roman state, implying that Titus’ victories were guided by his dedication to the Roman people. Nancy Ramage indicates that the coexistence of mortal and divine figures was not jarring in the period eye; the scene speaks using an established thematic language to show that the emperor Titus had received the consent of the divine.

sian, had emerged triumphant from the Year of Four Emperors in 69AD. Donald Strong has suggested that collocation of Titus with recognisable figures, like Victory and Roma, grant the emperor – and his dynasty - a heightened sense of legitimacy. In addition, he argues that the overtly martial nature of the Arch of Titus distances the fledgling Flavians from the luxurious excesses of the preceding Julio-Claudians. By constructing Titus as the dutiful, militarily successful emperor, Domitian differentiates him from the megalomaniac model that characterised Nero’s reign. Roman state monuments fulfilled a plethora of purposes. Most commemorated an event, or campaign, in an effort to glorify a particular individual. However, there is typically a subverted secondary message which is expressed through symbolic visual language. The Arch of Titus was flexible in its function: it both commemorated and celebrated the emperor Titus and The usage of such strong allegorical imagery is in- his family, whilst reminding the Roman populace that formed by the specific anxieties faced by the Emper- a new dynasty was at the helm. Thus, the Arch reor Domitian. He and Titus belonged to the recently sponded to the specific socio-political needs of late established Flavian dynasty, after their father, Vespa- first-century AD Rome.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


CARIBBEAN CULTURES: IDENTITY, MEMORY, AND THE PLANTER INTELLECTUALS By Jamie Gemmell In December 2018, Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, declared that 2019 would be the ‘Year of Return.’ 2019 marks 400 years since the first African people were forcibly transported to the Chesapeake colonies as slaves. To mark the anniversary, many citizens of the United States have taken up President Akufo-Addo’s call and travelled to Ghana to commemorate the anniversary. For sisters Angela Matthews and Cindy Meyers, the trip was hugely symbolic. After paddling in the Atlantic Ocean, the sisters felt ‘at peace… at home’ and reunited with their enslaved ancestors. Such responses, at this individual level, demonstrate the continuing importance that Africa holds for many African Americans. For them, their conception of Africa and the African diaspora remain crucial parts of their sense of self. Yet, in some respects, the 2019 commemorations are misplaced. It is true that 2019 marks 400 years since the initial arrival of enslaved Africans to the Chesapeake colonies. However, by 1619 the system of Atlantic slavery, largely through Spanish and Portuguese colonies, was long established. This is a fact often forgotten in discussions of 1619, which speaks to a broader process of forgetting that fails to account for the importance of the Caribbean, and the enslaved people forced to labour on these is-

lands, to the development of the modern world. For instance, in 2018 the British Treasury tweeted that British taxes ‘helped end the slave trade.’ There are multiple reasons why such a claim is problematic – one reason being that these taxes were used to compensate slave owners for their lost ‘property.’ The tweet reminds us that even when the Caribbean and Atlantic slavery do appear in contemporary public discourse, it is often to reinforce an active process of forgetting. This piece seeks to reframe the narrative through an exploration of the historiographical debate on the origins of enslaved peoples’ cultures, with a specific focus on the island of Jamaica and the cultures that emerged there during the eighteenth century. This debate is founded on the fact that whilst enslaved people across the Americas were violently oppressed; they were able to carve out communities and cultures of their own. It is a historiographical project that establishes enslaved people had agency and that this agency was crucial to the development of the modern world. Disagreement lies in the extent to which these cultures were influenced by specific regional ideas and practices in Africa. Mintz and Price, in their seminal work The Birth of African American Culture,

argued that underlying ‘grammatical’ principles crossed the Atlantic Ocean. This thesis emerged from the assumption that enslaved people disembarked across the Americas in ‘heterogeneous crowds,’ preventing the maintenance of specific regional ideas and practices. In contrast, scholars, such as John Thornton and Paul Lovejoy, have argued that enslaved people disembarked in ‘homogeneous groups,’ allowing for the emergence of cultures inflected with ideas and practices originating in specific West African regions. Crucial to the Atlantic model, advocated by Thornton and Lovejoy, is the concept of ethnicity. They rely on logs from slave ships and plantations, which group enslaved people into ethnicities, to make their claims about African influences. By tracking the dispersal of various ethnic groups across the Atlantic world, it appears that some ethnic groups were dominant in specific American societies. For instance, a significant proportion of enslaved people in Portuguese Brazil originated in West Central Africa. James Sweet has concluded that this demographic dominance ensured a Central African ‘worldview’ was retained among enslaved communities. Crucial to Sweet’s conclusion was his use of material that linked ethnic identity to cultural practices. The Atlantic model has been uti-

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic

lised by scholars of Jamaica too. Kwasi Konadu has argued that a ‘specific Akan culture,’ originating along the Gold Coast, was transported to Jamaica. Konadu has conceptualised the Akan as a meta-ethnicity and suggested that political disruption within the Gold Coast, during the early-eighteenth century, produced a population accustomed to warfare. Crucial to Konadu’s conclusions is data on where the enslaved people of Jamaica originated. Between 1670 and 1750, 51,000 captives were transported to Jamaica from the Gold Coast. Konadu has used this data to conclude that the resistance movements of 1685-1686 and the rebellion of 1695 were linked to the increased number of Akan people in Jamaica. This information is crucial to contem-


porary questions around identity. Communities will conceptualise their pasts and ancestry differently if they understand that their existence is connected with specific African cultural groups. One of the sources scholars of the Atlantic model often utilise are the histories produced by planter intellectuals. In the case of Jamaica, these texts often take the form of ethnographies and attempt to approach the island as a whole: describing the climate, ecology, laws, and communities of Jamaica. Historians attempting to connect regional African cultural practices to the cultures of enslaved communities have often re-interpreted the elements of these texts that discuss ethnicity. For example, Edward Long wrote that ‘Ebo men

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic are lazy, and averse to every laborious employment; the women performing almost all the work.’ This claim could suggest Igbo gendered employment practices made their way to Jamaica. By reframing claims and linking them with source material on demographics and specific African cultural practices, these histories have been utilised to demonstrate the influence of Africa in the Americas. James Knight’s Naturall, Morall, and Politicall History of Jamaica was produced in the 1740s but was never published. His manuscripts have, so far, been underused by historians of Atlantic slavery but do include similar tropes to other planter intellectuals. For instance, Knight wrote that ‘the Eboes’ were most likely to ‘hang themselves,’ implying a specific cultural discourse existed among the Igbo that could, under certain circumstances, increase the likelihood of suicide. Later he suggests that enslaved Igbo people were ‘fearless of Death,’ believing that they would ‘return again to their Own Country.’ Whilst it may be plausible that such observations were accurate, crucial questions remain

unanswered. Why did Knight feel the need to align suicide with a specific ethnic group? What purpose did such tropes serve in the broader histories constructed by Jamaica? How did enslaved people understand their identity in the Americas? These questions cannot be answered here, but they do suggest that historians of enslaved people’s cultures have failed to explore every avenue. It is indubitable that Africans, and practices and ideas specific to African regions, were fundamental to the development of culture across the Americas. Forcibly transporting tens of millions of people over nearly three centuries to the Americas obviously meant that these individuals played a powerful role in the development of the Americas. However, the importance of African cultures in the Americas is an area of research that requires further nuance. It remains unclear why contemporary whites frequently connected behaviour with ethnicity. How did these tropes function in the broader intellectual landscape? Where did they originate? It also remains unclear how pre-


cisely different groups of enslaved people used ethnic identities. How static were they? What ideas were they founded upon? Answering these questions brings us back to the importance these histories play in the contemporary world. Ancestry and the past are crucial for a community’s sense of self. Reframing the history of the Americas as a history fundamentally entangled with Africa, rather than just Europe, subverts the process of forgetting. By conducting such research with fresh questions and more nuance, historians can provide new sources for individuals, like Angela Matthews and Cindy Meyers, to understand their past and their identities.

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THE CORPOREAL AND THE DIVINE: THE VENERATION OF SAINTS AND THEIR RELICS IN THE MIDDLE AGES By Tristan Craig Towards the end of the fourteenth century, Geoffrey Chaucer completed his seminal work, The Canterbury Tales. Presented as a fictional story writing contest, each tale is related by a pilgrim embarking on a journey to Canterbury Cathedral wherein the relics of the widely venerated saint, Thomas Becket, are interred. Chaucer’s tales exemplify the popularity of saints’ cults in the Middle Ages, where pilgrimages to worship their sacred vestiges were considered the ultimate act of piety for the lay person. Relics – the physical remains of a canonised individual or an object of similar significance – offered a tangible connection to the divine, with pilgrims seeking their benevolent protection on earth. Following the ascension of Christianity in the Latin West and the consecration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335AD, the act of making pilgrimage to the Holy Land became an established facet of Christian practice. Making personal contact with the sites connected to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was both a means of achieving a closeness to God and the heavenly realm, as well as absolving oneself of earthly sin. It was the ultimate act of devotion for the

medieval Christian and, by the eleventh century, both men and women of the entire social strata were making the journey from the continent to the Middle East. However, it was an expensive and arduous undertaking and, whilst primary accounts attest to the multitude of persons who visited the Holy Land to mark the millennium of the Passion of the Christ in 1033, it was a remarkable feat in itself. Not every pious individual could afford to embark on such a journey – local shrines too served as centres of veneration, with saints’ cults establishing themselves throughout Christendom. The association of a saint with a particular area often served as the foundation for their worship, as illustrated by St Thomas Becket who served as Archbishop of Canterbury before his murder and subsequent interment there. Historical and even topographical connections to the canonised led to ecclesiastical attribution in certain places and individuals would flock to have the power of their benevolence bestowed upon them. Saints served to bridge the gap between the heavenly and earthly realms – a divine presence in mortal form – and their physical remains on earth maintained that connection. The veneration of

icons and relics has had a complex history, however, with two periods of imperial iconoclasm during the Byzantine era outlawing their worship. In retaliation to the first iconoclastic uprising, the Second Council of Nicaea held in 787AD decreed that all Catholic and Orthodox churches must have a relic installed at their altar prior to consecration. The power of the relic was so widely felt that records dating from the eleventh century indicate that they were also taken on tour, allowing those were unable to make the pilgrimage to their shrine an opportunity to make contact with them. For the clergy instigating this venture, it also served as a means by which to earn funds for the upkeep of their sacred spaces. In a period where mortality was threatened by mass plague, inadequate medicine and off balanced humours, miracles were the often the only hope of cure and salvation for the desperate. The belief that saints were capable of performing remarkable deeds, even in death, was propagated by their seemingly extraordinary being. St Anthony of Padua was a thirteenth-century Franciscan priest, renowned in life as a great orator and dedicated to helping the poor and infirm. Upon exhuming

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic his body in 1263, his tongue was reported to be as moist as it were in life – despite having died 32 years prior. This discovery indubitably confirmed his ecclesiastical power in the minds of his followers and fostered belief in the incorruptibility of saints. Following this revelation, both his tongue and jawbone were entombed within their own intricate reliquaries and to this day are celebrated annually in a procession, aptly named the Feast of the Tongue of the Saint. Reliquaries, vessels for holding the corporeal remains, were often elaborate, highly decorative works of art in their own right, their ornamentation mirroring the greatness of the individual they were designed to commemorate. Like their contents, reliquaries took various forms. The ornate gold, silver and bejewelled reliquary that holds the holy mandible of St Anthony has been crafted in the form of a head and shoulders, the jawbone itself interred behind a rock crystal domed ‘face’. The resulting image is a powerful one and ensures that no audience is left to doubt the saint’s glory. Whilst reliquaries were commonly constructed to house the bones – or, indeed, the tongue – of canonised persons, they may also contain non-human remains of religious significance. A wooden reliquary, found in the Sancta Sanctorum at the Lateran Palace in Rome and dating to the sixth century, contains earth and stones from an early pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Reliquary Cross (c. 1180) holds fragments, according to engravings on its side, from the wooden cross on which Jesus Christ himself was crucified. Much like the reliquary of St Anthony, it too is decorated with numerous glass beads resembling exotic, lustrous gemstones. As the popularity of the saints’ cults and relic worship swelled, not every congregation could possess a physical attribute of the saint incarnate. A need arose for skilled artisans to create replica artefacts, such as the Johannisschüsseln or ‘Johannes bowl’; a wooden effigy portraying the severed head of John the Baptist displayed upon a platter, it was a popular devotional object in northern Europe. Despite a lack of ecclesiastical remains, the power of the sculpture’s form allowed it to take on an ethereal presence with the laity


Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic seeking its healing capabilities, particularly in relation to head and neck ailments. Such objects convey the sacred nature of biblical sites and persons, and the importance of feeling closeness to one’s faith, regardless of distance – an artefact capable of unifying, empowering and seemingly healing an individual.


spread destruction of religious institutions during this period saw Thomas Becket’s shrine and all of his vestiges desecrated, save for the bloodstained robe worn at the time of his murder – it had been sent to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore 50 years prior by Henry VII. Despite attempts to prohibit their worship, the relics of saints remain treasured and venerated to this day, an immortal Despite their immense popularity, pilgrimages link between the corporeal and the divine. The began to fall into decline in 1536 with the in- vestment of Thomas Becket is testament to that ception of King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the with its return to Canterbury Cathedral expected Monasteries. Simultaneously, Protestant Refor- in 2020 to commemorate the 850th anniversary mation spread throughout Europe and sparked a of his death, wherein a new generation of pilresurrection in iconoclastic practice. The wide- grims will be welcomed.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


RESOLVING CONTRADICTIONS: TYRANNY, CELEBRATION AND SIMONIDES’ EPITAPH OF ARCHEDIKE By Justin Biggi ἀνδρ οϛ ἀριστεύσαντοϛ ἐν Ἑλλάδι τῶν ἐφ᾽ἑαυτοῦ Ἱππίου Ἀρχεδίκην ἥδε κέκευθε κόνις, ἣ πατρόσ τε καὶ ἀνδρὸς ἀδελφῶν τ᾽οὖσα τυράννων παίδων τ᾽οὐκ ἤρθη νοῦν ἐς ἀτασθαλίην. The dust now covers Archedike, daughter of Hippias, he who was the best amongst those of his time, and she did not turn her mind to recklessness, despite the fact her father, her husband, her brothers and her sons were tyrants. This epigram, Simonides’ 85D, has long been considered spurious. Chiefly, its apparent celebration of tyranny, so uncharacteristic for an Athenian poet who had often been very vocal in praising democracy, has confused many interpreters. In the introductory couplet, the word aristeusantos, ‘the best’, which refers to Hippias, has led many interpreters (including David Campbell) to believe that the poem is, in fact, praising the man. However, as Brian Lavelle points out, line one ends with the words ‘at his time’, a clear indication that being a tyrant, no matter how good it may be, is a thing of the past. From the first line, Simonides makes sure to place Archedike’s father, and, consequently, his reign, in the past: tyranny, and tyrants, no longer belong to the present and to democratic Athens, but rather are mentioned only as something of a time gone by. In this way, Simonides is discrediting the power tyranny may have held previously, by pointing out how ephemeral it actually is. Aristeuō, from which the participle aristeusantos comes, is derived from aristos, the superlative form of agathos, which can mean ‘noble’ or ‘good’. In discussing the nature of aristocracy in Athens, Josiah Ober defines it as ‘differentiated from ... [lower social classes] by the qualities of being noble and good (agathos)’. So far, it seems that aristeusantos is generally a positive modifier, a fact which I am not aiming to

disprove. The qualities of ‘noble and good’, as Ober points out, were seen as ‘inherited ... desirable traits’. It is in this concept of inherited nobility (of body and of spirit) where I believe lies the way to reconciling Simondies’ use of aristeusantos with his otherwise wholly critical attitude towards tyrants. As Lavelle points out, 85D is focused on Archedike and her relationship with her family. One would therefore assume that Simonides’ aim in opening with aristeusantos is to show how Archedike inherited her father’s supposed noble qualities. However, the second couplet actively pushes back against the idea of Archedike inheriting anything positive from her family: she is admirable because throughout her life she kept away from her father and his hubris. By using aristeusantos, Simonides is playing with the audience’s expectations, emphasizing Archedike’s actual virtue in the process, as is shown in the final two lines of the epigram. Compared to her relatives, the woman managed to keep herself from being ‘reckless’, atasthalien (Sim. 85D 4) . Lavelle describes the term as having “only bad connotations” and being “particularly pernicious”, as he puts it, when used to refer to tyrants. He defines atasthaliai as ‘acts based upon reckless contempt for human and divine law’, therefore infusing the word with hubristic connotations. Simonides places this word at the end of the second line of his second couplet, intentionally paralleling it with turannōn, ‘tyrants’ in the line above, this way connecting Archedike’s tyrant relatives with the unlawful actions they have committed. The fact that Archedike ‘did not raise [her] mind towards recklessness’ (Sim. 85D 4) is paralleled, and contrasted with, the fact that she did so even though her father, brother, husband and sons were all tyrants. Simonides’ use of the participle ousa (‘being’), which Lavelle interprets as a concessive participle, adds a

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic further layer to his explicit comparison between Archedike and her relatives: she has kept away from hubristic thought despite who her relatives are. Simonides is emphasizing Archedike’s goodness by comparing her in a positive light to the men in her family, who are all tyrants.


A chief example of this is the celebration of the actions of the tyrannicides Harmodius and Aristogeiton. Following their death, they were hailed as being those who ‘made Athens equal (isonomous)’ (Scolia 893) by killing the tyrant Hipparchus. They were honored through not one but This negative view of her family is further rein- two celebratory statue groups. The dedicatory epforced when we take a closer look at Athenian at- igram is attributed to Simonides. In this couplet, titudes towards tyranny. As Kurt Raaflaub points Simonides states that: out, tyranny was used (both in politics and in art) as a ‘contrast against which [Athenian citizens] Ἧ μέγ’ Ἀθηναίοισι φόως γένεθ’, ἡνικ’ defined their shared civic identity’ which was Ἀριστογείτων Ἳππαρχον κτεῖνε καὶ Ἁρμοδιος” fiercely democratic. Raaflaub argues that Atheni(Sim. 76D). ans were deeply familiar with the concept of tyran- The great light [of deliverance] was given to the ny (regardless of whether it was explicitly referred Athenians, when Aristogeiton and Harmodious to) and, in particular, with the concept of tyrankilled Hipparchus. ny as something ‘overwhelmingly negative’. The word turannos itself carried negative connotations Aristogeiton’s and Harmodius’ act of tyrannicide which other words indicating sovereignty, such as is wholly positive, as they bring ‘the light of dearche and kratos, did not, and explicitly contrasted liverance’ to the Athenians. This shows us that with the Athenian ideal of isonomia, the concept Simonides was actively participating in the pubof all (male) citizens being completely equal. lic discourse credited by Raaflaub with represent-

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic ing tyranny as diametrically opposed to Athenian democratic ideology. Raaflaub’s theory, that a positive view of tyranny in Athens seems ‘unlikely’ also strengthens our rejection of Campbell and Lewett’s supposed ambiguity of Sim. 85D. What at first seems an out-of-character celebration of tyranny becomes, on second glance, much more complex. In the four short lines of 85D, Simonides celebrates two distinct but interconnected things. On the one hand, he is celebrating Archedike herself, who, despite her family and their tyrannical tendencies, was still worthy enough in the eyes of an Athenian to receive praise after death. On the other hand, however, he is also celebrating Athens itself, as a democratic and anti-tyrannical institution. By emphasizing how Hippias is a man of the past, he is drawing from a tradition which he himself is part of, one of presenting tyranny as


diametrically opposed to democracy and therefore Athens. His celebration of Archedike’s life therefore becomes a celebration of the city of Athens itself and, more broadly, of democracy as a form of government.

NB: The owner of the noun, “mind”, which Archedike kept away from atasthalien is ambiguous. Lavelle (242) takes it as it being Archedike’s nous, therefore grouping the children (paides) at the beginning of line 4 with her father and brothers, all tyrants, an interpretation I have chosen to follow. The alternative reading of the genitive paidōn as depending on noun does not however contradict my thesis: a further testament to Archedike’s goodness (compared to Hippias’ tyrannical ways) can therefore be seen in how she kept her children’s minds away from atasthalien, having them inherit her virtue rather than the “virtue” of her husband, father or brothers.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


COMMEMORATING THE SREBRENICA MASSACRE OF 1995, AND A HISTORY OF THE UN’S MANDATE FOR INTERVENTION SINCE 1945 By Martha Stutchbury On 24 October 1945, the Charter of the United Nations was officially ratified, instituting Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision for a multilateral, peace-securing organisation that rectified the many inadequacies of the League of Nations. What the world has since come to recognise as the UN’s Peacekeeping force - the ‘blue helmets’ that are currently 100,000 personnel strong and deployed across 14 missions globally - were not defined in this Charter, but rather drew their mandate for intervention from Chapters VI and VII of the new legislation. Such chapters, entitled Pacific Settlement of Disputes, and Action with Respect to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression, stipulated that ‘in peacekeeping there is no enemy’, demanding an impartial approach from Peacekeeping forces when acting abroad. This article will briefly trace the evolution of the United Nations’ stipulations for the allowance of Peacekeeping intervention since 1945. It will subsequently draw particular attention to the Srebrenica Massacre of 1995, in which the UN’s Peacekeeping role is widely understood to have constituted a neglectful failure towards Bosnian Muslims that ‘overwhelms understanding’ in its scale. The deaths of over 7,414 Muslim men and boys

at the hands of Mladic’s Serbian militants in Srebrenica, with over 450 impartial Dutch Peacekeepers present in the territory, has raised significant debates regarding the susceptibility of the United Nations to legal prosecution, with the Mothers of Srebrenica organisation mounting numerous, but unsuccessful, cases against the UN through the International Criminal Court since 1995. The earliest armed United Nations Peacekeeping Operation was sanctioned by the General Assembly in 1956, to resolve disputes arising from nationalisation of the Suez Canal. Accompanied by the world’s first United Nations Emergency Force, 6,000 military personnel were deployed to the Canal and the Sinai Peninsula. The UN’s Swedish Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold, and Canadian Diplomat Lester Pearson cited their grounds for such intervention in five points that came to be unofficially adopted by the UN when articulating their mandate for future interventions. Peacekeeper intervention was deemed legitimate where only where: there was consent from implicated parties to a Peacekeeper presence, the assurance that force would be used in self-defence only, the mission was impartial, the Blue Helmets themselves were voluntarily con-

scripted and from small and neutral countries, and that the mission would be monitored on a daily basis by the UN Secretary General. With this as a basis for future interventionism, the UN embarked on numerous Peacekeeping missions over subsequent decades. Particularly significant was the deployment of 20,000 troops and officials to the Congo in 1960, two weeks after its declaration of independence. This mission exposed the UN to heavy criticism after it extended its original mandate in 1961, to permit the forceful elimination of secessionist threats to the Congo, presented by mercenaries in the province. Disagreements regarding the disparity between the UN’s liberal promotion of national self-determination, and its expanding mandate for Peacekeeping intervention were articulated further at the close of the Cold War - a period characterised by the birth of ‘second generation peacekeeping’, a phase which Solà-Martín and Woodhouse attribute to the period 1988-1995. This time, it was the UN’s intervention in Namibia that presented the UN’s subsequently ‘standardised’ principles for intervention. The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) became the first peacekeeping operation

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic with a mandate for peacebuilding as well as peace-maintenance, and the structure of the operation is considered partially responsible for the transition of the country into its first democratically elected government. Drawing on the success of Namibia, UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali published ‘An Agenda for Peace’ (1992), which gave the UN a newly articulated responsibility for, amongst other things, the ‘custody and destruction of weapons’ in areas of dispute, and the ‘reform and strengthening of governmental institutions’ in member countries. The legacy of an increased mandate left by the UN’s second Peacekeeping generation brings us to 1995, and the role of the United Nations Peacekeeping forces in the Bosnian war. In January 1995, Commander General Phillip Morrillon announced the protection of the geographical zone and population of Srebrenica - a strategically significant and much besieged border town in the conflict between Bosnian Muslims and Serbian militants, with a predominantly Muslim population of over 42,000. This announcement, and his subsequent establishment of a base for 450 Dutch peacekeepers in the nearby town of Potocari, under the instruction of Thomas Carremans, provided immense relief for an over-populated town of Muslim refugees from throughout Bosnia. The refugees had travelled to Srebrenica whilst fleeing Ratko Mladic’s agenda for ‘ethnically cleansing’ the Bosnian population. Hassan Nohanavich, a citizen of Srebrenica and translator between the town and its Peacekeepers, describes the introduction of the

Dutch into the town, citing conversations where the soldiers appear to question their own involvement in the conflict – ‘it’s not our war’. Such conversations raise broader questions about the psychology of any army without national allegiances. For further analysis of Peacekeepers’ psychological and cultural distance from the populations they protect, Andrea Ruggeri and Vincenzo Bove present a highly relevant discussion of the potential for impartiality to be detrimental in Peacekeeping effectiveness.


en, children, sick and elderly fled to the Potocari base for protection where, after the admittance of approximately 5,000, the Dutch claimed that their protective zone had reached capacity. This left over 15,000 Srebrenica citizens in an unclassified zone between the now Serbian-claimed town of Srebrenica, and the over-saturated base of their Dutch protectors. In recent testimony, many peacekeepers have acknowledged the incongruous instructions afforded to them by UN headquarters at this time. They were simultaneously tasked with the protection of the Srebrenica Muslims, and warned against bringing any ‘body bags home’ without a mandate for violence against the Serbians. Against this backdrop of Peacekeeper military paralysis, the UN accepted demands to provide payment for 30 buses organised by the Serbian militants, transporting women and children from among the stranded citizens to Muslim territory. Approximately 23,000 women and children were deported over the next 30 hours, generating an almost comprehensive gender separation amongst the Srebrenica population. Between July 12 and 16, the Bosnian army became responsible for the murder of at least 7,414 men and boys remaining in Srebrenica, making the first official United Nations safety zone the site for the largest concentrated European massacre since the end of the Second World War.

On 8 July 1995, Serbian soldiers breached the Srebrenica enclave, taking 30 peacekeepers hostage under the presumption that UN headquarters would deem the Dutch ‘more important than the 30,000 Muslims’ they were charged with protecting, allowing them to advance into the protected territory of Srebrenica. On 10 July, remaining peacekeepers filed for air support, asking for permission to selectively bomb Serbian forces as they repeatedly shelled Dutch positions. After an initial rejection of the request by UN Commander General Bertrand Javier, a further request secured 50 UN planes for deployment on the morning of July 11. Nohanavich describes ‘thousands’ of citizens and refugees looking to the sky in anticipation of this retaliatory bombing, only to be informed that the Dutch request for Airborne assistance had been submitted on an ‘incorrect form’, leaving airborne planes primed for the defence of the Srebrenica population with new instructions from The events at Srebrenica have UN bureaucracy to return to their massively intensified the UN’s base in Italy. vulnerability to international criticism. The Mothers of SrebrenIn light of their delayed defence, ica have mounted legal charges 20,000 Srebrenica’s Muslim wom- against their Dutch protectors via

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and their failure to receive financial or legal compensation for their extensive losses has drawn attention to the legal immunity mechanisms contained with the United Nations Charter. Article 105, for example, guarantees ‘such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the fulfilment of its (the United Nations) purposes’. Opposition to this interpretation of the Charter emphasises that such immunity rights from within the UN are in direct contrast with the legal rights of citizens to seek trial or prosecution - the right to ‘bring any claim relating to their rights and obligations before a court’.

Indeed, the Mothers of Srebrenica argue that creating a ‘norm’ from United Nations’ immunity. It has become a legal immunity also deployed in other criticised peace-building operations, such as Rwanda (1993) and Somalia (1992-1995), must be surpassed on the basis that ‘there is (or shouldn’t be) a higher norm in international law than the prevention of genocide.’ The events of Srebrenica leave the international community with much to consider in an age of increased humanitarian intervention. It can be claimed that sovereignty - one of the key tenets of United Nations’ operations - ‘no longer exclusively protects states


from foreign interference’. The United Nations’ new mandate, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’, was decided upon at the 2005 World Summit. It emphasises the need for specificity in cases of intervention - justifying military presence in the case of war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. This further highlights the capacity for the United Nations to develop and evolve what it deems a legitimate mandate for military intervention, against the backdrop of a contested legal immunity that gives the UN, according to the grieving mothers of Srebrenica, a ‘de facto power’ that leaves it exempt from the rule of law.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


ZIMBABWE AFTER MUGABE: THE PROBLEMS OF COMMEMORATING THE PAST By Lewis Twiby On 6 September 2019, Zimbabwe’s long-term dictator, Robert Mugabe, died, aged 95, almost two years after he was deposed in a coup in 2017. The future memory of Mugabe’s rule would prove to be problematic for Zimbabwe – while Mugabe was an autocratic dictator who oversaw intense corruption and repression, he also helped bring down the white supremacist settler state of Rhodesia, present-day Zimbabwe. While Mugabe has the legacy of being a champion of Pan-Africanism and liberation, he also has the legacy of robbing Zimbabwe of its future. The violence and inequality which marked white-minority rule in Rhodesia cannot be understated. White rule began in 1888, when Cecil Rhodes’ British South African Company began mining in the region; this began a system where white settlers would dominate the region. Although the white population never exceeded 8 per cent of the state, they controlled the entirety of Rhodesia’s politics and economy. Whites owned the factories and farms leaving the black African population as an impoverished labouring class. Just 6,000 people owned 40 per cent of the land employing a third of the population. Only whites could vote, own land, and access education – only a small section of the population, including Mugabe himself, could go to university. Naturally, the black African population

aimed to challenge this racism. Inspired by activists in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) was formed with a moderate, Joshua Nkomo, serving as its president. However, the Rhodesian government feared this and had it banned in February 1959 under the accusation that it was encouraging rebellion – over 500 activists were arrested. Nkomo formed the National Democratic Party the following year, but when this was banned in 1961 radical parties came into being. The most important two were the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) under Nkomo, and Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) under Ndabaningi Sithole. Frustrated by inaction, young nationalists, such as Mugabe, began pushing Zapu and Zanu to become more radical – Mugabe himself started adopting Marxist-Leninist rhetoric. As Africa started throwing off colonial rule, the white settler population became fearful over the possibility that their own power could be challenged. The new prime minister, Ian Smith, declared that there would be “no majority rule in my lifetime” and issued the Universal Declaration of Independence (UDI) in November 1965. No countries bar Apartheid South Africa and Portugal, who had white settler colonies in Angola and Mozambique, recognised the UDI, and a guerrilla war began domestically. Smith began a brutal war against the black pop-

ulation. Mugabe became a martyr when he was imprisoned from 1963 to 1975; he was forced to flee to a newly independent Mozambique where he took control of Zanu. Rhodesia claimed this was a “Bush” or “Dirty” War, implying fault on both sides, but the black population took the brunt of the casualties. The Rhodesian forces had 1,250 casualties to over 10,000 for Zanu and Zapu, and over 20,000 civilians (overwhelmingly black) thanks to racist government repression. With the fall of white rule in Angola and Mozambique, and the US losing interest in propping up Smith, the combatants were brought to the table in the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement. In the following election, Mugabe boasted his radical credentials, promising to drive out settlers, saying that he had a “degree in violence.” In 1980, Mugabe’s Zanu won the election, bringing Mugabe to power and ending a century of apartheid rule. Initially, Mugabe earned himself an image of a new, vibrant Pan-Africanist bringing a new era to the newly named Zimbabwe. He created links with other newly independent states, namely Mozambique; brought African imagery onto the flag; renamed cities to move away from European names; and brought Africans into the civil service. Quickly abandoning his radical rhetoric, Mugabe at his inauguration declared that “The

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic

wrongs of the past must now stand forgiven and forgotten” as Bob Marley sang the new anthem. He began the process of bringing economic equality to the impoverished population, making it illegal to unjustly fire employees, instituted a minimum wage, began an adult education programme, and redistributed land to former veterans. Nanjala Nyabola emphasised how so many children in her generation were called Mugabe in his honour so that she thought it was a Kenyan name until she entered higher education. It seemed that he had followed the advice of Tanzania’s President, Julius Nyerere: after inheriting a diamond he seemed to keep it that way. This would soon change.


tempts to destabilise the country – prior to 1980, 40 per cent of imports came from South Africa which were soon cancelled. Being a former colonial state, Zimbabwe also inherited a system designed to disenfranchise the general populace. Mugabe quickly turned to self-enrichment and even genocide. Using the newly created paramilitary force, Fifth Brigade, in 1983 he began a policy called Gukurahundi – Shona for “the early rain which washes away the chaff” – to wipe out Zapu’s support. However, party loyalty fell heavily along ethnic lines, so when Zanu, largely supported by Shona, attacked Zapu’s support base in Matabeleland it saw ethnic violence against Ndebele communities. It has been estimated that over 20,000 people were murdered during the A combination of Mugabe’s own despotism and Gukurahundi. neo-colonialism meant that the Zimbabwean dream soon failed. The Lancaster House Agreement meant As the 1980s gave way to the 1990s, economic inthat the white settler population would permanently equality returned to Zimbabwe on a grand scale. hold seats in the parliament, and land redistribution The IMF had been forcing African states to implewas based entirely on if Britain wanted it to hap- ment neo-liberal reforms causing domestic conpen – redistribution would only happen when Brit- flict among political leaders; Mugabe, in contrast, ain agreed to compensate white farmers. Economic adopted them with no hesitation, abandoning any problems were made worse by South African at- pretence of socialism which he held a decade pri-

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic

or. The social reforms of the 1980s were rolled back affecting the impoverished war veterans the most. Meanwhile, the Western media focused on his violent seizures of white farms – by 2006 60 farmers had been killed. Although he tried to justify this domestically by using the rhetoric of decolonisation, the land seizures only earned him limited support. It became quickly clear that the seized farms were not redistributed to landless communities but were instead handed over to Zanu officials. The settling of 52,000 families on 6.5 million acres, although commendable, was the bare-minimum to tackle the issue. Popular anger arose thanks to the overt disregard towards the thousands of landless families – the agricultural minister, Witness Mangwende, was revealed in April 1994 claimed a 3,000-acre farm which was meant to be distributed to 33 peasants. It quickly transpired that a further 300 farms were instead handed out to Zanu ministers and officials.

were highly respected by the population. As Zvakanyorwena Sadomba also argued, veterans remained committed to forming an equal and democratic Zimbabwe, so regularly offered grassroots opposition to continued oppression and neo-colonialism. Newly emerging parties, most notably the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), tried to garner veteran support for this reason. Veterans like Chenjari Hunzvi argued that they had been “short-changed” by Mugabe. Often Mugabe faced domestic backlash for cracking down on veteran protests, claiming they were “white stooges” or MDC plants, so responded by attacking the white community – in 2000 he declared that Britain best get ready to evacuate 20,000 of its nationals. However, the continued veteran opposition would serve to constantly undermine Mugabe’s rule; this became accentuated thanks to mass unemployment, a staggering 80 per cent by 2006, and urban destitution. In an effort to bring ‘law’ to urban shantytowns 700,000 peoHowever, we have yet to mention ple lost their homes or businesses the key focal point for why Mug- in Harare and Bulawayo when the abe, domestically, lost favour: the slums were destroyed in 2005’s abandonment of war veterans. As Operation Murambatsvina. Again, veterans had fought and exiled, the most affected were veterans. in order to break white rule, they This brings us to 2017. Mugabe re-


placed his vice-president, an architect of the Gukurahundi Emmerson Mnangagwa, with his wife, Grace Mugabe. Mnangagwa was not popular – Shona Kambarami has accurately described him as “Mugabe’s bodyguard.” However, his replacement was the last straw for three reasons. The first, he was a veteran reminding Zimbabwe of Mugabe’s treatment of veterans; second, Grace represented a continuation of Mugabism; and three, anyone was preferred to Mugabe. The military stepped in and Zimbabwe’s long-time leader was deposed after 37 years in power. As stated by Everisto Benyara, the Mugabe of 1975 or 1980 would have a lot to say about his future self. Zimbabwe has a similar issue. An older generation, remembering apartheid rule, see him as the man who broke a horrific and exploitative rule. A younger generation, who can only remember Mugabe, can only see the man who robbed their future from them. Now that he is dead, Zimbabwe will be debating how to commemorate independence. Kambarami’s interview with those who remember 1980 reminds us of this – Hope, but no chance of change.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


TE PUEA HERANGI By Tessa Rodrigues In the face of colonialism, Te Puea Hērangi stands proudly as one of the most influential female leaders in New Zealand. She overcame both the oppressive force of settlers encroaching on indigenous land and the subsequent instalment of their patriarchal values. Even in our time, she should be commemorated not only as a feminist icon embodying female strength in the face of male adversity, but as an indigenous figure who adapted to survive colonialism rather than bowing down to it. Te Puea Hērangi was born on 9 November 1883 in Whatiwhatihoe, in the Waikato region of New Zealand. On her mother’s side, she belonged to the Kāhui ariki (noble tribe), the family of the first Māori King, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero. Contrastingly, her paternal heritage was part Pākehā (English), as her grandfather was the English surveyor William Searancke. Despite her maternal grandfather’s dislike for her Pākehā side, Te Puea was able to utilise her shared heritage to slowly become accepted within the Māori royal family. Her skills and intellect came naturally, drawing both from her English grandfather and her Māori culture. Fascinated by Māori traditional songs and lore, she absorbed as much tribal knowledge as she could from her uncle Māhuta, who was successor to the king. She soon was encouraged to give speeches and sing traditional Māori waiata (songs) in front of her tribe, but the increased attention led to her to develop a more individualistic character. She, like many women within history who seek to distinguish themselves from the crowd, became labelled as arrogant. Her youth was also coloured by her various short-lived relationships. Straying from the traditional role of wife and mother, she was labelled as promiscuous and a drunkard by her family and whānu (extended family).

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic

During one of such relationships with Pākehā man Roy Seccombe in 1898, Te Puea cut herself off from her tribe and the burden of her ariki title.

of unity symbolised by the kingship, which was developed for the benefit of the Māori rather than to challenge to British authority. The founders of the Kīngitanga movement hoped that the new sense of In 1910, Māhuta appealed for her unity would strengthen the Māori to remember her duty to her peo- in the face of colonial adversity. ple. He had recognised qualities of a leader within her, despite her per- So, where does Te Puea Hērangi ceived unrestrained youth. She had fit into the Kīngitanga narrative? to ask herself if she was willing to The movement focuses on the polfulfil her role as duty to her people itics at the end of the nineteenth in such a difficult time. However, century, a domain that was not she was strong in her conviction, welcoming to a woman, let alone and a person of principle. She a woman of colour. However, she soon resumed her position with- worked with Māhuta and his choin her ariki. Her return was met sen candidate for the Māori within with some resentment, but Te Puea Parliament, Maui Pomare, to proovercame all obstacles and diffi- tect the cultural beliefs and pracculties with courage and persever- tices of her people. Her dedication ance. She stood outside the norms to her people and their survival in dictated by her largely patriarchal a new colonised world propelled society and became a key player of her forward as a key political figthe Kīngitanga movement. ure, despite her gender. In addition to her role in the Kīngitanga Also known as the King Move- movement, she fought to have the ment, the Kīngitanga movement Tainui lands of the Māori rightfulbegan in response to the aggressive ly returned after the extensive conlegislative violation made against fiscation of the 1860s and led the Māori by British colonists who anti-conscription movement durexploited the terms of the Treaty ing the early years of World War of Waitangi (1840). The Crown I. She then became concerned with utilised the agreement to aggres- the economic status of the Māori sively purchase land, and the result and consequently helped to set up was divisive for the Māori. Land dairy farms and other economic was their identity, and by turning structures. They were able to build it into a profitable commodity the a strong economic basis while still colonists essentially stole their retaining a Māori sense of commucultural heritage and identity. The nity. Regardless of her supposed Māori sought to be a part of the coloured past and initial reluctance new government formed in 1854 to assume her role, Te Puea held and therefore decided to elect a her grandfather’s beliefs close to king to mirror the monarch of the her heart and made it her mission colonists. Te Puea’s great-grandfa- to re-establish a sense of purpose ther, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, was amongst her people. chosen to lead in 1858. He emphasised the importance of the spirit In essence, every part of Te Puea


showcased her stubborn, courageous and compassionate nature. She never once conceded to suit Pākehā needs, and instead helped the Māori to rediscover their cultural identity in the chaos of colonisation. According to Dr. Gina Colvin, even her lack of ‘qualifications’ for virginity or submission was a rebellion against the colonial system put into place. She was always comfortable within her own skin, embodying the sex-positive culture of the Māori from before the arrival of Christianity. She never had children of her own, but she remade the role of ‘mother’ and adopted around a hundred orphans following the 1918 Spanish influenza crisis. In 1929, she and her wards established the new Turangawaewae marae (a communal sacred space) and helped to build a community around it, an important step in revitalising the Māori culture within the lower Waikato region. Commemorating Te Puea Hērangi not only brings focus to the power that women can embody, but also discusses the consequence of bi-culturalism following European colonialism. Now, previously colonised countries are encouraged to return to their traditions and are often pressured to preserve their culture from the point of contact with European colonists. Such cultures become constrained by white definitions and are no longer dynamically alive. The legacy of Te Puea Hērangi fights the notion of a bi-culturalism co-opted by the colonists, and showcases that adapting one’s own culture to survive the new world order is key to preserving it for generations to come.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


PEACE, LOVE AND MUSIC: WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL AND THE CELEBRATION OF COUNTERCULTURE IN 1969 By Jack Bennett The American author and journalist, Hunter S. Thompson wrote in 1971 about a ‘high and beautiful wave’ of optimism, in which ‘every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash’. This conveys a romantic, yet accurate depiction of the American counterculture. The crest of this generational movement came in 1969 through the events of Woodstock Festival, which both celebrated the counterculture and signalled its subsequent entropic dissolution. Closing the Woodstock Music Festival in the early morning light of August 18, 1969, Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ resonated artistically, socially and politically, becoming one of the most important rock performances in the history of popular culture. Drawing upon the practice and proclivities of both African and African American musical signifiers, the execution of the track transcended all expectations. Thus, Hendrix’s musical declaration can be seen as an allegory for a fractured nation, internally dismantling itself as the music simultaneously and antagonistically embodied nationalism and its counterculture. Thereby, both were constructed within the American, youthful zeitgeist of freedom and liberation, along with overt, radical criticism of American involvement

in the Vietnam War. This was not just the American national anthem, but the musical call to arms for a youthful generational movement in the depths of cultural warfare which would shape the rest of the century. This performance brought an end to a three-day celebration of music, peace and love in August 1969, and proved to be culturally and generationally transformative. Woodstock not only took place at the conclusion of a decade defined by the interaction of radicalism and optimism, but also at the precipice of the 1970s, filled with continued conflict and potential. It is the coalescence of these two themes which shaped the ethos and continuing reverberations of the festival. On the one hand, American society had experienced the radical opposition to the Vietnam war, Cold War paranoia, the civil rights struggle, the chaos of 1968 and rising militant black nationalism. On the other hand, the country embraced the modern optimism of the moon landing in July 1969, showing the emergence of a society embracing sexual liberation and the cultural phenomenon that was the British musical invasion from 1963. It is important to define what is understood by the counterculture in this context. Robert C. Cottrell (2015) outlines how this baby boomer generation possessed almost a religious spirit underpinned

by a belief in social and political renewal and regeneration. Shaped by the development of a consuming media, this youthful generation demonstrated an inspired idealism defined by the combined hopefulness and expectation of liberalism. This was in opposition to traditional, establishmentarian conservatism as well as the disillusionment of earlier, now evanescent, dreams and visions. Engaging in communitarian, experimental and transformative philosophies, the counterculture movement pursued utopian lifestyles by critically coalescing in the cultural celebratory events of Woodstock in 1969. The cumulative transformative nature of such events combined is what made Woodstock such a unique moment. Responding to feelings of alienation, the events during those three days in the summer of 1969 embodied the celebration of the counterculture movement. Woodstock epitomised the growing sense of freedom, retaliation, possibility and faith. As the folk revival movement began to stall through entropic dissolution and factionalism during the course of the 1960s, the youthful revolutionary spirit and generational alienation expressed through the counterculture gathered momentum. The object of protest transitioned from the collective optimism of the civil rights

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movement and anti-militarism towards cultural resistance through expressive individualism and hedonism. This was through the sonic texture of condemnation and resistance, foregrounding the multifaceted tensions of the time and increasing internal repression and external militarism within the social and political landscape of 1960s America. This growth in independence culminated in the events of Woodstock at the end of the decade, as an amplification of social and political pressures. Rock music represented the disillusionment, struggles and discoveries of a new generation embodying evolutionary musical values and authenticity. Throughout the 1960s, popular music became increasingly reflective and suggestive of the rising political and social consciousness of the youth culture. Multiple narratives emerged as a direct result of the festival, such as the radical engagement of the ‘hippie’ movement, the overt commercial exploitation of youth culture, and the political statement through the pushback from the establishment. These movements led to the development of a politics of the self, which appealed to the counterculture emerging in the latter half of the 1960s, as youthful pilgrims embarked upon a sacred pilgrimage ‘back to the garden’ - an Eden beyond the reach of soul-destroying mainstream American society. Fundamentally, Woodstock celebrated a hopeful


generation’s cultural and musical-inspired ethos and mythology, reflecting idealised  dreams, transformed race and gender relations, while evolving interactions between the self and community. The cultural war represented by Woodstock created political and social divisions in the community directly impacted by it, which paralleled the wider American cultural wars which rumbled and flared throughout the decade. The central pivots that 1960s American cultural wars circled, and sometimes overlapped; the civil rights movement and black nationalism, the Vietnam war, the new left, and the folk, beat, rock, and hippie countercultures divided politicians, economic elites and communities. Many contemporary opponents of the Woodstock festival distinguished a connection between the explicit and often radical countercultural violations of America’s mainstream political, sexual and narcotic moral codes. Proponents advocated a generational education and development of understanding regarding the countercultural movement, in order to provide protection and insulation for the younger generation from subversive political activities, particularly, the perceived destabilising threats of communism and socialism, which countered the military-industrial complex and political establishment holding up the social order of Amer-

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic ica. Therefore, Woodstock became ‘hippie’ culture, along with funcan event of empowerment. tional anarchy and primitive tribalism. It engendered the possibility Musical experience and structure for the political and cultural salvainformed the development of rock tion of America’s youthful generaas a mature art form during the tion on a journey of self-discovery, 1960s. Sound tracking the youth speaking by each other, rather than culture of America, consciousness to each other. expansion, and countercultural expressions of social, political and Utopian impressions of Woodpsychological radicalism and ex- stock in the fifty years since have perimentation allowed for greater coexisted with local, national and self-realisation and liberation. The global debates regarding its roresisting of the inchoate political manticised memorialisation as a tensions regarding segregation, landmark of twentieth century culmilitarism and commercialism tural development. Fifty years afthrough alternative cognitive and ter the transformative festival, the social moves progressed beyond cancellation of official anniversathe framework of dominant cul- ry commemorations of the Age of ture. Opponents, however, saw Aquarius as a historical, cultural Woodstock as the physical man- and musical milestone, has transifestation of sexual promiscuity, formed it into the Age of Mercury drug and hallucinatory experience. in Retrograde. Nevertheless, the Additionally, they believed rock myth, idealism and spirit of Wood‘n’ roll morality was representa- stock continues to flourish and tive of the very things that were prove evocative. With the values incrementally undermining and of compassion, dignity and divercorrupting the moral integrity and sity celebrated in 1969, Woodstock fabric of America itself. Neverthe- became a synonymous byword less, Woodstock festival expanded for the progressive idealism of upon the communal lifestyle of a hopeful decade fundamentally


consumed by socio-economic and political realities. The Woodstock myth is a potent, evocative and controversial symbol, encapsulating the 1960s utopian political dream, through the unifying power of music, peace and love. However, in fact, the festival did not form the catalyst for the cultural paradigm shift imagined. Woodstock and 1969 became a moment of impermanence as the counterculture, and everything it had come to represent, drew its last, fleeting gasp. As hard drugs displaced gentler substances and violence broke out at Altamont Festival less than four months after Woodstock, a darker side to the countercultural movement and music festival were revealed. By the end of 1970, the headliners Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were dead. The Woodstock Festival left a trail of political, economic, and cultural fallout in its wake long after the last amp was trucked out, positioning the cultural and musical exposition within a broader history of American ascendancy.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Academic


ARRAS A SES ENFANTS MORTS POUR LA DEFENSE DU DROIT: THE 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES AND THE FRAGILITY OF PEACE By Kvitka Perehinets “Arras has her children dead for the defense of right(s),” proclaims a war memorial delicately placed at the train station of the northern French city of Arras, which was forever written into history books as the town located a rough six miles away from the frontline in the First World War. The complex legacy of the Treaty of Versailles – which turned 100 years old this June – sets it apart from all other centenaries related to the First World War, like that of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand or the armistice agreement signed in 1918. It has been etched in the popular consciousness, occasionally appearing as a passerby of a regular conversation – not many international agreements have gained the prestigious status of a household name. The imposition of war reparations, reclaiming – or annexation of - territory, and disarmament that the 1919 agreement brought upon Germany were meant to seal the formal ending of the First World War. Yet,

some historians argue, they also brought about the beginning of the Second. As modern foreign policy faces challenges in the wake of globalization and the rise of populism, the Treaty of Versailles is often invoked by politicians as an example of history not to be repeated. Earlier this year, Nigel Farage drew a comparison between the Treaty and the Brexit withdrawal agreement, thereby judging the deal as too harsh and a potential breeding ground for bitterness that could lead to something worse. Similarly, Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal has been compared to the agreement by some in the political science community, who argue that such an aggressive approach to foreign policy could result in escalation. On the other hand, if the public considers an agreement to be too lenient, they will call on the 1938 Munich agreement – which provided cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory of Czechoslovakia – the way Dick Cheney did when addressing the Iran deal

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in 2016. History has a case study for every instance. of Versailles is what inevitably put the world on the path to war may be too simplistic – in her own Considering the atmosphere surrounding the sign- words, ing, The Treaty itself was hardly treated as momentous, writes economist John Maynard Keynes in his “the story is more complicated than that…it may be The Economic Consequences of the Peace: unfair to blame those in the past for not knowing Paris was a nightmare, and everyone there what is going to happen.” MacMillan also stresses was morbid… A sense of impending catastrophe that in focusing on the treaty as the sole reason for overhung the frivolous scene: the futility and the Second World War, we risk neglecting the twensmallness of man before the great events confront- ty years of history in between the two wars and all ing him, the mingled significance and unreality of of the “many decisions [that] have been made and the decisions – levity, blindness, insolence, conunmade.” Indeed, historians, including Stephen E. fused cries from without. All the elements of an Ambrose, agree that while it can be argued that the ancient tragedy were there. treaty helped to “create some of the conditions of the Second World War,” it is also possible to extend The famous “Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mir- the argument further and assert that the events that rors” by Irishman William Orpen, paints an image followed did not have to necessarily culminate the of insignificance: those present in the room are way they did. “lost” in the grandeur of Versailles’ interior and US President Woodrow Wilson is shown as disengaged Versailles’ historical significance is beyond doubt from the setting he’s in, barely looking up from rightfully established – before the 1919 agreement, his newspaper. It is perhaps Orpen’s experience the Hall of Mirrors hosted the signatories of the of having to depict the tragedy and gore of war in proclamation of the German Empire at the end of the years preceding the signing of the Treaty which the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. French Prime can be held responsible for his lack of approval of Minister Georges Clémenceau’s decision to sign the the conference, which he considered to be an acute treaty in the same room some five decades later was demonstration of ignorance of the hardships of war. a conscious choice to reclaim the dignity that had His disgust at the scene caused him to paint over the been stolen. Stone writes on the matter: “Europe’s “Signing of Peace” with an image of a coffin with the inability to build a sustainable peace that would preUnion Jack draped over it in an empty room of Ver- vent war was not new: the only thing that was new sailles, titled “To The Unknown Soldier in France.” was the ability to kill millions of people with indusWhen explaining his decision to cover the original, trialized warfare.” Orpen controversially stated: “It seemed so unimportant somehow beside the reality as I had seen it The use of Versailles to demonstrate a shift in the and felt it when I was working with the armies.” balance of power could have continued – it was the intention of the Nazi party to use the Hall as locaThe complexity of the treaty’s legacy lies not just tion for the defeated Allied Powers to sign a treaty at in its arguably intended effect of humiliation, but the end of the Second World War, with Nazi Minisalso in the lack of an enforcement mechanism. This ter of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels referring to the combination proved an easy subject to exploit to fit “ceremony of the Treaty of Versailles” serving “as a specific rhetoric, as demonstrated by the Nazis in a model.” the years to come. The general agreement among historians is that the treaty is ineffective – however, The failures and successes of the Treaty of Verwhether it can be held accountable for the escalation sailles remain, to a small extent, disputed today. Yet of the Second World War two decades later is a the- the Treaty’s impact on the way we perceive Twenory highly questioned to this day. tieth Century history and diplomacy is undoubtful. An analysis of the execution of the peace proceedProfessor Margaret MacMillan of the University ings then must make us wonder: are we any better at of Toronto is of the opinion that to say the Treaty making peace today?

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17TH MAY, THE NATION AND THE INVISIBLE OTHER By Inge Erdal The anniversary of the signing of the constitution of 1814 occurs every year on 17 May, declaring the establishment of a sovereign, liberal nation-state of Norway, and is celebrated through civil marches, commemorative speeches, games and merry gatherings. It is easily the largest and most festive occasion on the national calendar. For many it has become the quintessential expression of the national values of liberty, peace and democracy, and those values were in no doubt shared by the fathers of the constitution, though their conception of these things would strike many today somewhat alien. Beyond the most obvious example of suffrage being restricted to wealthy male landowners, the most curious inclusion was the so called ‘Jew Paragraph’, referring to Article Two of the constitution that bans all Jewish entry or habitation in the country. It was a clause which had no equal in the rest of Europe, and in seemingly stark contrast to the classical liberalism present in the document. This seeming paradox makes more sense in the context of Enlightenment thought, in which its architects were immersed, and reveals a deeper and more uncomfortable truth regarding our affinity for the ideas of the enlightenment and its ideological heirs.

The Evangelical-Lutheran Religion remains the official religion of the state. The inhabitants that so confess, are obligated to raise their children in it. Jesuits and monastic orders must not be tolerated, Jews remain excluded from entry to the realm. Despite what it implies, the absolute ban on Jewish entry was an innovation of the document. The precedent did come from the legal code of Christian V, issued in 1687, which made Jewish entry and presence in Norway depend on a royal letter of permission. However, this did not apply to so called ‘Portuguese Jews’, or Sephardi Jews, likely due to their often-ambiguous status as Christian converts. That said, the legal code is best understood in the context of the absolutist state in Copenhagen closely guarding its privileges. After all, for Jews to be put under such restrictions by the state was hardly exceptional considering the extent of legal discrimination against them in Europe. As a result, the origins of the ban lie with its advocates, and their beliefs as a distinctive break with past practice.

The meeting of the Constitutional Assembly in Eidsvoll in 1814 consisted of 112 locally elected deleThe second article of the original gates. Despite the best efforts of the constitution of 1814 reads as fol- regency to include as many smalllows: holding farmers and lower officers

as possible, the resulting assembly was dominated by the professional bureaucratic class that had governed the absolutist state and church. Constituting 57 of the delegates, and being the most educated and generally most opinionated, they dominated the discussion and agenda of the assembly. Hence, it is not surprising that the chief proponents of the ‘Jew paragraphs’ were among them. Håkon Harket has identified them as Christian Magnus Falsen, Georg Sverdrup and Nicolai Wergeland, prominent members of the assembly and all highly educated and respected literati; Sverdrup being the newly minted Professor of Greek at the University of Oslo, established the year before. Though Falsen, Sverdrup and Wergeland had disagreements with regard to the nature of the new entity they were trying to establish, they shared a similar sentiment on the place of Jews in a nation-state. Falsen believed that Jews could never really be held accountable under a national law since they were followers of their own Mosaic laws and customs, and therefore could never be part of a national community except for one they governed themselves. This line of reasoning is quite distinct from what we often to attribute anti-Semitism; being a mix of religiously grounded bigotry and resentment towards them as moneylenders and traders. Indeed, this form of modern anti-Semitism has its roots in the French and German

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Enlightenment they had been educated within. Such a thesis has been postulated by the likes of Arthur Hertzberg in The French Enlightenment and the Jews, where he makes the case that the distinctly modern form of anti-Semitism, which would be taken to its logical conclusion by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, has far more to do with Voltaire than it does more traditional Christian anti-Jewish bigotry. According to Herzberg, Voltaire sees the Jews as a fallen race: morally and intellectually degraded by their customs and leadership and therefore unable to participate in a free, national society without having undergone process of state-led elevation where these degrading elements, i.e. Jewishness, are shed. Harket has also traced their inspiration from German Enlightenment thinkers like Friedrich Buchholz, who were among the forerunners of the idea of Jews as a parasitic influence on the social body. They saw them as an underdeveloped people that could only be integrated into society through military conscription and intermarriage. From this, it naturally follows that Jews cannot be citizens of a nation except their own, since Jewishness has been othered as a completely distinct entity.


That said, what makes this case so exceptional is the near-complete absence of Jews in Norwegian society. Unlike countries that developed such strong anti-Semitism, such as France and Germany, who had historic and well-established Jewish communities, a Jewish presence in Norway was essentially non-existent. Out of a population in the range of one million in 1814, there are only records of four Jews being expelled that year. They were therefore, in a sense, invisible. This reality also makes it clear that it was the enlightened liberals who pushed for the paragraph, and why it passed it with little opposition. It had little practical consequence either way and was pushed for by the most influential thought leaders at the assembly. This is of course not to deny that more traditional anti-Semitism was present among the less educated delegates and the general population. Crude and hostile stereotypes of Jewish tradesmen certainly existed, but it seems implausible that would be worthy of concern unless it was tied to broader ideological nation building project.. As a result, Jews were made the ‘invisible other’ to define everything the Norwegian nation was not; they were deemed rootless, dogmatic, unenlightened and lacking a homeland. This is a

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useful antithesis to what the men like Falsen, Sverdrup and Wergeland sought to create.


the legacy of the constitution which is celebrated every year. Moreover, one does not need to look very far for the invisible other’s continued role in nationalism. In Europe in general, and certainly countries like Hungary in particular, there are narratives and conceptions of refugees as a fundamentally alien and hostile entity, though they are miniscule or practically non-existent in terms of the national population. Naturally, this often applies to the Jews themselves, as anti-Semitism continues to be present in Europe though many Jews are not. These ideas remain fundamental parts of the inheritance of the Enlightenment, the implications of which have yet to be fully appreciated.

Though the paragraph was amended after a long campaign in 1851 to allow Jewish entry into the country, its existence and role in the nation-building project reveals a couple of fundamental insights. One is that the consequence of national celebrations like 17 May, as pleasant as they might be, are that they reinforce a sense of exceptionalism. Only the triumphs of the past are discussed in the limelight; prominently the independence, democracy and freedom of speech provided in the constitution. The negative is fundamentally part of the same set of values as the positive, and in no way inherently contradictory. It is just as much All translations are the author’s own.

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Indonesia celebrates Kartini Day every 21 April on the birthday of Raden Adjeng Kartini. A national heroine and feminist, she is one of the few women around the world that is celebrated in a national holiday. It is meant to remind Indonesia about the progress made in women’s rights, but it has been warped and twisted by colonial and political conflict for over a century. To understand why Kartini Day is celebrated with an odd mix of government ceremonies, beauty pageants, cooking contests, and lectures from women’s rights leaders, we must understand the influence of Kartini’s powerful beliefs and the motives of those who controlled their transmission in the Dutch East Indies. Born in 1879, Kartini was able to become a feminist because of the special circumstances in which she grew up as an aristocrat. Her father was a regent, and because polygamy was legal under Javanese Mohammedan (Muslim) law, she was a daughter of her father’s second wife. All of her father’s children were treated equally and given a western education, so Kartini became fluent in Dutch. This was remarkable even amongst the aristocratic priyayi class, who were afraid that western education would bring cultural alienation and Christian conversion. When Kartini turned 12, she was

removed from school and not allowed to leave her home for four years. This seclusion is a Javanese rite to prepare young, aristocratic girls to marry noble men by teaching them to be passive and obedient. Luckily, Kartini’s father allowed her to write to friends and to read Dutch books. These years were formative to her consciousness of her unique role as a potential cultural mediator between the Javanese and their Dutch colonial rulers. Kartini was freed from seclusion at age 16 in celebration of Queen Wilhelmina’s coronation as Queen of the Netherlands. Once freed, Kartini had numerous Dutch pen-pals, even putting an ad in a Dutch women’s magazine asking for one. She became close to the wife of Mr. Abendenon, the Director of Education. Through her extensive letters, she expressed her ideas of education for women, education for the Javanese, ending polygamy and forced marriages, and many others. She took it upon herself to educate her Dutch audience about their ignorance and objectification of Javanese people, saying ‘Much of what is still obscure and a riddle for Europeans, I could solve with a few words.’ Though an aristocrat, she vehemently disapproved of the special treatment she received in which younger or lower class people had to speak in formal speech, lower their eyes, or in some cases, crawl

in her presence. As she reached her twenties, Kartini became a novelty figure to the Dutch, much to her dismay. She had won an offer to study in the Netherlands like her brothers, but was eventually convinced to turn it down. To appease her ailing father, she agreed to marry at 24, an unusual age for marriage in Javanese tradition, but with certain conditions. Her husband agreed to support Kartini’s dreams of opening schools for girls, an incredibly progressive promise, and during their first year of marriage, she briefly operated a school to educate other aristocratic daughters with her sisters. In 1904, she died after giving birth to her first child. Mr. Abendenon immediately published her extensive letters in a book that became sensational for the Dutch and for the nationalist movement in Indonesia. As early as the 1930s, celebrations were held for Kartini in schools with ceremonies, special teachings, and festive performances. They popped up organically and were not mandated. By the time Indonesia declared independence in 1945, President Sukarno had repackaged Kartini Day as a national holiday to emphasize how women’s rights are tethered to nationalism; Kartini not only tried to further the cause of women but affected the Dutch perception of

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the Javanese and ushered in an ‘ethical’ era of colonialism. Handicraft competitions began springing up on Kartini Day to fundraise for women’s movements and literary programs. Fasting walking races, traditional dress wearing, and other celebrations began to emerge, and Sukarno began leading farther left towards communism. A coup overthrew Sukarno and he was replaced by the authoritarian Suharto who was strongly anti-communist. He began his New Order regime of conservative values, and he mandated Kartini Day activities in a way that reflected the change. All wives were expected to participate in kebaya - traditional dress-wearing, but with more high heels, heavier makeup, and more elaborate hair styles. Kartini-look-alike competitions and beauty pageants received wide news coverage, which was ironic considering how Kartini purposefully dressed plainly to reject her aristocrat status. The handicraft competitions, originally meant only to fundraise, expanded to cooking competitions to celebrate the ‘feminine spirit’, which introduced a caveat to Indonesia’s perception of women’s rights — the New Order celebrated women pursuing their dreams, as long as they did not forget their true responsibilities as a wife and mother at home. Suharto took ad-


vantage of Kartini’s eventual marriage and pregnancy to show how even the most rebellious of women must eventually return to their natural state. In 1995, female activists protested Suharto on Kartini Day, saying that many could not afford to dress their daughters and themselves elaborately every year, and that the activities are totally contrary to Kartini’s ideals. Today, there are still government ceremonies and antiquated competitions, like flower arranging, but the post-Suharto order does not mandate any activities. Many corporations offer gimmicks like free tickets or allow female employees to take Kartini Day off. The many ethnic groups of Indonesia are choosing to celebrate local heroines instead of Kartini, who was Javanese. ‘Kartini’ has also become a noun in Indonesian meaning successful women. Women’s rights issues are still centred around the holiday, with the public asking every year, ‘have Kartini’s ideals materialized in Indonesia?’ The remnants of Suharto’s order still afflict the public’s memory of Kartini. However, the activists that gather around this holiday continue to use it as a point of strength, to highlight other progressive women activists, and to try and remember the historical Kartini, not her symbol.

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THE BAYEUX MEMORIAL FOR JOURNALISTS: CELEBRATING NOISE OVER SILENCE By Peta Stamper Bayeux is a small town on the French coast, a four-hour drive from the port of Calais. The town and surrounding coastal villages, while bustling hubs of idyllic French life, are equally defined by the physical and psychological scars of the Second World War. Bayeux is itself renowned not only because it houses the thirty-onefoot-long Bayeux Tapestry, but for being the first liberated French town after the D-Day landings in June 1944. Visitors and residents passing through the cobbled streets cannot fail to be reminded of this history, confronted at one roundabout alone by the Bayeux War Cemetery, Bayeux Memorial Monument, and the Musée Mémorial Bataille de Normandie. However, in a copse cornered by these bastions of military memory, a short bridge leads the observant passer-by to a sheltered pathway. On either side of the path, pale stone steles record the names of over two thousand journalists and the dates of their deaths, killed on assignment since 1944. The Memorial for Journalists, inaugurated in May 2007, was a project driven by Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontières), an international NGO committed to defending the right to freedom of information. The journalists named reach across time and space; beyond European war correspondents killed during the Second World War which the loca-

tion of Bayeux might suggest. As a student of Latin America, I was particularly moved to see the name of Brazilian journalist and professor Vladimir Herzog. Herzog was killed in 1975 under the authoritarian junta (military government) during the continent’s wave of ‘dirty’ warfare. After being arrested and tortured, Herzog was found hanging in his cell, the official record detailing his cause of death as ‘suicide by hanging’. The Brazilian dictatorship, like many of its contemporary neighbours, thrived and survived in part because of a pervasive culture of silence and misinformation, as the deliberately mis-documented cause of death suggests. Therefore, the presence of Herzog’s name on the 1975 memorial stone particularly signifies a celebration of visibility. It re-tells the regime’s official narrative that Herzog took his own life, establishing instead, in stone, that he was killed by the junta as a journalist from the political opposition. Reporters without Borders worked alongside Bayeux’s mayor and local industries to fund the creation of the memorial, and the site was designed by Norman architect Samuel Craquelin. As mentioned, the memorial lists the names of correspondents killed in conflict across the world. So why Bayeux? A short film screened at the nearby Pegasus Bridge Museum revealed BBC reporters crouched in the back of Allied gliders, highlighting

the acknowledgement of a journalist’s presence, which I have never seen before from a military exhibition. The 1944 D-Day landings was the moment that was chosen to begin the remembrance of journalists. This choice has symbolic ramifications such as situating the memorial within a distinctly Eurocentric historical experience and narrative. Yet, the museum arguably also exists to bring conflicts from far-off locations into the European imagination. The memorial represents the universal ongoing conflict around information, defining ‘truths’. The Memorial for Journalists acts as both an international and localised site of remembrance. While the memorial is situated in a European context and understanding of modern conflict, the inclusion of journalists from across the world suggests the site functions for a multitude of commemorative cultures and peoples. That the memorial simultaneously acts for different individuals and groups is most apparent at the juncture where personal acts of remembrance meet their publicization or politicisation. Michèle Montas, widow of Haitian journalist and pro-democracy activist Jean Dominique assassinated in April 2000, described the memorial as ‘the only place in the world where my husband’s name is written in stone’. The significance for her as a relative of one of the listed correspondents is having a sense of permanence attributed to

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Features her husband’s life; kept alive through his name on the enduring stone memorial. Her words also suggest the durability of the values he represented: freedom of the press and the democratic system such freedom of discussion symbolises. These values are, as aforementioned, those of the RSF as written in their online manifesto. The memorial combines commemoration with celebration in order to serve the current purpose of enforcing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). For example, in October 2016 at the tenth anniversary ceremony at the memorial, there was a call by the RSF to the United Nations to ‘create’ a special representative for the protection of media personnel. Therefore, while Montas highlights the personal cathartic function of the memorial through providing living memory of loved ones, the memorial serves as a living reminder of the danger correspondents are often exposed to and proposes institutional measures to mitigate such danger.


find the ‘Missing reporters’ Monument’. Aa a request from families of those who went missing while on assignment, the life-size metal monument shows the silhouette of a reporter, camera in hand, embodying the physical absence of those whose bodies were never found, again symbolically combatting the ‘silencing’ of opposition voices.

It was interesting to see a group wearing British Legion red poppies walk past the entrance to the Memorial for Journalists and continue along the Boulevard Fabian Ware to the war cemetery. Perhaps their continuation reveals how hidden the Memorial for Journalists seems not only physically, but also within a European psyche. Without knowing the memorial stands among the trees, it could from one side be easily passed by; a startling contrast to the great open expanse of the neighbouring war cemetery. Similarly, the mediums through which most of us are exposed to conflict rarely include a glance through the looking Finally, the memorial represents the physical bod- glass behind the camera lens. Ultimately, the Memoies of those who cannot be recovered, perpetuating rial for Journalists in Bayeux prompts researchers and grief through uncertainty. RSF also later inaugurat- general observers alike to consider both the human ed a monument to missing reporters. At the open end cost of the historical sources available to us and the of the path lies the memorial garden where visitors luxury of being able to freely discuss them.

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‘Somehow it seemed impolite to go and stare at the Wall; it was something everyone had to deal with but tried to ignore,’ Joe Dilworth remarked on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago on 9 November 1989. This eyewitness account of a momentous occasion in Germany’s history indicates the intimidation that the Wall both literally and psychologically imposed on individuals during its nearly thirty-year tenure from 1961 to 1989. The date also carries particular weight in Germany because of its resonance not only in 1989 but also in 1938, in which stormtroopers enacted a pogrom against Jews legitimised by the Nazi regime named Kristallnacht or ‘the Night of Broken Glass’. The fall of the Berlin Wall should not be seen as a singular event distinct from prior historical events; Germany has experienced political extremity on an unprecedented level and therefore this date tolls like a bell. It must be noted that it experienced two world wars of which it was central as a ‘theatre of war’, and the division of its capital into zones of occupation by four major world powers implemented further social upheaval. The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 in the midst of the Cold War, when tensions between the East and the West were becoming even more tangible. Arising out of the post-war division of Germany between the Allied powers, Berlin was further partitioned into four zones of occupation between France, the UK, the USA and the Soviet Union. This represented the extent of Germany’s punishment after Nazi persecution and military defeat, but also the increasing dissonance between major world powers with the opposing ideologies of Capitalism and Communism. The Wall became a physical manifestation of not only the divisions between zones of occupation between the West and the East (the Western powers united the three zones in 1948) but also the artificiality of carving up a population with no regard to human existence or freedom of movement. The Berlin Wall was arguably built to contain as well as to keep out, and this was certain-

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Features

ly evident with the many escape Wall came about via an unexpectattempts from the East during this ed source; Günter Schabowski’s period. accidental admission that relaxed travel arrangements would be inJumping out of windows, tunnel- troduced with immediate effect arling, flying a hot air balloon over guably enacted the fall of the Wall. the Wall, smuggling people or sim- The irony of a state actor authorisply driving at high speed through ing the downfall of the very repubcheckpoints had all been used as lic that they represent is not lost on methods to escape the German the popular reaction to the event. Democratic Republic (GDR); the desperation to leave such a restric- Memory of the Berlin Wall is oftive regime is evidenced through ten displayed through humour; the attempting such feats. Bernard incapability of the German DemBergmann put his trust in two ocratic Republic is remembered schoolchildren, Tina Kirschner through cars such as the Trabant, and Barbara Kahlke, to transport or ‘trabi’ which was known for him across the border in 1984 its unreliability. This humour is following their school trip to the indicative of the relief not only Wartburg in Thuringia, which was that people felt when they sucin Soviet territory. One of the pri- ceeded in escaping or surviving, mary aspects of historical events but also represents their freedom that survive in collective memory to talk openly about their experiis the efforts of ordinary people in ences without the threat of Stasi their everyday activities to perform surveillance. It therefore potentialsomething extraordinary, and this ly conceals more psychologically is evidenced in the case of postwar damaging effects of the Cold War Germany. and is perhaps indicative of coping mechanisms to deal with the It must be noted that the Wall was construction of a physical embodia source of international attention ment of divisiveness. Berlin today throughout this period because of is still marked with the remnants the peculiarity of a population her- of the Wall and the regime it repremetically sealed from the outside sented. This is evidenced by physworld, especially at a time of more ical reminders like surviving segpermissive attitudes in the West. ments of the Wall commemorated American presidents made con- in public squares like Potsdamer tinuous pleas to the Soviet leader- Platz and gaudy re-enactments like ship, such as John F. Kennedy in Checkpoint Charlie - which has 1963, when he declared to popular sparked controversy recently for delight ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’, and its proposed redevelopment, and Ronald Reagan’s announcement to the prohibition of actors performthe Soviet Union – ‘Mr. Gorbachev, ing as U.S. soldiers at the famous tear down this Wall!’ in 1987. It border control point on Friedrichis also striking that the fall of the straße. We can also see this with


more unobtrusive residual matter like the Ampelmännchen, or ‘little traffic light men’ that are represented differently depending on whether you are standing in East or West Berlin. Thirty years on, the change from West to East can still be felt through the architecture and atmosphere remaining - the commercialisation of the Western side of Berlin is a sharp contrast to remnants of the Soviet regime such as the socialist classicism of Karl-Marx-Allee. While we look back on the Cold War as a time of intense ideological dichotomy, it is even more momentous given recent political allusions to the prospect of other physical impediments prompting divisions between populations. Francis Fukuyama might have previously described the fall of the Wall as the “end of history”, but this is not the case; nevertheless, the historical significance of the Berlin Wall is unquestionably clear. The rise of political leaders across the globe who employ nationalistic sentiment and populist leadership representative of a ‘cult of personality’ is reminiscent of emergent political diatribe of the early-twentieth century. A return to conservatism and growing fears about immigration has become again central to political policies and election campaigns. Therefore, the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is even more striking given its symbolism as an embodiment of social control, which reinforces its centrality to debate.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Features



In 1976, the then President of Argentina, Isabel Perón, was overthrown by a military junta which would drive Argentina through a bloody dictatorship until 1983, headed by Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla, who became President until 1981, along with Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera, and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti, who were head of the army, navy, and air force respectively.

which the regime needed. Thousands of Argentinians were never seen again, and efforts to remember them have been present during and after the ‘Dirty War’ came to an end. They have been named the desaparecidos (the disappeared).

One such method of commemoration was the production of art and photography. The visualisation of the Argentine dictatorship allowed citizens and the wider The central aim of the regime was to eliminate sub- world to understand and connect with the brutal vioversive activity within the country. In order for them lence and murder that was happening in their counto be successful, the military resorted to violent tac- try and even beneath their feet in major cities such as tics such as kidnapping, torture, public executions, Buenos Aires. show trials, extra-judicial assassinations, and arbitrary arrests. Artwork since the conclusion of the ‘Dirty War’ has flourished and is ever-changing, constantly prompting However, the most notorious tactic that allowed them the minds of passers-by to remember those who have to balance the right amount of publicity and conceal- disappeared. Murals depicting individual and collecment was the use of disappearances. Dissidents of the tive stories are seen across Argentine cities, bringing state were held in clandestine detention centres where light and colour to often dark stories. The visibility they would undergo excruciating torture, beatings, of murals has contributed to the construction of the and rape before confessing subversive information public memory of the desaparecidos.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Features

These murals have been created by neighbourhood associations with the purpose of marking the locations where the disappeared were taken by the state. There are countless murals depicting the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, the mothers who campaigned for their missing children, pressing the government for answers between 1977 to present day. Painted wearing their signature white headscarves, the depiction of the Madres across Buenos Aires indicates the willingness of everyday people to drive commemorative efforts to ensure that the stories of their missing family and friends do not fade from collective memory.


they had created a ‘photography of resistance.’ Along with fellow photographers, they organised an exhibit in the working-class area of San Telmo, where hundreds of the disappeared were from. Hanging photographs of those who had disappeared, the photographers were able to publicly display the faces of those unknown to highlight their disappearance.

Displaying the faces of those who had disappeared in such a public setting during the dirty war was a huge risk to the safety of the photographers, but it ulMurals have been created to encourage the public, timately highlighted that thousands had gone missing regardless of whether they lived through the turmoil despite many people not knowing. of the dictatorship or not, to partake in the commemorative efforts to learn and remember the stories of In 1994, students at La Plata university had established the disappeared. Murals have also played an impor- the ‘Architects Network’ to arrange a commemoratant role in reconstructing local solidarity that was tion where names of the desaparecidos would be addlost during the dictatorship when local leaders were ed to their photographs. The students reached out to disappeared. the families of every individual being commemorated and asked for photographs of them at their happiest. Furthermore, the colourful murals that paint the walls Surrounding the walls of the display, photographs of of Buenos Aires have successfully been able to turn a the disappeared were signed with their names and the dark period of history into something positive whilst dates of their disappearance. bringing a broken community together to remember those who had disappeared. The aim of this commemoration was to represent them as normal, everyday people, rather than just faces in a Photographers such as the late Guillermo Loiácono photograph without a name and story. This constructtook more pictures of the ‘dirty war’ than anyone else. ed emotional links especially with the children whose He and his colleagues did not notice until 1981 that parents had disappeared when they were young. For

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Features

example, a young woman who had lost both of her parents when she was an infant was able to see a photograph featuring her father and herself for the first time. The exhibition at La Plata therefore fulfilled its purpose by sustaining the memory of the desaparecidos as well as reigniting the memories between children and their parents. The Madres’ method of wearing photographs of their missing children also proved to be an effective way of commemorating the memory of their children. Historian Jean Franco, when talking about the significance of the mothers’ choice of protest as a form of commemoration says: The photographs carried by the Mothers became proof of exist-

ence. Often taken on family outings, they silently emphasised the fact that these people were not monsters, but young men and women whose absence had to be accounted for. The military tried to eliminate them from memory, but their images were turned into a commemoration. Standing against their attempted erasure by the state, the mothers used photographs to take back ownership of the place which their children had been taken from. The mothers would stand as symbolic place holders until their children returned. They ensured that their activism reached outwith the Plaza de Mayo across Buenos Aires where the faces of their children would be seen by their former


neighbours, friends, and colleagues and thus pricking the memories that they shared with them. Overall, visual representation through art and photography is vital in commemorating the lives of the desaparecidos. Buenos Aires was the centre of the Argentine ‘dirty war’ and the efforts made to remember them carry on to this day. The significance of Argentina’s art and photography is that it also allows younger generations to learn about those who fell victim to the state’s repressive tactics. Perhaps most importantly, commemorative efforts continue to prompt the minds of passers-by, allowing the memories of the desaparecidos to live on in their absence.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Fiction


COMMEMORATING ARABELLA STUART - A WOMAN WHO MIGHT HAVE BEEN QUEEN By Isabelle Sher Following the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, James Stuart came to the throne, uniting the countries of England and Scotland. Largely forgotten by history is a woman who many believed to be the rightful heir. Her name was Arabella Stuart, James Stuart’s cousin. In the present day, we view James’ reign as instrumental in the union of England and Scotland. In doing so, we are in danger of forgetting the tragic life of a woman who, had she become Queen, may have changed the future of England and Scotland forever. Arabella could not help but be displeased at the sight of the man who would imminently be crowned King. He was of a prominent stature and a healthy constitution, of that there was no doubt, but his plainness of dressing, nay, his shabbiness, was not at all of a manner befitting the ruler of England and Scotland. Though she rarely shied from voicing her opinion, Arabella knew better than to reveal her disgust; if she was to preserve her first taste of freedom, in whatever degrading form it might take, it would be wise to save her contempt for matters that required it. All her life, Arabella had been consistently denied. At the age of two her father had died, and the title of Countess of Lennox, in addition to her land, was taken by the Scottish government. Even her mother’s jewels had been stolen from her and were in James’ possession. Four years later her mother too perished, and Arabella’s education and care were placed under the charge of her imperious and dominating grandmother, the Countess of Shrewsbury. The young girl’s memories were, from the outset, tainted with sorrow; distant smiles and candlelight as she sat with her aunt, Mary, the Queen of Scotland, another prisoner held in the confines of her grandmother’s home, Hardwick Hall. Though feelings had hardened between them, as Arabella’s grandmother grew increasingly ambitious for the future of her young charge, the relationship between Arabella and her aunt had soured. When Arabella was twelve years old, the Scottish Queen was executed. When Arabella thought back to her childhood, she saw Mary’s face; tight-lipped, secretive and sorrowful. Arabella understood what it meant to be under house arrest. That was as far as her sympathies would extend. Mary at least, had tasted freedom. Every source of happiness and freedom had been stolen from Arabella, her family, friends, dreams and desires. Now that she had been outrightly denied the right to rule, surely, she might finally be allowed her freedom, her own wishes to be acknowledged. Arabella had grown up accustomed to the sense of duty that the responsibility of monarchy demanded. She had repressed her greatest feelings of upset and anger in the knowledge that one day, every decision would be her own. Those sacrifices were now meaningless. And yet, Arabella’s feelings on the sudden change in her circumstances were not one-sided. She had witnessed the devastating result of desperate plotting for the throne, she had seen her own aunt executed at the hands of the queen. An aunt whose intellect and manners she had respected, irrespective of the grudges the former may have felt towards Arabella. Now that she had arrived at court, she was continually disappointed. It was gravely different to her first visit at the age of twelve; where vivacious women and gallant gentlemen had delighted in entertainment and glittering wit. Arabella had been well-prepared for such a life, her understanding of languages was excellent and she had

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Fiction


determined to remain diligent to her studies. But the court was not what it had once been. James rarely engaged with his ministers, he was incessantly hunting and thus paid scant attention to courtly pursuits. He also cared little for his people, and although he was an advocate for peace between the Catholics and Protestants, he could not charm the way his predecessor had. The manner in which he ruled over his people was wholly different to how Arabella had been instructed to do so. Peaceful monarchy relied on popularity with the people, but such matters appeared to be of little interest to the new King James. Arabella had resented being locked up in the confines of Hardwick Hall, and it was not long before she began to resent her new life at the court. Her education was of little use here. Arabella’s thoughts turned to marriage, as it so often had before. Marriage promised escape. Arabella longed for adventure, and a secret marriage to William Seymour might be the first step to securing her independence, and more importantly, a destiny of her own choosing.

Issue 25 | Retrospect Journal | Celebrations and Commemorations | Bibliography


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