Congress theme: “Libraries Now! - Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering”

The destruction of Cultural objects as another face of genocide

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Helena Rata

Helena Ranta, a Finnish forensic dentist and Professor at the University of Helsinki, gave a powerful speech about the destruction of cultural property—a lesser known face of genocide—and the importance of cultural heritage in recovery after a war. It was apparent that the audience was touched by her speech and her literary quotations were soon to be found as dozens of tweets on Twitter.

“Genocide is not an act of murder; it is a million acts of murder.”

Helena Ranta has encountered various examples of devastation during her career. In conflict areas international audiences don’t often recognize the destruction of the cultural identity. The targeting and trafficking of cultural property is used to deprive people of their identity.

“There will be no peace without justice

  There will be no justice without forgiveness.”

Helena Rata Peace, justice and forgiveness are related to one another—there cannot be one without the others.

A good example of the recovery after war is Anna Ahmatova’s poem Requiem, which was restored from Stalin’s era only by friends who learned her poem by heart and wrote it down later.

When the killing stops genocide is not over – people should listen to the faint voices of survivors and make them our teachers to remember. .

Helena made the audience understand the importance of cultural inheritance and how precious librarians’ work is.