Thursday 18 March 2010

Suspicion of Arson at Ugandan Heritage Site Fuels Deadly Clashes

Riots erupted at venerated burial grounds in Uganda on Wednesday after a suspicious fire on Tuesday engulfed the Tombs of the Buganda Kings at Kasubi. The violence is a symptom of continuing troubles between the Ugandan government and members of the Buganda traditional kingdom who want more local power. The tombs were built in 1882 and later converted into a royal burial ground for the Buganda kingdom and are now a World Heritage site. In the fire the main tomb, made of wood, thatch, reed and wattle, burnt to the ground. Supporters of the kabaka, the Buganda king, blamed arson as the cause of the disaster, and Kingdom officials called for a week of mourning.

By Wednesday evening, hundreds of members of the Buganda community were streaming toward the remains of the tomb, camping out by their remains. Protests erupted when Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, visited the scene of the fire and protesters tried to prevent him from approaching the tombs. Witnesses said that police officers shot and killed three protesters.

Jeffrey Gettleman and Josh Kron Suspicion of Arson at Royal Tombs Fuels Deadly Clashes in Uganda, New York Times March 17, 2010.

Video here

The site can be 'visited' virtually here .

This situation is another example of the embedding of cultural property (in this case a place, a powerful place, a place of memory) in identity which universalist collectors' lobbyists simplify under their "Nationalist" label. The situation with 'identity' and 'heritage' is of course far more complicated than the Cunos of this world would like their readers to think.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.