Freeze the frame
UNESCO adds World War I cemeteries, Rwanda's genocide slopes, and an Argentine torture center turned memorial to World Heritage list.
A list with wonders like the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids of Egypt on it just grew longer. At a meeting of the Unesco World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, member states have agreed to add World War I cemeteries and Rwanda’s genocide slopes to the list of World Heritage sites, apart from a torture centre in Argentina that’s now a memorial. It marked the end of a moratorium on memorials of human suffering, getting the UN tag for places deemed worthy of joint protection for posterity. The Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan have long held that status, of course. This decision is an acknowledgement that hair cannot be split too finely over what evidence of horror deserves preservation to serve as a shocking reminder to future generations of the evil that humankind can descend to and what doesn’t. The Nazi gas chambers in Poland are a shock to behold, and Rwanda’s more recent killings should not be held in a category apart. Holocaust denial still persists in parts of Europe despite hard evidence of it, and similar attitudes need to be countered in other geographies. Sites of suffering hold more than historical value.
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