debate must go beyond academia, says director of the National Archives

debate must go beyond academia, says director of the National Archives
debate must go beyond academia, says director of the National Archives
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How important is it to reveal memories about the civil-military dictatorship (1964-1985)?

A full understanding of our history as a nation is important, something that is very neglected in Brazil. Unfortunately, we are a country with little appreciation for our memory, with difficulties in knowing ourselves.

In this sense, no period overlaps with another, but I think that the history of the Brazilian military dictatorship ends up being a very key period for understanding the most recent events. Therefore, there will never be any movement on the part of the management of the National Archives to empty this agenda within the organization.

Like other historical periods, it is a key period for understanding our present, because there are many continuities, many developments in this period. It is a key period for understanding the present and even the future.

How is this connection between the dictatorship and the present and the future?

It is not possible to give up critical reflection on the past. And this from any historical period. If we think about the historical timeline, the dictatorship occurred very recently. Given this temporal proximity, we will still experience certain effects from it.

The military dictatorship that prevailed in Brazil from 1964 to 1985 had a very specific element compared to other authoritarian regimes that occurred in countries neighboring Brazil in the same period. Here an attempt was made to mask the dictatorial character and give a certain legitimacy to the regime.

Dictatorships are not sustained by repression and violence alone. It seems paradoxical, but there was also the construction of a set of values, of ideologies, which were designed to give muscle to this regime and made it exist for so long, for 21 years. The way the dictators, especially the military, conducted this process means that today we still live with many reverberations from that period.

You recently took over as Director responsible for Memórias Reveladas. What new actions and measures will be taken to strengthen this project?

What is being thought of for Memórias Reveladas was already being thought of before my arrival, obviously, but it gained new momentum as I approached it.

At the end of last year, there was a restructuring and Memórias Reveladas became a division within the structure of the National Archives. It is also repositioned in the Directorate of Technical Processing, Preservation and Access to the Collection (DTP), directly linked to the office of this directorate, which also institutionally strengthens the program.

This year, we celebrate 15 years of Memories Revealed on May 13th. Our intention is that we can reverberate the division’s actions throughout the year, guiding the memory of the Brazilian military dictatorship, reflection and knowledge of the struggles for rights and how archives relate to democratic strengthening. We plan to hold the 5th edition of the Revealed Memories Award in a renewed way, bringing together the multiplicity of segments that have reflected on the topic. The Award, in recent years, has been focused on monographic academic productions. We know that the university is a very important stage for this topic. This is a fact. But there are other sectors, other segments that are also dealing with the dictatorship in a very central way.

I’m talking about schools, media outlets, organized society, social movements, victims’ movements of the period. We want to put the Award on the streets, taking into account this multiplicity of voices and formats, especially in schools, in basic education, in how we can strengthen this theme in curricula, for example.

The Revealed Memories Award will reward academic productions, scientific articles on the topic, but also educational projects, valuing what has been done on the school floor on this topic, and also communication products.

National Archive employees have complained about the lack of structure to run the project, which would have been abandoned by the previous administration, which was sympathetic to the dictatorship in Brazil. Even though you weren’t in the area last year, but if you’ve been able to update yourself, what was the status of the project and how can you recover it?

When the current management of the National Archives took over the organization, what happened was a great scare in relation to the state of Memórias Reveladas. It’s as if Memórias Reveladas didn’t even exist. He was not visible in the regimental structure of the National Archives.

Now, Memórias Reveladas appears in the regiment, gains new muscle, becoming a division. With my approach, we begin to make internal moves to rebuild this team. Today, only two servers are dedicated to Memórias Reveladas activities. This is too little. Since my first day at the organization, I have worked to reinforce the Memórias Reveladas schedule.

This week, an unprecedented study by UnB researcher and former political prisoner Gilney Viana identified 1,654 peasants murdered by the dictatorship. The number is much higher than that identified by the National Truth Commission, which is 434 fatal victims. How does Memórias Reveladas dialogue with this research carried out by individuals?

This Gilney research, these new statistics, just shows how much this is still a very alive and dynamic topic. It is very important that we are close to the network of researchers who deal with this topic, strengthening this research with the documentation that we maintain at the organization today. The main objective is to strengthen this research based on the documentation we have so that one day, perhaps, we can arrive at statistics, more reliable data, closer to reality in relation to this number, especially those victimized by the military dictatorship. .

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: debate academia director National Archives

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