I’m cheating a bit here, because if we had really gone on our trip, we would have moved on to Arequipa by now on Good Friday. But given that our planning didn’t get much further than Arequipa, I’ll mentally linger in Lima for a bit longer.
If I’d been there, I would have gone to LUM (Place of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion- I must say that I don’t know how those words in Spanish fit into the acronym). On my travels I have found myself visiting a museum commemorating atrocities that have occurred in living memory : in Medellin with the Museo Case de la Memoria, The Museum of Human Rights and Memory in Santiago, ESMA in Buenos Aires, and the Rwanda Genocide Memorial in Kigali. I often feel a bit ambivalent about visiting such museums: I’m aware that they spring from a political impetus and are often strongly contested and I fear that I’m being voyeuristic. But I’m also well aware of the importance of truth-telling, something that the Uluru Statement from the Heart implores us to do in relation to Australia’s indigenous history, and something that we seem unable to bring ourselves to do e.g. in the Australian War Memorial. So yes, if I were there, I would visit the museum in this spectacular building.
LUM opened in 2014 to commemorate the dead and to address the country’s enduring polarisation over human rights abuses committed by both the Shining Path guerrillas and the armed forces in the 1980s and 1990s. It was funded principally by Germany and also the EU, Sweden and the UN development program. It came under fire almost immediately for being biassed towards Shining Path by the supporters of former president Alberto Fujimori (who is in jail now anyway). However, it was championed by Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa .
Here’s a video about it with English subtitles.
It’s closed at the moment, as is everything else in Peru, because of the coronavirus. But there’s a good virtual tour you can do, accessed through the link below. Click on the black arrows to go forward, and the blue dots have more information. It’s all in Spanish, but that’s what Google Translate is for. Or, if you’re learning Spanish as I am, there’s hours of reading here.