Monday, 14 May 2007

Bosnia: forensic human rights archaeology

From Alun Salt (who's now writing on clioaudio and I will correct my link from archaeoastronomy when I've got a decent enough connection), I heard about (a free book about political archaeology and holy nationalism in Israel and Palestine (in PDF format), as well as) a Newsweek article on "digging up the secrets of the dead".

Significantly, in the article on forensic human rights archaeology, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons, Kathryne Bomberger, stated that they have broken through the scientific limitations on mass grave investigations that meant that, "if there was no body there was no crime" and "can for the first time say that the 8,000 - maybe more but certainly not less - missing from Srebrenica is accurate".

Bomberger later observed that,
DNA proves that in this politically charged environment, where mass graves are political land mines being misused for political gain, we can provide concrete accurate evidence of what did happen
and that,
Dealing with the past is important for the future, so we need to document these atrocities and give a record of what happened. What you are ultimately hoping for—stupid us—is that it does not happen again. And of course it is happening again in Sudan.
I have to go and reassure myself that the entire day's been wasted.

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