Free Essay Sample on Memorial Sites

Published: 2024-01-10
Free Essay Sample on Memorial Sites
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Human Public administration
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 948 words
8 min read


In her presentation both the speech and the article, Contreras-Lorenzi grapples with an important question of whether to preserve memorial sites marked by monuments, wall names, bridges, road shrines, old buildings, and burial sites as archeological sites or remodel the sites, make them present and active centers for education purposes. The paper will examine evalute Contreras-Lorenzi idea of memorial site archiving.

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Archives for Memories

Although the memorial sites serve as archives for memories, they are gradually risking erasure as they remain silent. Contreras refers to the over 240 memory sites in Santiago that serve as a remembrance of the political crimes against humanity propelled by past dictatorship regimes of Augusto Pinochet. She gives an account of the 1973 Coup in Chile, which led to the death of thousands of civilians whose memory are today archived in these memorial sites. Contreras criticizes the Chilean government for the neglect and failure to secure memory sites to honor the victims of violence orchestrated by the same government. She accuses that the state has participated in "buying some properties where crimes against humanity occurred to loan them to organizations that administer and manage them" (Lorenzini par 4). Such practices are meant to silence the people because the lack of sites would mean that the newer generations would not know of the massacre in the 70s. Contreras considers a place of memory as a place " where something happened that is worth being remembered and generates specific practices from the use of the space ("Women Mobilizing Memory – Video” 09:29 – 09:39). The Chilean government, led by the dictator, Augusto Pinochet, has put little effort into rescuing memory sites so that their actions could not be learned in the years to come.

Memorial Sites

According to Contreras-Lorenzi, memorial sites do not hold memory until the site is made valuable or purposeful; this can be achieved by creating a constant reminder of its history. She acknowledges the fact that “a place or site is never a parament deposit of memeory.”( Lorenzini 155) A memorial site remains memorable if the history of the site is communicated through modern acts. She recommends that the government revive the sites by investing in site construction of public facilities to serve society. The sites need to be animated to remind people of the violence but give the modern generation a reflection of the past government political interpretation and judgment. A good example of a memorial site made remarkably memorable is the Tres y Cuatro Álamos political detention center transformed into a home for vulnerable children. Such remodeling retains the memory and rich history from one generation to another because the site history remains told (Lorenzini 154).

Contreras-Lorenzini preferred the use of interactive maps to unravel the government’s attempts to silence the effects of political violence and the death of victims by failing to recognize them. The interactive map is important, and Contreras uses it in the lecture to reveal the number of victims that the Chilean government fails to recognize. Contreras believes that records are vital aspects of human memories and can help tie the community together and act as instruments of social justice and reconciliation(Lorenzini, par 7). Digital mapping is an important idea for the memorialization of the victims but has its disadvantages. The main problem that Contreras alludes to is the possibility of many people not having access to the internet to learn their history. Digital mapping also fails to create a narrative and proper memorializing effect as a monument or memorial site.

Contreras disapproves of having the cemeteries of victims of violence become places of memory, but the memory sites of those killed due to the political violence in Chile ought to be preserved to remind Chileans and the rest of the world of the effects of violence on the common citizens, and this can only be achieved by placing memorable value on each site. Contreras-Lorenzini criticizes the government for it has done little of improving the memorial sites. The latest renovation in preserving memorial site history was in 2010 when president Michelle Bachelet opened the museum of memory and human rights. The rich chile political history and fight for human rights risk extinction. The government continues to sell off the major landmarks and sites profitably to developers and non-governmental organizations.

Historical Continuity

Contreras-Lorenzini understands the huge impact modern technology and the internet have on transmitting knowledge globally. The use of photos and later posting them on the internet help remind the world of chile forgotten and erased memorial sites, creating grounds for historical continuity and mutual learning by joining global movements with local chile movements. Contreras-Lorenzini's photo that she shared during her presentation shows the Chilean government's attempt to hide or intentionally reduce the numbers of the victims who were killed by the dictatorial military under the leadership of Augusto Pinochet. Contreras shows that over 150 people were killed by the military but were not reported or their memories archived using the digital map.


Contreras has focused on Chile's case and the victims of the 1973 coup, where the government participated in the killing of its people. She reports that it is important to have memory sites that will memorialize vital moments of the country’s journey to democracy. However, Chilean governments that have existed since 1973 have attempted to silence such memories but failing to set aside memory sites for the victims of violent actions.

Works Cited

"Women Mobilizing Memory - Video ". Video.Search.Yahoo.Com, 2020,

Lorenzin, Contreras Maria-Jose. Chapter Viii: Aquí Performing Mapping Practices in Santiago de Chile.

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