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University of Coimbra will inventory colonial heritage and study possible historical repair

A group of researchers and academics from the University of Coimbra, including museologists, anthropologists, historians and the director of the General Library, created a working group to, “by the end of the year†, deliver to the rectory a document on the “sensitive heritage†of the institution linked to the former colonies and carry out, when appropriate, colonial repair and restitution. This Tuesday, to the newspaper Públicoone of the researchers responsible for this group, Walter Rossa, guarantees that the “key point†of the work and writing of the document is the “decolonization of the university†, a subject considered “pending†and which is an increasingly “global and transversal†concern.

Promising to “produce knowledge before acting†and listen, of course, to the countries where this heritage (in the order of thousands of objects) originates, the researchers ensure that the much discussed and controversial restitution , in the sense of returning goods, does not have to be on the table and they only promise to follow the best practices of other countries.

“Refunding does not mean packing up the parts and sending them back. The challenge is for the university to revisit its collections and update knowledge about them. We want to take on this as a major research project within the university itself”, explains Walter Rossa to the Public, stating that it is important to recognize “the origin” and the “violence” that colonialism represented in the period in which goes back.

On the occasion of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April, the statements of the President of the Republic, who recognized Portugal’s responsibility for “crimes” committed during the colonial era – even suggesting the payment of reparations for past mistakes – sparked a great debate in national society and politics.

Chega accused Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of “betraying the Portuguese†and asked the head of state to recant his statements, also scheduling, in May, an urgent debate in parliament so that the Government could clarify whether it was to be considered, or not, the attribution of possible “compensation†to the former colonies. The draft resolution proposing a case against Marcelo for treason against the country led to the creation of a special committee in Parliamentwho rejected the existence of “any evidence of the commission of crimes†indicated by André Ventura’s party.

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Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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