So, this night the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro, one of the largest museums in Latin America and the whole Southern Hemisphere, has gone up nearly completely in flames, burning to ashes an unknown ammount of the nearly 20 million objects stored there. This is a cultural tragedy to my country comparable to what the loss of the Louvre would be to France, or the Smithsonian to the USA.
Amongst the objects stored, there were:
- The oldest Amerindian remains in Brazil;
- Egyptian mummies and artifacts;
- Greco-Roman and Phoenician art;
- Artifacts from a wide array pre-Columbian, African and Pacific cultures;
- Dinosaur and plant fossils from the Mesozoic;
- 470,000 books, some of them rare and unique works.
- Not to mention the building itself, a landmark of early 19th century imperial architecture.
So, here I register my lament for the way some have been treating our (humanity's) past and also a note of protest to austerity reforms that have been the norm in the country since the centre-right assumed back the government three years back or so. Unfortunately, in a world which often favours only economic growth and productivity, that's a stark reminder of how it goes for our environment and our cultural past.