08 August, 2014

Celebrations through exhibitions

Les années qui séparent 2014 de 2018 seront marquées à Angers comme en France, par de nombreuses cérémonies officielles. Celles-ci sont maintenant relayées par des événements plus culturels dont l'effet sur la mémoire collective est tout aussi effectif. 

Angers city is going to commemorate on August 7th its liberation by the American army in 1944. That event is part of regular anniversaries at local and national levels of historical facts dating back, for most of them, to the second and first world wars, more or less happy. On May 8th, the city, as France, had commemorated the German surrender. And on November 11th, the city will celebrate the armistice ending the first world war. Recently Angers paid tribute to Western fellow citizens, from supposed or true Jewish asccendance, who were deported towards extermination camps.

If celebrations of events whose contem-poraries are still living are normal, and even desirable, those related to facts definitevely part of history like the mobilization and the armistice, should be questioned given all their witnesses or participants are dead. This is the case with the first word war. In Uk, no such anniversaries are celebrated, even if the country faced heavy human losses during the first world war.

Angers town hall displays an exhibition about the liberation of the city which took place in August 1944 and another one about the first world war based on collections of families reminders (letters, postcards, pictures, miscellaneous items) which could be more effective on the yout collective memory. If history has to be regularly revisited, for celebrations of history, it could also be the same. If it important to be faithful to the past, it is not useful to be trapped by it because the over-sublimated France past will not come back.

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