Archiving the future

Consultations around reconciliation post-war will invariably deal with memory, and contested historical records. It sounds counter-intuitive, but memory is in fact more about the future than it is about the past. If we lose access to content around what happened in the past and why, we lose the ability to create the future we want and risk repeating history.

Not without the greatest irony, sometime last week, the website of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons disappeared. Some years ago, the official website of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) also disappeared without trace. The then government said the content of the site had folded into the Presidential Secretariat site. This was untrue, since the original site’s record of public testimonies across the island were completely lost. In 2014, there were in fact two distinct websites around the National Action Plan of the LLRC. There is no official trace of them now on the web. Soon after the Presidential election in January 2015, Presidential Secretariat’s website was revamped, and summarily lost all content around and links to the former President’s speeches and submissions, since 2005. The Tharunyata Hetak website, headed by Namal Rajapaksa, is no more. There is no official record of the Sri…

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