The NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies organises the film screening ‘The destruction of memory’, a film about contemporary and historical cultural destruction. With an introduction by cultural historian Martin Eickhoff. Afterwards historian and former journalist Thijs Bouwknegt discusses the trial of the Malian rebel leader Al Mahdi at the International Criminal Court who is held accountable for the destruction of sacred sites at Timbuktu.
Date: 9 December
Based on the book by Robert Bevan, The Destruction of Memory tells the story of cultural destruction - looking not just at the ongoing actions of ISIS and at other contemporary situations, but discussing cultural destruction in the past decades as well, and taking the Second World War and the Yugoslav Wars as examples.
The afternoon starts with an introduction by Martijn Eickhoff (NIOD) who elaborates on the recent discussions about cultural destruction and genocide and the way they stimulate the development of new research questions by historians. He will give examples related to the Dutch colonial past in Indonesia and the National Socialist rule in Europe. After the screening, Thijs Bouwknegt (NIOD) discusses more in-depth the trial of the Malian rebel leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Al Mahdi was tried for destroying sacred sites at Timbuktu. It was the first case concerning damage to cultural artefacts to be heard at the ICC. He pleaded guilty and received a sentence of nine years in prison.
About the speakers
Martijn Eickhoff is cultural historian and senior researcher at NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, specializing in the historical culture of mass violence and regime change in Europe and Asia. He is co-author of an upcoming monograph on Archaeology and Heritage Formation in Colonial and Post-Colonial Indonesia and co-editor of the upcoming volume National-Socialist Archaeology in Europe and its Legacies.
Thijs Bouwknegt is a researcher at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies and lecturer in Genocide Studies at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He is a historian, jurist and former journalist specialised in African Affairs, War Crimes Trials, Transitional Justice and Mass Violence.