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On memory, affect and atonement : the Long Tan memorial cross(es)
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2012, 00:00 authored by Andrea WitcombAndrea Witcomb
This article analyses the history of the Long Tan Memorial in Vietnam in order to open up a space for engaging with the memorialisation of war as something that can go beyond nationalistic sentimentality and create a space for more complex political and social engagements. In doing so I am concerned with exploring the value of an approach to heritage significance that prioritises relationships between places and peoples rather than authenticity and originality. I explore this question by making use of the fact that the Australian War Memorial has borrowed the original Long Tan Cross now in the custodianship of the Dong Nai Museum for a special exhibition to commemorate the Vietnam War. The Australian Vietnam Volunteers Reconstruction Group, who has official custodianship of the replica cross at the Long Tan Memorial site in Vietnam, has expressed disquiet over the loan. I use the Acting Director’s reply to the AVVRG’s Chairman to open up a discussion about the differences in meanings between these two crosses, what underlies these and how we might theorise them in order to open up an understanding of war heritage that recognises its potentials and its limitations.