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You Don't Know What You Have ..Until You.. Lose It

[You Don't Know What You Have ] Until you ….[Lose It]

You Don't Know What You Have - (Cultural Heritage), the places, skills, dances, songs stories and crafts etc that give a sense of belonging, shared history, a sense of identity and self. It is a bridge between the past and the future and belongs to everyone. It is easy to be complacent and let its meaning drift into obscurity or slip into the shadowy realms of amnesia. A place where it is vulnerable to neglect, damage or manipulation, in some cases resurfacing as a tool to validate a political agender and ignite violence. ... How do we use it, protect and share it, so that it is understood, respected and valid?

Lose it - (Violence and destruction)

Cambridge Dictionary: “to stop being able to control your emotions and suddenly start to shake cry and shout”

Collins Dictionary: “Become extremely angry and upset”

Macmillan Dictionary: “Stop behaving or thinking in a sensible way”

Whether you prefer the term, “you don’t know what you have until you lose it”.... “you never know the value of something until you lose it" …. or simply “use it or lose it” When you apply it to cultural heritage, peace and conflict, it rings true.

Clearly, the issues surrounding the practice and theory of cultural heritage protection are far more complex than the term suggests, yet there is a part of me that likes the idea of simplification. A term which cut to the chase seems liberating and stimulating, a vehicle to open debate and involve a greater number of people. There is no shame in a bumper sticker or T-shirt catchphrase when it gets people curious and discussing their heritage – especially when it can seem as though the subject is monopolised by technocrats and the privileged.

If cultural protection is to be used for peacebuilding, social cohesion and socioeconomic development as I think it should. Everyone has to be given the opportunity to be involved and informed. Starting from the principles of peacebuilding, methods and approaches to cultural protection, why is it important and to whom.

How does one reconcile cultural heritage protection with families that are destitute and hungry, impoverished and traumatised?

I believe that the adaptive reuse of socially significant buildings could be (if done contextually) a practical and ethical response to cultural protection. An approach that embraces the fundamentals of peacebuilding and benefits the vulnerable and the less vulnerable alike :)


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