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Joost Fontein

remains of hundreds, if not thousands of people apparently killed by the Smith regime during the liberation war of the 1970s, had been (re)‘discovered’. These events attracted enormous media attention and an unprecedented furore of angry responses from different political parties, civil society organisations, human rights groups and public commentators within Zimbabwe. The criticisms that these grisly exhumations provoked offer key insight into the topography of Zimbabwe’s complex ‘politics of the dead’, and the difficult questions that can arise about who has

in Governing the dead
John Borneman

’ (78).4 In retrospect, then, getting rid of the material remains of the former regime did not much liberate the Soviet regime, which took over the more brutal aspects of the Czar’s regime and perfected them. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the recovery of those bodies became a new media obsession, often with the suggestion that the unjust death which the Czar and his family had suffered might now take revenge on the living and return the lineage to power. Marx’s theory of liberation from the dead should warn us that the stronger the wish for

in Governing the dead
Missing persons and colonial skeletons in South Africa
Nicky Rousseau

antiapartheid struggle’s most violent period, the ANC buried two liberation movement icons – former Chief of Staff of the ANC’s guerrilla army, Chris Hani, whom white right-wingers assassinated, and Oliver Tambo, president of the ANC throughout its long sojourn in exile and the ANC’s public face internationally during Nelson Mandela’s incarceration. Here, while many of the earlier accoutrements and rituals were evident, defiance and mobilization gave way to the more sombre and official funeral of a state to come. Indeed, for Missing persons and colonial skeletons in South

in Human remains and identification
Massacres, missing corpses, and silence in a Bosnian community
Max Bergholz

. Their numbers were exceptionally small DHR.indb 19 5/15/2014 12:51:04 PM 20  Max Bergholz and they lacked the necessary authority that other prominent local Serbs had, such as former gendarmes and military officers. None of these incipient insurgent units in the region had Communist Party organizations during the summer of 1941.24 Another point of tension was the issue of collaborating with Muslims and Croats. The communists hoped that fighters of all nationalities would join the uprising and fight together for the libera­tion of the country and socialist

in Destruction and human remains
Open Access (free)
The bodyand counter-revolutionary warfare inapartheid South Africa
Nicky Rousseau

resistance. As returning to rule by force had the effect only of increasing resistance, the regime turned instead to acting outside of its own legal framework. Bodies that had produced illegitimacy and impotence thus produced as well a move to secret killings.8 The TRC tracked a movement through which South Africa’s internal security situation was increasingly seen and enacted through the lens of war, and security policy and practice begin to mirror those of the external regional wars in which liberation movement figures had been assassinated or attacked.9 The

in Destruction and human remains
Open Access (free)
The French search mission for the corpses of deportees in Germany, 1946–58
Jean-Marc Dreyfus

which they were evacuated by foot along the roads of the Reich. Those who fell were shot dead by the SS, and a large number of them died of exhaustion. Their bodies were abandoned on the roadsides or buried quickly and anony­mously by local communities.15 The liberation of the concentration camps and the occupation of Germany were followed by major search operations for survivors, and estimations of the number of foreigners who had died in the Reich. On 10 December 1945, General Koenig passed an ordinance in the French zone of occupation obliging German municipalities

in Human remains and mass violence
Open Access (free)
Portraying the exhumation and reburial of Polish Jewish Holocaust victims in the pages of yizkor books
Gabriel N. Finder

who returned to Wierzbnik after liberation in 1945. He had been the head of Wierzbnik’s Jewish Council before the German liquidation of the ghetto. He made his way to Starachowice and discovered the bodies of those killed in and under the barracks during its liquidation and those killed on the edge of the camp during their failed escape attempt. Uppermost on his mind was to exhume and rebury them, a task for which he recruited an additional survivor. ‘As a first and sacred obligation [ershter un heyliker khov] we Polish Jewish Holocaust victims in yizkor books   43

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
Pollution, contamination and the neglected dead in post-war Saigon
Christophe Robert

is represented by a photograph taken close to the time of death, for instance as an elderly person for those who died in old age. For North Vietnamese Army soldiers and National Liberation Front guerrillas a name and the national crest of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam peer outward from the grave. In military cemeteries in southern Vietnam, the process of naming and display is often abbreviated: many of the dead were only known through nicknames or first names, their dates of birth unknown. In some cases, they are identified only as ‘woman’, ‘man’ or ‘anonymous

in Governing the dead
Contested narratives of the independence struggle in postconfl ict Timor-Leste
Henri Myrttinen

martyrs (Rees 2004). It is not only in their name that the new armed forces see themselves as the mantle-bearers of the guerrilla force. Political slogans from the struggle are taken up by the F-FDTL and the lines between Falintil and F-FDTL are often deliberately blurred (International Crisis Group 2011). The ‘martyrs of the fatherland’ (mártires da Patria)7 or martyrs of the national liberation (mártires da libertação nacional) are also regularly evoked in official speeches and commemorations by the civilian leadership. Although the Constitution explicitly mentions

in Governing the dead
Mass graves in post-war Malaysia
Frances Tay

victims as Malayan martyrs and patriots; an overt attempt perhaps to minimize the community’s migrant origins and to emphasize the community’s participation in the liberation and decolonization of the nation. Rejection by the Malay political elite of these overtures indicates that national history and historiography remain in service to the national teleology of Malay supremacy. Under these circumstances, as Blackburn and Hack have observed, minority war histories are ‘left to themselves, without the sponsorship of the state, to write their own histories, to nurture

in Human remains and identification