The history is a place is made up of stories, that build up to become memories. The history of a place is thus a construction, something built over periods of time, based on the people interested in telling certain stories instead of a different, or that have simply lived just one side of the story. A widespread memory has the power to influence and legitimize thoughts and actions. I don’t want to sound abstract; in fact, I have a concrete example of this ‘struggle over memories’: the urban beach of Iracema, in Fortaleza, Brazil.
For those of you who can read in Portuguese, Praia de Iracema has its history frequently contested by locals, governments authorities, the so called “bohemian-intellectuals” etc. People argue it is a “place of tradition”. But firstly one should address this question: which tradition?
I have just found this blog about Praia de Iracema. Ilha da Draga [pt] [“Draga Island”] has a focus on the recent interventions in the neighborhood, which is affecting the leisure and the daily lives of people living in Poço da Draga, a perimeter that gets little attetion from authorities, unless when the topic is eviction. The blog presents photographs of the urban beach, back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, when there was sand and water instead of a wide sidewalk. Ilha da Draga is also the name of an upcoming documentary on Poço da Draga’s inhabitants and their own perspectives on Praia de Iracema and the top-down transformations they have faced. Their side of the story.