July 10, 2007

The mysterious case of the Lithuanian Embassy in Italy

Well that's what I've been writing about in Bits today. Its a rather interesting dispute about the status of the building that housed the Lithuanian embassy in the 1930s, the Lithuanians want it back they call it the last occupied part of Lithuania in Europe, the Italians insist though that there is no legal way to give it back. What is interesting is that you have the contest between an imagined national identity in which a particular building is Lithuanian no matter what its current legal status whereas the Italians are sticking to the law of the land and who it belongs to under that. Its interesting because it reflects the way that different types of languages about history- in this case the nationalist (Lithuanian) and legal (Italian) come into conflict- both are imagined constructions linking the present to the past and as such in each others' terms make no sense.