Week 11: The Terror

As Dawson attempts to find words apt for the period of time dubbed the “dirty war”, I can’t help but feel how relevant this is in current governments and cultures across the world. The labels like “dirty war” and “war on terror” are “unconventional forms of warfare where the enemy is within, and rarely in uniform”. These descriptions by Dawson seem chillingly similar to how ISIS militants would act as immigrants and refugees to gain access to countries accepting them because their homelands are ravaged by war; These militants would most definitely fit the label of being “rarely in uniform”. In addition to that, Dawson’s statement about the problem with paranoia, “when you cannot identify the enemy by the uniform they wear, you see the enemy everywhere”, seems even more pertinent now because of the rhetoric within the battle for the presidency of the United States the past couple of months. Even though president-elect Trump and his regime aren’t anything close to the dirty warriors, their paranoia seems similar. Trump’s proposed plan to ban all Muslims and have them on a registry is very close to paranoia. Not that president-elect Trump or any other American shouldn’t be worried about their safety, but, the positive boons that comes with immigration is often overlooked amid safety concerns.

For me, the rise of Fujimori has more to do with the debate about, “the end justifying the means” than anything else. In this unique case I don’t think the end justified the means in which Fujimori went about solving the problem. By no means was the situation in Peru easy or as “black and white” as some people might think, but killing civilians to bring justice to the Shining Path made the government just as bad as the very thing they were trying to eradicate. The abandonment of human rights and treatment of the victim’s families like Carolina Oyague is abhorrent and not a good representation of what they were fighting for.

Another interesting aspect about this week’s chapter was that university students made up a lot of the leftist movements in Latin America. Dawson points out that “most senderistas were current or former university students, drawn to the bloody path plotted by Guzman”. Dawson explains that it had to do with “youthful idealism and a sense that Peru was facing an existential economic and political crisis”, which turned into anger when the “government subjected them to torture and long imprisonment”. Why would the government subject these university students to torture and imprisonment?

One thought on “Week 11: The Terror

  1. From what you just wrote, I just have the feeling that Fujimori’s beliefs were based on Nicolas Maquiavelo’s theory. Sometimes I think that those leaders like Fujimori have very similar characteristics of being a populist and also an authoritarian ruler. So, do you think that Fujimori was a populist, an authoritarian or both things?

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