Week11: The Terror

This week’s material was personally very hard to digest. I am blessed that I’ve never experienced atrocities such as war, genocide, or any kind of life-threatening situation in my lifetime. Imagining the scene of the events written in the text or shown in the videos is horrifying enough, the horror and anxiety the Latin American people might have felt are inconceivable. Before diving into a specific text, I wanted to mention something Professor John talked about in his Lecture video which kind of related to my previous statement. “This week, I have no questions, as they would suggest that you (or I, or anyone) could provide answers that would be anything but glib. Or rather, all we have are questions, as we reach the limits of any explanation or narrative”. The documents we read and see can only capture a small fragment of actual reality. Of course this can be said for all the materials we have been looking at up to now, but I think this is especially evident in this week’s topic.

The writing I want to focus on this week is that of Carolina Huamán Oyague, document 9.4 in Dwson’s text. Although the other texts were equally interesting, I was drawn to this particular document because of the strong sentiments that seeped through the words. Her strong emotions aginst Fujimori is clearly shown in her words like “His mocking smile”, “ill-fated attitude”, “self-involved and blinded by the pure ambition for power and money”. Carolina also points out the contradiction in Fujimori’s statements in court, saying that he”plays dumb” at first but then mentioning that he was at the center of everything. The section earlier on in the text in which a circus and clowns are used as a metaphor to describe how FUjimori is no longer able to deceive the people was especially interesting. Why did she decide to use the circus to make her point? And why clowns instead of others like magicians who would also probably fit what she is trying to describe? On a different note, Carolina discrbes situations in very visual ways. Some examples being, “but they never heard our cries, much less stopped to see our tears”, “the delivery my sister’s remains in a cardboard box” and “I wish tears did not run down my cheeks”. This helps ster up stronger emotions in the reader which would make them side with Carolina. I am in no way saying what the Fujimori regime had done in Peru can be justified. However, I think it’s crucial we read this text with a grain of salt, since the author is extremely biased. The document can give us a peek of the perspective of the victims of violence in the era but doesn’t quite allow us to see what was actually said in these trials. As professor Joh said in his video “there is a limit to what such narratives can tell. And doubt came to haunt some of these stories, above all Menchú’s. It is not clear, for instance, that her brother was killed quite as she says he was. So even testimonio fails to give us access to the brutality of the terror”.


1 thought on “Week11: The Terror

  1. simran dhaliwal

    I found her use of literary devices to be a bit confusing at sometimes. As you mentioned the comparison of clowns and circus had me stop for a second and reread the part just to understand what Carolina thoughts were. The visual method of describing everything in detail allowed a reader to imagine their feeling and what was happening. I agree that the document had drawn me in as well. It was very emotional and raw.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *