Hello! I am so ashamed I literally forgot all about this blog post on Monday because of the research assessment, but here it is!
I think this week’s topic is one of the most important for our present day understanding of Latin America and the way that we may reconcile the past with the present. I thought it was really useful that Dawson utilised other forms of media such as videos, because it added a real human dimension to the loss felt by survivors and those left behind that had lost loved ones to the regime. It is one thing to read about their experiences, but another to listen to and witness the real and visceral grief. Whilst it may be in the past, these events still continue to have a huge impact on the consciousness of the people of Latin America today, and society is still attempting to reconcile the deep wounds of this time. This week is also relevant to our video project topic (The Terror), as our group has decided to focus on the stories of survivors rather than the acts and intentions of the perpetrators. (Unfortunately, I was not able to access a large amount of these videos due to copyright on YouTube.)
A large part of many of these mobilisations is the demand for accountability and justice. There is no greater betrayal on behalf of the sovereign than the arbitrary detention, disappearing, and murder of innocents. The state-sanctioned enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings reflect a perversion of sovereign power, and this has almost completely razed the premise of trust between the government and its people. Even today, it is clear that Latin America is still attempting to repair this trust in these institutions.
What I also found interesting is the different dimensions of mobilisation in Dawson’s chapter. We have previously looked at military and political mobilisations of people as a whole, but the mobilisation of women is another element to resistance that we have not yet discussed in depth. These mobilisations definitely have an emotive appeal to them, which is significant in appealing to the sympathies of outsiders to gain traction and leverage over those accountable.
Whilst this was a very depressing chapter (as most of the course’s themes have been), I also found it very empowering. I think there is nothing more important than allowing survivors a platform to recount their stories so that we may seek justice for past wrongdoings, as well as learn from the past to ensure that such atrocities never occur again.