Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Chile: Images of Exile

Readers, despite appearances I do know that the title of this blog is 'Memory in Latin America' and not 'Memory in Peru'. Nevertheless there seems to be a fair amount going on in Peru, it's a country I have actually spent time in, and I follow its media pretty closely. So obviously coverage is going to be somewhat disproportionate (Argentina is always in second place as far as numbers of posts go for similar reasons).

But, turning briefly to Chile. Apparently there's a new book out called L. Memoria gráfica del exilio chileno 1973-1989. 'L' was stamped in the passports of Chileans who were not allowed back into the country during the Pinochet dictatorship.

Exile is always a strange, inbetween state. In some countries, there is a certain amount of resentment of those who managed to escape the torture and hardship that their compatriots back home endured. The pain of exile (or banishment) is often brushed aside. Yet in his introduction to the book, Ariel Dorfman notes,
"I didn’t expect to feel myself once again overcome by the sense of loss brought on by the departure from Chile, the tragedy – not just mine but of an entire continent; the traumatic experience of not recognising syllables, colours, hills or the smells of the ‘marraqueta’ (typical Chilean bread); those nights when I knew what was happening in some cellar in my country at that very moment and there was nothing I could do, nothing, absolutely nothing to stop those heinous crimes," said the writer.

Images of Exile (IPS)

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