Saturday, 20 October 2012

Peru: Social media and imagery in Fujimori pardon debate

The current discussion surrounding the possible pardon for Alberto Fujimori in Peru is an interesting illustration of the role of social media in memory debates. Just a few years ago, we wouldn't have known what a "hashtag" had to do with the former president of Peru, but a couple of weeks ago, Peruvians responded to the news with #noalindulto and #indultoesinsulto.

From Fujimori's side, a photo was released showing the prisoner in bed. This was intended to bolster the argument that he should be released on compassionate grounds as he is suffering from terminal cancer:

The Peruvian web exploded in derision, with a whole series of spoofs and responses to the image. Here are just a couple:

 But the story takes another turn when another image was released; this time apparently a self-portrait by the man himself. El Comercio is now reporting that fujimorista politician and doctor Alejandro Aguinaga has confirmed that it is genuine:

The writing reads "Forgive me for what I did not manage to do and what I couldn't help". Unsurprisingly by now, many similar images have popped up, united on Twitter by the hashtag #fujisorry

Plus, here's Carlin's take from La Republica:

My take: I don't see that the photo proves anything one way or another. It is just another indication of the way in which photography is used as "evidence" and to uphold sometimes contradictory points of view. He doesn't look extremely ill to me, but that's not to say he isn't and, for what it's worth, not everyone with cancer has chemotherapy. To be honest, I don't much care - my opinion is that he should stay in jail in either case. The painting is just bizarre and I have no idea what it is supposed to achieve, but I think it's fair to say it won't help his case much. 

No comments: