Memories of Violence : Truths of victory and defeat in South Africa and Argentina

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Memories of Violence : Truths of victory and defeat in South Africa and Argentina

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Title Memories of Violence : Truths of victory and defeat in South Africa and Argentina
Author(s) Hemer, Oscar
Date 2012
English abstract
South Africa and Argentina share the common experience of dealing with a traumatic near-past; in South Africa, the system of racial segregation and suppression known as apartheid and the violent so-called interregnum years; in Latin America, the military dictatorships and the so-called dirty war on the militant left, which in Argentina took on the character of systematic extermination. The transition processes were in both countries supported by systematic investigations of the state violence, in Argentina the CONADEP (1983-84), in South Africa the TRC (1995-98), arguably the two to date most influential Truth Commissions, with a crucial impact on cultural production. The fundamental disparities between the two cases are primarily due to the diametrically opposed outcomes of the political militancy. The demise of the apartheid state was conceived as the victory of the liberation struggle, whereas Argentina’s return to democracy was, in a way, the result of a double defeat; the annihilation of the guerrillas in the dirty war and the subsequent humiliation for their vanquishers in the Malvinas (Falklands) disaster. The paper, based on the author’s extensive research of fiction’s role in the transition processes (Writing Transition : Fiction and Truth in South Africa and Argentina), specifically explores how the differing views on revolutionary violence have changed over time, from the 1980s to today, as reflected in literature and film, and how the notions of victory and defeat have determined the conditions for reconciliation.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Memory
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note Violence, Memory and Human Rights : An interdisciplinary Conference, at Humanities' Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, January 30 to February 1, 2012
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