Commissioning Truth, Constructing Silences: The Peruvian Truth Commission and the Other Truths of 'Terrorists'
Mirror of Justice: Law and Power in the Post-Cold War Era, 2009
15 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2017
Date Written: 2009
The authors contest the popular view that Peru’s war on terrorism was successful through a military clampdown revealing how this approach foreclosed responding to demands for careful accounting. It also resulted in a legacy that continues to polarize and divide Peruvian society which makes open and honest dialogue on the past nearly impossible. While the government may have defeated two revolutionary movements, it reduced the political space to consider what motivated thousands of the Peru’s poorest citizens to accept violence as an acceptable means for change. In this article, the authors disaggregate the term “terrorist” to reveal the vast motivations, actions and intents of those who affiliated themselves with violent oppositions. Moreover, they explore the often ambiguous line between victims and perpetrators by sharing archival research which revealed how hundreds of Peruvians imprisoned for terrorism engaged with the Peruvian Truth Commission through an unpublicized letter writing campaign that portrayed themselves as victims. They content that historical clarification projects must be more than mere exercises in reviewing the past, but must lead to questioning and scrutinizing collective identities which often exclude certain voices that are nevertheless needed to be heard for longer term societal change. It is in these silences that the marginalized may suffer dis content that leads to new cycles of protest and maybe even violence.
Keywords: Transitional justice, human rights, terrorism, truth commissions, reconciliation
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