A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture, by Marguerite Feitlowitz

By Marguerite Feitlowitz

Tanks roaring over farmlands, pregnant girls tortured, 30,000 contributors "disappeared"--these have been the horrors of Argentina's soiled warfare. A New York Times awesome e-book of the yr and Finalist for the L.L. Winship / PEN New England Award in 1998, A Lexicon of Terror is a delicate and unflinching account of the sadism, paranoia, and deception the army junta unleashed at the Argentine humans from 1976 to 1983.

This up-to-date version incorporates a new epilogue that chronicles significant political, criminal, and social advancements in Argentina because the book's preliminary book. It additionally keeps the tales of the contributors all in favour of the soiled battle, together with the torturers, kidnappers and murderers previously granted immunity below now dissolved amnesty legislation. also, Feitlowitz discusses investigations introduced within the intervening years that experience indicated that the community of torture facilities, focus camps, and different operations liable for the "desaparecidas" was once extra common than formerly suggestion. A Lexicon of Terror vividly inspires this surprising period and tells of the iconic results it has left at the Argentine tradition.

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The 14 a lexicon of terror issue of torture has periodically caused scandal in the Argentine Congress. ”30 The victims tended to be workers, labor leaders, dissident military, and intellectuals perceived to stray from “Western, Christian traditions,” particularly homosexuals. Reading the testimonies from the 1940s and ‘50s is a shocking experience: They are all but identical to those of the Dirty War. It cannot be said that the last repression was imposed on Argentina by outside forces. Foreign interests came together with a long history of entrenched conservatism, a tradition of the strong exploiting the weak, and quick recourse to violence.

Even more to the point, it played upon civilian shame. After all, the armed forces had stepped in because of popular failings. The last elected government had produced nothing but calamity. For Massera this was an irresistible subject. True to form in this Navy Day address, he emphasized the grandeur of surrender, and encoded the dangers of non-compliance: We have put an end to small-time objectives and gray propositions. Decadence has seen its day. For this conquest the Armed Forces call on everyone, but most especially on the young, on those who comprise this young Argentina, on those who are waiting for a challenge.

Juan Carlos Adrover, a prominent lawyer who headed the Santa Fe branch of the conadep. One day he offered me this story within a story: In 1984, we [the conadep] were taking testimony in San Rafaela, a small city nearby. The mayor kept saying, “Why have you come? ” And I went back to work. Toward the end of the day, I was approached by a middle-aged campesino who worked for a man who contracted a plot of land from the army. And he told me this: That during the dictatorship, he and his family were evacuated from this land six or seven times, and brought to stay for several days on the army base.

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