Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala by Victoria Sanford (auth.)

By Victoria Sanford (auth.)

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Additional info for Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala

Sample text

He had a lot more confidence in my abilities than I did. When I completed the process of brushing the earth away from a skeleton, Fernando would join me. He would lift and examine each bone. He would show me whatever signs of trauma or damage he found. I would inventory the bones, record any observations of trauma, mark the bags in which the bones were to be stored, and pack them away. As the day ended, I was relieved that I had not had to sit and watch all day. I found patience doing the digging and it was a patience I knew would have eluded me had my role been restricted to that of observer.

20 Significantly, I had the privilege to work closely with several CEH investigators in the field and also serve as a research consultant to the FAFG for their report to the CEH. As is often the case in fieldwork, upon my return to the United States, I found that my research had both affirmed and changed my approach. 21 My research reaffirms and provides evidence to support this theory. 22 Redress for past human rights violations is the cornerstone to rule of law and, importantly, this redress transcends narrow legal definitions because it can take many forms.

The transformation of a private memory creates a public space, however small, where survivors learn to speak; it breaks down externally imposed understandings and chips away at the power structures imposed through silent negotiation of life-shattering events. This book is my humble attempt to share what I have learned and what I have not, what I understand and what I do not. Borrowing words from Ariel Dorfman, “Let me tell you something. ”10 INTRODUCTION We want peace. We want people to know what happened here so that it does not happen here again, or in some other village in Guatemala, or in some other department, or in some other country.

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