Author: Merilee S. Grindle

First Take: Memories and Their Consequences

I visited the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in Santiago, Chile, two years ago. It was a heart-rending experience. To enter the museum, I moved through a stark and subterranean passage and found myself in a somber space of transition. There, a wall of photographs transported me back in time—long ago in a messy graduate student lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, four of us stood in shock …

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Through a Glass Darkly

As the American Airlines flight from Miami neared La Paz, we peered down through the thin light of early morning, trying to make sense of the arid land below us. Were the neat pyramids of stones at the corner of each field the result of clearing the land for planting? If so, it must be rocky, inhospitable soil for growing crops. Were those really herds of llamas and alpacas that dotted the landscape? And how spectacular …

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Under the Bridge: And Down from the Hills

I remember clearly the thirty seconds when I grew up. As we crossed the bridge over the river on the way from the airport, I looked down onto a multitude of shacks climbing crazily up the steep slopes of the sludgy riverbank. An awful truth was suddenly clear: in two years’ time, when I made the reverse trip on my way to the airport and home, I would look down on those same shacks climbing up the riverbank. Nothing I would …

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