Category: The Disappeared

Because They Were Taken Alive: Forced Disappearance in Latin America

In Guatemala City, a single garage light has been burning continuously for almost thirty years. The garage’s owner, a woman now in her nineties, cannot bring herself to turn it off. On May 15, 1984, her son, Rubén Amílcar Farfán, left the house early as he usually did, headed for the university. But later that afternoon, friends of his rang the doorbell of the family’s house, anguished, to report the worst …

Our Disappeared/Nuestros Desaparecidos: The Act of Memory

Memory has a way of finding its way into the present through small cracks. Ruins of an ancient city, a sign on a street or a poem can keep the past in the present. One evening about eight years ago I was wondering what had become of Patricia Dixon, a girlfriend of mine in 1973. We had met at the Sociology Department at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, …

Patchwork Memories: Arpilleras and Reflections on Disappearance

In every season of the year, Violeta Morales would dress exactly the same: a jacket, black skirt and a pair of worn-down shoes. A leader of an artisans’ group engaged in making intricate patchwork memory tapestries, Morales talked and created when others dared not. Practically the moment I arrived back in Chile, she became my safe haven, my refuge, my anchor in a country …


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