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Memory of Silence : The Guatemalan Truth Commission Report - D. Rothenberg

Memory of Silence

The Guatemalan Truth Commission Report

By: D. Rothenberg (Editor)

Hardcover Published: 27th March 2012
ISBN: 9781403964472
Number Of Pages: 278

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Memory of Silence is an edited one-volume version of the Guatemalan Truth Commission report, presenting the definitive account of one of the most brutal cases of government repression in the Western Hemisphere, a thirty-four year conflict forged by the Cold War, strongly influenced by the United States’ foreign policy, and so severe that the Commission determined that the State committed genocide against its own indigenous people. Despite its scope, significance, and impact, the conflict remains largely unknown outside the country, in part because until the publication of this book, the CEH report was largely unavailable in English and only available in Spanish in its unedited, twelve-volume form. Memory of Silence presents the voices of Guatemalan victims and the Commission’s analysis of a conflict that created a culture of terror, forced neighbors to commit atrocities against each other, and killed over 200,000 people. Despite the difficult, painful, and tragic nature of the conflict, the Commission stated that its commitment to truth “should leave no room for despair” and should instead inspire Guatemalans and others around the world to pursue peace and the defense of fundamental human rights.

Industry Reviews

"This book is a must-read for anyone concerned with human rights in the Americas and the world. It presents the first accessible version of the important work of the Guatemalan truth commission and its courageous documentation of one of the most important cases of genocide, systematic torture, and institutionalized terror justified in the name of national security. Memory of Silence stands as a powerful reminder that we must engage honestly with past atrocities to make sense of the present, to prevent future violations and to better understand ourselves and our world."

Juan E. Mendez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture



"This book represents an extraordinary accomplishment. For the first time, it makes accessible the impressive findings of Guatemala's Truth Commission to readers in both English and Spanish, providing a model of dissemination that should be followed by all future efforts of historical clarification. Permeating this entire endeavor is the commitment to fairly explain state terror, assess responsibility for genocide, and give voice to the victims of civil war. It is a vital resource for anyone trying to understand the dynamics of contemporary civil wars, the responsibility of the United States, and the courageous role of the human rights community in breaking the silence surrounding the atrocities of the past in order to improve the governance of the future."

Terry Lynn Karl, Gildred Professor of Latin American Studies and professor of Political Science, Stanford University, and former advisor to chief U.N. peace negotiators in El Salvador and Guatemala



"Of all the Latin American 'dirty wars' of the late Cold War, none was more brutal than the scorched earth counter-insurgency in Guatemala. At least two hundred thousand people died, many in massacres that in their relentless savagery beggar the imagination. The story is both complex and terribly simple: For decades in this small poor country, 'agents of the state committed acts of genocide against the Mayan people.' Memory of Silence, from which those words are drawn, is the definitive, wrenching account of one of Latin America's bloodiest conflicts. Anyone concerned with human rights and war and the dark history of our time should read it."

Mark Danner, author, The Massacre at El Mozote and Stripping Bare the Body



"This is history at its most immediate. It will make readers think deeply especially those in the United States, which helped set off the Guatemalan cataclysm."

Stephen Kinzer, author, Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala and Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq



"The extraordinary work of the Guatemalan truth commission resulted in one of the strongest reports of any truth commission to date. Open to any page: the accounts found here are excruciating to read, but impossible to turn away from, even if you wish to. The victim testimonies are searing; the commission's conclusions, of facts and responsibility, are brutally clear and often breathtaking. The full twelve-volume report is testament to the commission's close research, but in practical terms has been little accessible. Daniel Rothenberg deserves much thanks for offering this one-volume summary, published in both Spanish and English, including a useful essay that reviews the response to the report and relevant developments since its publication. It is powerful, and essential, reading."

Priscilla Hayner, author, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions



"Memory of Silence is one of the most important documents about genocide during our time. In bringing to light the various facets of the Guatemalan government's eliminationist assault upon indigenous Maya, it highlights the political nature of genocide, the willfulness and cruelty of those implementing the destructive policies, and the individual human suffering that should never be lost sight of because of the vastness of the horror. Memory of Silence does a service for truth, historical understanding, and political and moral accountability. It is a searing and enlightening document that should be read by everyone."

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity and Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

Preface; C.Tomuschat Introduction: Facing La Violencia: The Importance of the Guatemalan Truth Commission; D.Rothenberg Prologue PART I: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND ACTS OF VIOLENCE Extrajudicial Executions and Disappearances...Forced Disappearance of the Members of the National Labor Confederation (CNT) in Guatemala City and on the 'Emaus Medio Monte' Ranch Torture...Torture in the Military Zone of Playa Grande, Ixcan, Department of Quiche Forced Displacement...Death by Forced Displacement, Chiche, Quiche Municipality Massacres...Massacre at las Dos Erres Rape and Sexual Violence...Maya K'iche Women Victims of Rape in the Department of Quiche Genocide...Massacre en la Finca San Francisco Nenton, Huehuetenango Acts of Violence...Kidnapping of Romeo Augusto de Leon, Baltasar Morales de la Cruz, and Hector Menendez de la Riva by the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) PART II: KEY ACTORS IN THE CONFLICT AND THEIR STRATEGIES Strategies and Units of the Military and the State...PAC Members Forced to Kill Other PAC Members Strategies of the Guerilla Organizations...Arbitrary Execution of Six Members of the Guerilla Army of the Poor by Their Own Organization PART III: CONSEQUENCES AND EFFECTS OF THE VIOLENCE Terror, its Effects and the Institutional Weakening of the State...Forced Transfer of Children Who Survived the Massacre in Rio Negro Municipality of Rabinal, Baja Verapaz Facing the Violence...Arbitrary Execution of Myrna Elizabeth Mack Chang PART IV: CONCLUSIONS: TRAGEDY OF THE ARMED CONFRONTATION PART V: RECOMMENDATIONS Tables Afterword 'No Room for Despair': The Impact of the CEH; D.Rothenberg Further Readings; M.Bellino Note on the Translation Acknowledgments Appendices

ISBN: 9781403964472
ISBN-10: 1403964475
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 278
Published: 27th March 2012
Publisher: Palgrave USA
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.62
Edition Number: 1

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