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The Divided WorldHuman Rights and Its Violence$
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Randall Williams

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665419

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665419.001.0001

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Expiation for the Dispossessed

Expiation for the Dispossessed

Truth Commissions, Testimonios, and Tyrannicide

Chapter:
(p.69) 4 Expiation for the Dispossessed
Source:
The Divided World
Author(s):

Randall Williams

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816665419.003.0004

This chapter examines two literary narratives, Ariel Dorfman’s play Death and the Maiden (1991) and Claribel Alegría and Darwin Flakoll’s chronicle Death of Somoza (1993), in terms of how each offers a critical account of the politics of the Truth Commission form. In Death and the Maiden, a woman (Paulina) encounters a man (Dr. Miranda) who raped and tortured her in the aftermath of the 1973 coup d’etat. In contrast to the tensions played in Dorfman’s play, Death of Somoza chronicles the actions of a small group of Argentinian commandos as they carry out a successful mission to assassinate the deposed Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza Debayle. The chapter argues that both texts afford us an opportunity to engage the question of the (non)convertibility of violence into nonviolence in ways occluded by human rights politic with its abstract idealization of nonviolence.

Keywords:   literary narratives, Ariel Dorfman, Death and the Maiden, Claribel Alegría, Darwin Flakoll, Death of Somoza, violence, human rights, nonviolence

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