By Stevan Weine
A deeply related to, compassionate, sometimes confrontational mixture of useful hands-on event and dialogic idea, rising from the author's decade-long paintings in Europe and Chicago with survivors of the Balkan wars, this publication is dedicated to the proposition that efforts to exploit testimony to deal with the results of political violence should be strengthened--though not at all guaranteed--if they're according to a fuller acknowledgment of the non-public and moral parts embodied within the narrative essence of testimony. those components are what Testimony after disaster seeks to reveal.
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Extra info for Testimony after Catastrophe: Narrating the Traumas of Political Violence
Agger and Jensen’s model came to occupy a leading place in the field of mental health and human rights. Although testimony itself was not Agger and Jensen’s stated primary focus, it was central to their concerns. They even wrote that the text of their book became their testimony. Through listening to survivors’ testimonies, they were able to formulate answers to their questions of concern: How are people able to develop psychological weapons of self-defense to protect their human rights? How do they heal the psychological traumas caused by violations of their basic rights?
It is naive to believe that simply giving testimony is enough to stop human rights violations. Testimony has no choice but to deal with local conditions, which often stand in the way of human rights. Testimony is bound to the given history, culture, politics, and complexities of a particular social context; these are the frames within which testimony will be produced, received, transmitted, interpreted, and believed, or not. Of all the texts on torture testimony that I considered, it is Dorfman, writing from inside one local context, who most compellingly engages the problems of local conditions.
Blue Rooms the world over? Not quite. Inger Agger’s Blue Room reads as her individually driven response to testimony, set apart from the IRCT’s institutionalization of torture treatment. The Blue Room allows a lot more space for intuition and imagination than the torture treatment center, which is primarily about providing clinical, rehabilitative, and legal psychiatric services. By contrast, the torture treatment movement is run largely by health professionals and is located at health institutions.