Thursday, May 03, 2007

Crimes Against Memory

Imagine doing a news report about crime in South Africa without backgrounding it with the effects that apartheid had on civil society, infrastructure and economic justice. That would be pretty stupid. And yet this morning NPR reports on the problems of gang violence in El Salvador without once mentioning the savaging of El Salvador's social and political networks through the US directed state terror in the Salvadoran Civil War of the 1980s.

It's typical of NPR to utterly decontextualize historical events - as if attempting to scrub the memories of its listeners, to remove history from the record. It was painfully ironic to recall that one of the last widely publicized atrocities of the US trained and funded Salvadoran forces was the assassination of six Jesuits and two lay people in November of 1989. In that crime the perpetrators made a point of removing the brains of several of the victims; it was a brutal and powerful message to those who were determined to remember the crimes of that war.

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