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Log In Sign Up. Rory O'bryen. Varey General Editor Stephen M. I would particularly like to thank Geoffrey Kantaris at the Centre of Latin American Studies, Cambridge, for his guidance, for so generously giving up hours of his time to read this book in its genesis, and for his friendship. I am enormously grateful to my friend Luis Ospina for reading parts of the original manuscript and for sharing his encyclopaedic knowledge of Colombian cinema with me.

But above all I thank Kristine Rose. Before he could answer questions about the intellectual authors of the crime, a crowd broke into the store and beat him to death. Revolution seemed imminent. Yet it never materialized. Yet, the enraged crowds in the streets paid little attention to their demands. Instead they resorted to drinking, looting and indiscriminate destruction, setting fire to shops and official buildings before turning on one another to fight over the spoils.

And as peasants took up arms around Colombia it seemed that the popular rupture with traditional politics, long since feared by the elite, had finally occurred. This, for many, was the begin- ning of la Violencia — a conflict of unprecedented cruelty that lasted until , and that claimed between , and , victims, forced a further two million off their lands, and radically transformed the fabric of Colombian society.

On close inspection, however, the origins of la Violencia resist circum- scription by specific dates such as these. The ensuing confrontations between Liberals and Conservatives would thus, at a first glance, constitute a break with traditional bi-partisan politics and the emergence of new collective actors see Fig.

As Arias observes, 2 Paul Oquist estimates that 2, people died in the Bogotazo Oquist []: El Tiempo and El Espectador did not include these deaths in official statistics, setting the death toll as low as and showing only a slight rise in the number of deaths in April over other months that year.

One reason for this was that many, perhaps fearing government reprisals, preferred to bury their dead clandestinely cf. Braun —1. Las As personal testimonies reveal, protago- nists frequently understood the upheaval as another round in a hereditary cycle of violence and revenge stemming from the persecution of Liberals following the Conservative electoral victory of , from the persecution of Conservatives that followed the return to Liberal rule in , or — even more commonly — from the last and most devastating of the nineteenth-century civil wars, the War of a Thousand Days — In an attempt to do justice to this multiplicity, a recent collection of essays frames la Violencia as a continua- tion of the struggles over land rights in the Andean regions since the late nineteenth century LeGrand ; as a development of the struggles between patrons and proletariat that had plagued life on the coffee plantations since the bonanza years of the s Bergquist ; and with conflicts arising from the failed land colonization movements of the s Molano.

Furthermore, if these studies problematize the beginnings and unity of the conflict, they also chal- lenge presumptions regarding its historical closure. When Rojas was forced to hand over power to a military junta in , state violence increased. Again the political leaders declared an end to la Violencia, but once again state repression made combatants even more unwilling to lay down their weapons. One might dispute such a notion, showing how new actors have emerged with the changes in the international political climate, or how the conflict has been transformed by the flows of global capital generated by the billion-dollar narcotics trade.

Yet, one of the contentions of this book is that such transformations never amount to total ruptures with the past, but constitute mutations of a deeper political crisis that haunts Colombia to the present day. One aspect of this crisis is the historic weakness of the state. Por el contrario, parece estar atrapado permanentemente en las tormentas de una sociedad civil […], arrastrado por sus divisiones, sometido a sus exigencias.

To this day the FARC remember the government bombing of Marquetalia in as a foundational moment in their history. These changes link the ongoing political crisis to a social crisis that is becoming every day more marked. Such displacements inevitably entail a loss of cultural references for displaced peoples, but have also radically transformed social life in the cities. As violence is also displaced into urban centres, all collective practices have been affected: Forms of sociability such as parties, evening meals in restaurants have been greatly reduced, recreational activities for children in the streets and parks have been limited due to the threat of kidnapping , forms of dress in the street have become very austere women, for example, cannot wear jewelry or carry valuables.

Homes are becoming real prisons surrounded by iron fences […] In Colombian cities, walking on the street or hailing taxis at night are high-risk activities. The relatively slow growth of Barranquilla reflects the lower levels of violence on coastal regions during these years.

What, in the midst of such a situation, can a cultural engagement with violence offer other than an exacerbation of fears? Re-membering Violence: A Triple Impossibility?

If I have begun in such a way, it is to highlight the complexities that continue to beset efforts to re-member la Violencia in a contemporary Colombian context. The first of these concerns the problem of positing it as an object of memory in the first place.

Benjamin []: First, violence exceeds the sense-making processes of indi- vidual and collective memory. That such episodes fail to ground narratives of memory is not only a result of their displacement through repetition, but also of accompanying sequences of spatial erasures. In this sense, understanding la Violencia — as I hope to have shown in my opening references to the Bogotazo — demands careful thinking about what constitutes an event. Thirdly, if these factors contribute to the failure to generate national narra- tives about la Violencia, such a failure exacerbates the impossibility of forgetting.

At this point it is important to distinguish between active and passive forms of forgetting. What remains is a superabundance of unnarrativized memories: piles of debris, ruins and defeats that lack a proper place in the collective imagination.

Yet, his arroga- tion of the task of narrativizing violence uniquely to the historian — the task of producing a consensual narrative that will provide a supporting framework for the sense-making of individual and collective memories — may suggest an underestimation of other forms of cultural memory. As Crewe writes, Without that distinction the concept of cultural memory remains vacuous or ill-defined. I do so in the belief that forms of cultural memory can supplement work in this field.

Yet, I stress in advance that their supplementary status should not be confused with a secondary addition to, or confirmation of, this work. Instead they must be taken as sites of critical reflection on the very conditions of possibility of writing such a unifying historical narrative.

The upshot of this is that memory is as much the domain of fiction as it is of history. Yet if cultural memory can reveal the proximity between memory and fiction — how memory is never static or inert but subject to constant revision — the process of giving form to memory in narrative practices like literature and cinema is neither a passive nor solely individual task: The interaction between present and past that is the stuff of cultural memory is […] the product of collective agency rather than the result of psychic or historical accident [and] cultural recall is not merely something of which you happen to be a bearer but something that you actually perform.

Bal et al. Yet, given their complex historical positioning, it is important to stress that their engagements with trauma are never entirely unmediated. Given that all of them would have been too young to comprehend the conflict at the time of its eruption, their attempt to come to terms with its haunting mnemonic insistence compels them to engage with memories that are not their own. At the same time they are also producers of memory insofar as they act as conduits for the sense making of evolutions of the conflict that have yet to be recorded.

For Hirsch, second-generation survivors maintain a link with their past on the 14 The only exception here is Julio Luzardo, born in As stated earlier, one reason for the initial failure to narrativize la Violencia lay in the treatment of violence as an anonymous force without specific agents. Such an approach is necessary when assessing narratives about political conflicts that are also social conflicts, and provides a foil to culturalist or belletrist forms of abstraction.

Yet, it may at times overlook the contradictions within cultural discourses generated by political—economic positioning. This does not mean that I avoid Marxist perspectives, but rather that I appeal to them only when the appeal to these frameworks is prompted by the works themselves.

The same goes for other theoretical engagements within the book, which, in addi- tion to Marxism, include psychoanalysis and deconstruction. The third part takes as its object the mass social displacements brought about by la Violencia, along with related conflicts associated with urbanization and massification. Because of the diffi- culty of maintaining rigorous distinctions between these three areas, the structure will inevitably deconstruct to reveal considerable overlap between each of the works studied.

Yet such a structure is primarily intended to facili- tate reading, to smooth out as far as possible any repetition of ideas, and to prevent readers from assuming too much homogeneity in the subject matter. Yet, given their association with belatedness, and their deconstruction of oppositions between presence and absence, spectres also stand as figures of writing. First, it exceeds the terms of counter-censorship that he offers as a corrective to said amnesia, producing instead a progressive phantomalization of la Violencia.

The more he claims to speak for the spectre of la Violencia, the more this spectre becomes indistinguishable from fiction. The second is that conjuring can be as much a way of giving voice to a spectre as a way of destroying it. This ambivalence sheds light on the ambiguous ethics of his writing as it wavers between identification with, and violence towards, the Other — and nowhere is this clearer than in his reflections on the urbanization of the conflict. This contradiction is central to the genesis of la Violencia.

The second concern is that literature, as an elite practice, has historically reproduced the marginalization of these perspectives. Chapter 3 reads the testimonial work of Alfredo Molano within the debate surrounding the politics of testimonio organized roughly around the opposing poles of deconstructive and anti-philosophical reading practices.

Molano champions the testimonio as a rupture with existing knowledge- practices including sociology that has its roots in collective action. Here I engage with four films which, in their fascination with the social displacements brought about by la Violencia, lay bare the interstices between violence, urbanization and media culture. The interrogation of these inter- stices calls for a rethinking of the common assumption that the mass social displacements witnessed in Colombia over the last sixty years are merely a secondary product of partisan violence.

Chapter 5 is mostly concerned with the ideological displacements entailed by the search for cinematic genres through which to represent la Violencia, and engages with two films. As well as offering a humorous critique of state absen- teeism, the film also anticipates later efforts to uproot rural perspectives on violence. Where the opposi- tion that has not hurled back the same branding reproach against its own opponents?

Two things result from this: I. This spectre called la Violencia is recognised by all powers as a power in its own right — a power that continues to affect everyday life in Colombia. But first I should ask: Why, after the turn of the century, should we be talking about la Violencia?

What has la Violencia got to do with spectres? If spectres challenge ontological thinking, such a challenge leaves its mark on a range of concepts as diverse as time, memory, politics and justice. It is something that one does not know, precisely, and one does not know if precisely it is, if it exists, if it responds to a name and corresponds to an essence.

One does not know: not out of ignorance, but because this non-object, this non-present present, this being-there of an absent or departed one no longer belongs to knowledge. At least no longer to that which one thinks belongs to the name of knowl- edge. One does not know if it is living or if it is dead. Thirdly, if spectres come in the name of justice, they also represent a challenge to language. Given their association with mourning and with the challenge to ontolog- ical notions of time and presence, spectres provide an appropriate figure with which to understand the non- place of la Violencia in contemporary Colombia.

Instead, as I argued in the introduction, it hovers in an uncertain space as an insistent object of memory that can neither be forgotten nor narrativized as history. Perhaps for these reasons, historians tend to treat spectres with hostility.

Such differences are political but are perceived principally in the unconscious processes underpin- ning their respective representations in writing. Uno o dos autores […] quisieron traer conceptos de nueva novela.


La Boba Y El Buda

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