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ESMA: a wound that remains open

ESMA, a book by Juan Carrá and Iñaki Echeverría that helps a lot to continue with the difficult task of continuing to demand Memory, Truth and Justice.

Art and Literature

One of the main hypotheses of  Walter Benjamin  in his already classic text “The Narrator” says, simplifying it, that the great experiences of the human being, as opposed to what might be thought at first,  do not help the stories to multiply and diversify, but all the contrary.  He uses as an example what he himself could see in the German soldiers returning from the trenches of the First World War.  They came back dumb . They couldn't say anything.  The intensity of the experience they had had made them lose their ability to narrate it.  Our vernacular version is, without a doubt, the civil-military dictatorship of 1976. And its main symbol is the ESMA.

How to narrate what happened behind those walls?  How to make it digestible but at the same time truthful and rigorous?  Nations that do not know their own history run a huge risk:  repeating it  . Perhaps that is why efforts to keep that memory alive (in addition to continuing to seek truth and demand justice) are never vain. And it is in that sense that a book like  Esma , whose texts are by  Juan Carrá  and his illustrations by  Iñaki Echeverría  , is not only recommended, but we could even say  that is necessary .

Literature as one of the best ways to talk about ESMA terror

One of the best decisions in the book  is to have it illustrated . The aesthetics of the comic book make it possible to say and show things that would otherwise be almost impossible (perhaps it is  Maus , the excellent book by Art Spiegelman who started with this tradition). Divided into chapters ordered by proper names, it narrates the adventures of a journalist working on the coverage of the trial known as  “Megacausa ESMA” or “Unified ESMA” . This possibility of running from the center of the scene allows the narrator to be able to tell the lives of the different people who were kidnapped in that fateful place, many of them still  missing to this day. 

A final comment to highlight the quality and quantity of the bibliography consulted and that of the last two chapters, which narrate (and show) how the Officers' Casino worked and how were the judgments. We will continue to call for memory, truth and justice.  Books like this help us a lot in the task. 

 Data sheet
 Authors: Juan Carrá and Iñaki Echeverría
Publisher:  Evaristo
 Pages: 158
PVP: $650 (2019)

Publication Date: 01/12/2019

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