Rachel Hatcher, Ph.D., research assistant for the SOAA project, publishes “The Victims and Violence of Civil War: Presences and Absences in El Salvador’s Monumental Narratives of Reconciliation”
This article examines two memorial projects in El Salvador, the Monument to Memory and Truth, unveiled in 2003, and the Reconciliation Sculpture Park, inaugurated in 2017. The first is a civil society project and the second is governmental. I explore the two projects’ distinct visions of both civil war and reconciliation. In the former project, the victims are the focus— and indeed the foundation of a new El Salvador—while in the latter, enemy combatants are commemorated and celebrated. In this way, the Reconciliation Sculpture Park sanitises the violence of the civil war and forgets its 80 000 victims. As for reconciliation, the Monument to Reconciliation in the Reconciliation Sculpture Park largely excludes Salvadoran society from this project, reserving that role for the military and guerrillas, and celebrates an already achieved reconciliation. The Monument to Memory and Truth’s vision of reconciliation, of the future, and the people’s central place in both, is distinct.
The article is available here.