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I recreated the experience later by collaging the images, and attaching to each a quote from the interview and a section of the novel in my English translation. Choose an image in the collage that calls your attention and click. Experience the quotes from the interview and the novel, like the memory that arises from your subconscious when you see an old photo or visit a place from your childhood. Meander through the memory of the other — that of both fictional Martim and his inventor, Milton Hatoum. Some fragments address the relationship between city space and oppression and the way in which politics are engrained in setting.

Others simply capture the human experience of distance, loneliness, and abandonment.

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All translations are from the Portuguese by Lara Norgaard. All efforts were made to find the rights to the photographs published in the volume. Please contact us with any information about the images Milton Hatoum is a Brazilian novelist born in Manaus in He has won a range of prizes for his fiction, including the prestigious Jabuti Prize for Relato de um certo Oriente , his first novel, and Cinzas do Norte , for which he also was awarded the Bravo! Paulo and O Globo. Identify the places where dictatorship violence took place and where resistance pushed back. Visit them and experience history as something real and material, something that leaves its scars in territory.


Imbuing places with memories of the past is essential to learning about what the military regime meant for the experience of people of different social groups going about their everyday lives. It is an extremely important public memory initiative, one relevant for an international audience as well as a local one. A world-famous tourist destination, Rio de Janeiro is filled with invisible traces of a recent oppressive dictatorship — which has as its legacy state violence in the present.

Artememoria adapted the 34 sites located in the center zone of Rio de Janeiro, many of which relate to artistic and cultural resistance, developing an interactive, English-language map. Virtually explore the urban fabric of Rio de Janeiro by selecting themes of interest or, if you visit Rio, use this page as an alternative guidebook, one that allows for a deep understanding of Brazilian history and issues of human rights in the past and the present. This map contains nine central themes, listed below the tenth theme, Rural Repression and Land Conflict, does not apply to the central zone of the city of Rio.

The categories highlight some of the research topics considered fundamental to developing a critical memory of the period of the military dictatorship. Note that the themes are not mutually exclusive, nor fully comprehensive, and that not all spaces fit cleanly within each topic. For that reason, each site of memory on this map falls within at least one of the major thematic categories. It also includes the major events and ideological and political disputes that characterized the s and that resulted in the installation and consolidation of the military regime.

This category primarily encompasses the network of institutions and physical spaces responsible for the political oppression carried out during the military regime, including the censorship and propaganda apparatus. It highlights official sites belonging to the Armed Forces, police, or the judiciary as well as clandestine ones.

Also included in this list are spaces in which repressive state action constituted attacks or extreme acts of violence. In that sense, it reveals the military, corporate, and civil bloc that enabled the installation of the military dictatorship and its perpetuation for 21 years. Also included are the civil society organizations and businesses targeted by the dictatorship. Here, we consider political repression against workers and unions, which was one of the most targeted groups during the dictatorship.

This theme presents the actions carried out by student movement in universities and high schools during the military dictatorship. It encompasses mobilizations and student protests in the struggle against dictatorship, as well as the conservative education policy and violations of human rights that the State committed in universities and the education sector more broadly. This section relates to the role of the Catholic Church during the military regime, spanning from resistance to the dictatorship on the part of priests, bishops, Catholic youth movements, and neighborhoods to the collaboration of conservative sectors of the Church with the coup.

It also deals with the political repression and human rights violations against lay workers, priests, and Catholic activists. This theme describes the processes behind the political-cultural articulation of black resistance to the dictatorship. It also covers the specific characteristics of political repression and state violence against the black population, its movements, and cultural projects during the military regime.

Here, we focus on a range of political and cultural actions critical of the military regime, the various aesthetic languages of resistance to dictatorship, as well as the persecution, censorship, and other restrictions of freedom of speech and political participation that the dictatorship perpetrated. In that same line of thought, this section also includes initiatives to memorialize the political and social violence of the dictatorship that was carried out during the period after the regime, during the political transition, and after democracy normalized.

This theme discusses the redefinition of urban space that occurred due to public policies prioritizing elitist and segregationist housing that were implemented in Rio de Janeiro favelas under the military regime.

It involves the mass forced displacements as well as other forms of violence intended to prevent the mobilization and social-political organization of favela residents. In this section we present mechanisms of resistance of the LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, and transsexual population during the dictatorship and show the specific acts of discrimination and repression that the regime launched against this part of the population.

This category focuses on the forms of gendered violence practiced by state agents during the military dictatorship. It is one of a series of products that seek to strengthen the reconstruction and promotion of social and historical memory about the military dictatorship, as well as to provide symbolic reparation to those affected by political violence in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

This initiative aims to address a key aspect of the military regime that ruled Brazil between the relationships between the violence of a complex repressive mechanism and the many forms of resistance that reacted to the dictatorship. For this reason, spaces identified in Rio de Janeiro cities and rural areas are the object of study and guiding thread of this project. Though there were broader structures, actors, processes, and context on a regional, national, and international scale , these sites are considered unique and indispensable vessels for understanding the history and memory of repression and resistance from this period.

The reader has in their hands a collective, multi-authored work. Each participant had a distinct perspective, topic of interest, and style in the way they approached the chosen themes and spaces. The lack of sameness did not, however, prevent participants from sharing in the special-temporal premise that grounds the project, the pattern that guides the texts, and, above all, the core goal that drove the initiative: to offer the reader a narrative about what happened in the spaces in question, supported by historical knowledge about the past and the memories of witnesses who lived through the period.

Based on the assumption that historical study historiographical knowledge, as we understand it and memory are complimentary and indispensable. Focused on public space and made for the general public, and under the aegis of human rights and democracy, this memorial process begins to make visible the demands of persecuted and victimized groups.

It also begins to make available knowledge about a history that, to a large extent, remains forgotten, ignored, silenced, hidden, and even denied by the State and civil society. The question of memory about repression during the military dictatorship does not assume the existence of a single memory, but instead of a plurality of memories. This plurality, in the slow and ongoing political process of settling the score with the violent past, involves a varied range of social, institutional, and state actors.

Their dynamic implies that some memories try to impose themselves over others in a hegemonic way, even though all memories, through their very historicity, suffer changes. These changes are inherent to processes of remembering, forgetting, and silencing that occur according to national and international shifts in context political, legal, ideological, and cultural and in the power relations between key actors.

Still, the plurality of existing memories about the dictatorship does not erase the fact that the original conflict that has persisted to this day — supported by subjective experiences, lived and communicated — results in an opposition between the accounts and interpretations of associations of the family of dead and disappeared political prisoners, human rights organizations, and social movements on the one hand and, on the other, those of the military and its civilian allies.

The origin of the trauma, absence, and shortfalls in the process of memorializing the past of political violence dates back to the period of the military dictatorship. Its most important characteristics and consequences remained during the political transition to democracy and continue to project themselves, to varying degrees, into the normalization of institutional democracy in the s.

This redemptive narrative would then be repeated and celebrated in army barracks and in yearly official ceremonies. It would also continue to be commemorated in barracks until and, in military clubs, through the present day. These measures grew in intensity and fed into the narrative of a Strong Brazil with the effects of official propaganda, which were revamped as patriotic, moralistic, and anti-subversive.

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Despite this, groups made up of the families of political prisoners and the disappeared began to demand information from the authorities about the conditions and whereabouts of their relatives as early as At the same time, they would seek out channels to expose crimes committed by the regime. One can see this in various situations and places included in this collection. Meanwhile, groups of exiled Brazilians abroad and transnational networks of activists for human rights organized reports and lobbied for international recognition of arbitrary imprisonment, systematic torture, killings, and disappearances.

In both political contexts, the memory of the groups affected by repression would appear in a varied range of practices and representational forms. The negative memory of political violence never achieved widespread circulation in Brazilian society. The actors carrying that memory were unable to hold the State accountable for the demands they had made. They remained isolated, socially and politically.


These groups prioritized other demands, both old and new, which had been suspended until that point. This strategy created the Amnesty Law, and its dominant interpretation is the most powerful barrier blocking social and historical memory about the dictatorship. And it was through this new legal-political-ideological mechanism that the guarantee of immunity for the Armed Forces was extracted.

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The State used this mechanism to plaster with forgetting impunity, concealment, silence, and lies the arbitrary detentions, the torture, the secret military courts operating beyond the rule of law, the killings, and the forced disappearances perpetrated by its agents.

It did so in such a way that it could regularly refuse demands made by relatives of the dead and disappeared, former political prisoners, and human rights organizations for the investigation into the facts and the circumstances of what happened, public recognition of what had taken place, reparations for the victims, memorializing measures, and holding the repressive agents criminally responsible. It is not surprising, given this context, that the government would block any consistent policy or mechanism for transitional justice.

Decades would have to pass for the extremely long amnesic phase would show any signs of change. The first significant step took place during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration in After discreet negotiations with the military took place about the thorny topic of dictatorship repression and emphatic assurances that amnesty was not being questioned, the Brazilian State assumed, for the first time, responsibility for the deaths of disappeared political opposition — without investigating the circumstances of those deaths or naming the responsible parties, individual or institutional.

It also guaranteed death certificates for the families — even though the families bore the burden of proof — and monetary reparations which the majority of families had not demanded. There was a marked privatized slant and the clear goal of impeding any public debate about the topic in society. In , in the name of national reconciliation and commitment to close the question of the past at once, the Amnesty Commission was established for the politically persecuted.

These advances tied into the linchpin of reparations and its connections with truth and memory. The result was a complex and contradictory political dynamic driven by four independent forces: the diverse political initiatives taken by the government; the mobilization around demands for memory, truth, and justice, upheld by human rights organizations, social movements, and other collectives; the fledgling process of judicialization, domestically and internationally, in relation to the amnesty law and the right to truth and justice that victims of repression hold this was expressed most clearly in , with the contrasting decisions stated by the Federal Supreme Court STF and the International Court of Human Rights CIDH ; and finally, the reactions, opposition, and negotiations between the Armed Forces and the government at distinct critical moments.

At the same time, in an indirect and contained way, this accumulation of information threw into question legalized impunity.

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In fact, what one saw was an unprecedented un-amnesic phase developing throughout the political landscape in relation to the military dictatorship. What made this possible was, on the one hand, favorable political conditions on a domestic level, in which a sector of the governmental elite found rapid support and action from long-time actors and new social collectives that had persisted in the struggle not to let the dictatorial past be forgotten. On the other, a favorable Latin American and global context legalized and legitimized applying international human rights paradigms to the treatment of the recent violent past.

This broader context not only circulated mechanisms of transitional justice but also spread the value for traumatic memory for these types of injustices. It is in this general framework, and in a situation where a sentence condemning the Brazilian state by the CIDH seemed inevitable, that the novel National Truth Commission entered the political scene.

Passed by law in Congress in November along with an absolutely necessary Freedom of Information Act, the CNV was the result of a series of conflicts, negotiations, and interconnected decisions that involved the government, the Armed Forces, human rights organizations, the STF, and leadership from major political parties. It had broad investigative powers and its primary objectives were to bring to light grave human rights violations perpetrated by the state of exception, recommend preventative measures to prevent the repetition of this kind of regime and to achieve national reconciliation, and to promote the reconstruction of a historical interpretation of the period based on these violations and with an emphasis on the victims.

Once established and operating, the CNV quickly became the impetus for an expansive and unprecedented wave in Brazil, inspiring state and group-specific truth commissions; countless forums for public debate; the multiplying of depositions and testimonies; sensitivity in younger generations; new public and private archives; broad coverage in mass media and spillover onto social media; intensified production on the period in academia and investigative journalism; diverse artistic expressions; and, without a doubt, the most intense moment in the dispute over memory regarding the meaning, knowledge, and interpretations of the military regime, in addition to tributes, monuments, and campaigns to establish museums and sites of memory and education about human rights in various Brazilian cities.

In sum, the CNV inscribed into the memorial process about the military dictatorship a stimulus, acceleration, and breadth of unprecedented activities tied to diverse groups and actors. The height of this action was between March and April , the symbolic moment marking 50 years after the military coup. The CNV crafted a general narrative about the historical experience of the military dictatorship, centered on the question of grave human rights violations committed by the State, as is shown in the Final Report and the 29 recommendations that accompany it, presented to Dilma Rousseff in December It includes the names of the victims who were killed as well as those responsible for the crimes, and recommends opening investigations and court trials.

However, the expanding un-amnesiac phase came abruptly to a close in the extreme two-pronged political and economic crisis that Brazil suffered after the presidential elections — a crisis that, since that time, has not ceased to deepen. The lasting nature of the crisis, permanent uncertainty in the present moment, and the destructive impact of the crisis in diverse contexts political-institutional, economic, social, cultural, ethical generated amnesia about the recent past along with the rapid dissolution of expectations about the future.

In terms of reparation, truth, and memorialization, these effects sharpened under the Temer administration, even before the turbulent impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff had come to a close. Many previous advances were interrupted, cleared out, dismantled.

In any case, the current framework shows the fragility of social and historical memory about the military dictatorship, as well as the prevailing weight of the barriers, restrictions, and opposition that appeared throughout the process of transitional justice. There is no dearth of research in history and the social sciences that shows the strong propensity for silence, lack of awareness, and indifference amongst vast swaths of the population in relation to the political past, and specifically, to the recent political past and the military dictatorship. Above all, this refers to the strategies not explicitly laid out during the period of political transition that have largely persisted for the nearly thirty years of normalizing democratic institutions, not including the important changes in policy, though cut short and precarious, introduced in the last phase of transitional justice.