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Indianisation and depoliticisation of the victims of the war in Peru. The example of the OOW Memorial


The memorial The Eye that Cries was erected as a tribute to the victims of the internal armed conflict in Peru (1980-2000). It is the work of the artist Lika Mutal in coordination with various human rights activists and is a continuation of the work done by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR in Spanish). The anniversary of the final report of this commission is also celebrated on this site every August 28th. Based on several observations of this ceremony, supplemented by interviews with the artist and human rights activists, this article aims to interrogate the process of ethnicization of victims and the way in which it has guided an essential component of symbolic reparation programs: commemorations of the war. The pre-Hispanic past and the “Andean cosmology” were mobilized during these commemorations in order to promote a particular category of victim presented as innocent: Quechuaphone peasants of the Andes who should be “reintegrated” into the national society. The social and political effects in post-CVR Peru of this staging of ethnicity based on a mystical cosmology are also discussed.

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