Morning Coffee – 23 November 2015

22775234817_149ec17cdb_bHere are ten stories to read this morning.

image by Blowing Puffer Fish

About Nate Hoffelder (10614 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Morning Coffee – 23 November 2015

  1. VICTORY in NJ: Two Books to Remain on High School Reading List

    The only issue I have with assigning high school students to read Ariel Dorfman is that students may conclude that Dorfman has presented THE view of Chile during the Allende-Pinochet years, whereas Dorfman is merely presenting an Allende supporter’s partisan view.

    Allende never had the support of the majority- which made his program of radical change rather problematic. Three weeks before the coup, the Chamber of Deputies passed a Resolution by an 81-47 vote, a strong 63% majority, which stated that Allende had committed repeated violations of Chilean law and of the Constitution, and requested the military to step in. One can find a translation of this resolution by typing “declaration of the breakdown of chile’s democracy” into a search engine.

    Roberto Ampuero is a writer who gives a more balanced view of Chile during that era. Ampuero, who fled Chile after the coup, had been a member of Communist Youth during his university days in Chile. His time in East Germany and in Cuba- he married woman whose father was a member of the Cuban nomenklatura- gave him a more balanced view. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, “The Neruda Case” is the only one of his books that has been translated into English. Mis Años Verde Olivo relates his experiences in Cuba. El último tango de Salvador Allende presents the contrast between the protagonist’s tragic view of life and Allende’s utopian view. Excellent books. Unfortunately, as far as Ican tell, these books are not published in English. I haven’t read The Neruda Case yet- either in Spanish or in English.

    Ampuero wrote an article titled Chile’s Forgetful Memory which is a translation of what he wrote in El Mercurio.

    I applaud the government’s opening next January a Museum of Memory and Human Rights, because a country that forgets its past repeats its mistakes. But recounting a country’s recent history with public funds must take account of that country’s diversity and avoid sectarian censorship.
    So while I support the portrayal of the repression that took place during Pinochet’s dictatorship, I ask why the museum is only going to show things that happened after September 11, 1973. Is it possible to understand our great tragedy of the 20th century and ignore events that happened before that day? Can we characterize the period 1973-1990 while overlooking the prior political and economic crisises that almost dragged us into a civil war?
    Our nation’s memory must condemn the dictatorship’s abuses but also remember that in 1970 a small slice of our population—less than 37 percent of the electorate—instituted radical social changes that the majority opposed. We mustn’t forget that the Unidad Popular (the party led by Salvador Allende) was more radical than Chávez is today, though it never had the popular backing he has.

    An unbiased national memory must also recall that leaders inspired by the “socialism” in Eastern Europe and the Caribbean threw overboard our democracy, calling it “bourgeois,” though in fact it was far deeper than that of East Germany or Cuba. Their dream was to substitute for it the system buried in 1989 by the East Europeans. I emphasize that though getting rid of our democracy was extremely irresponsible, it didn’t justify the repression that followed. But nothing justifies, either, constructing a memory that forgets half the story.

    To start recording history on September 11, 1973 demonizes a vast part of our population and lies about the past, because it hides the fact that the majority of Chileans, the Christian Democrats included, rejected the UP…

    How to explain the behavior of a sector of our population that was against both the UP and Pinochet in a museum that starts history on September 11? It can only be done if the museum, instead of telling the nation’s story, tells one part of it and forgets the other.

    Including or not including books to read for high school students is not as straightforward as it seems. Would the teacher who assigned Dorfman also be willing to include opposing points of view?

    • @ Reader

      Thanks for the background details. I’ll admit, my understanding of that period was heavily influenced by what I now recognize as the official American version, or Dorfman. It’s interesting to see what was left out.

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