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Los caminos del exilio

It’s time to write about my experience at the Museo de la Memoria. In a previous post I shared some impressions about memory and the role of Museums in preserving it. One of the things I am doing there is related to the memory of the exiled.  I believe that their stories not only deserve to be told but their suffering must be remembered as well. This is precisely the idea behind a new project that is been currently developed at the Museo and that I am part of. It is called “Los caminos del exilio” (the paths of exile) and the goal is to understand what means to be an exiled and create social consciousness about it.

In my opinion this is one of the most sensitive issues in Chile. It can generate pubic scorn or sympathy and solidarity; depends on whom you ask. The fact is that there are still many in this country reluctant to recognize the reality of a part of the population that was forced to leave their country and life behind.  That’s the reason why this kind of project is so important. It is not only about bringing these topics to the general debate it is also about generating a permanent dialogue with the public. Inform, acknowledge and participate; that’s the purpose of all of this.

I think exile is maybe the second worst thing a human being can faced after torture and extermination.  Many of the testimonies I have worked with are hard to hear but one of the things I have learned from this work is that exile affects identity in important ways. It is impressive to see how people that went to exile dreamed about returning and, when they did, they felt in a whole different place. That sense of belonging to something is completely disrupted in many cases;those who were in Brodsky’s class last semester and read Roberto Bolaño’s Distant Star will understand this. In any case, as a result there are persons who never adapted either to their new home abroad or when they came back. Others were able to adapt and integrate both cultures as part of their identity; and still there are others who adopted only one culture.

My work in that project is related to the selection of the content. As one of the most interesting things to explore, I am orienting the documentary towards the exploration of identity transformation because that’s where the negative and positive aspects of exile can be found; it is also the best way to understand this phenomenon I believe.  This stage is already coming to an end. The production and edition of the video is what follows. I won’t be here when that process begins but I will follow it from Washington.

I am also looking for a way to involve CLAS formally in the co-production of that video. My supervisor at the Museum likes the idea but I still need to talk with his boss and professor Chernick about this. If everything goes as planned, the documentary will be displayed in the screens of the Museum before the end of this year. Stay tune to see what happens next!

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