JORGE MIYAGUI

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Kimono to NOT forget

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Kimono to Not Forget

 

 

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that really matter."

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

“…the proclivity of these governments for a military solution [to the problem of political violence] without civilian control was supported by a considerable sector of Peruvian society, especially the educated urban sector, who benefited from government services and resided far from the epicenter of the conflict. These groups watched with indifference or demanded a speedy solution as long as it the social cost was paid primarily by the rural and most impoverished citizens.” 

Conclusion 77, Peruvian Truth & Reconciliation Commisison

 

 

Some years have passed since the presentation of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR), but we are perplexed witnesses of how the mechanisms of socially based exclusion in our country remain still intact. That common belief that the lives of some are worth more than the lives of others is, though officially unrecognized, accepted by large sectors of the population. This is a position that conceives human life as a trade-off in pursuit of a political objective, a position that was adopted by both sides of the conflict, including those who declared war on the State and the repressive State itself. Peru —a society in which violence is structural— refuses to look in the mirror, because it knows that the truth is painful and that to accept it has a cost.

 

 

In the struggle against impunity, oblivion and injustice at all levels, as men and women move toward building abetter world, a kimono [Editor’s note: a traditional Japanese form of clothing, used to represent the regime of former president, of Peruvian-Japanese descent, Alberto Fujimori] is re-signified by taking on a critical and self-reflective attitude that is sensitive to human pain and social injustice. We cannot build peace in our lives based on the denial of our neighbor. Unfortunately, this social practice has become commonplace in Peru: an ominous common willingness to accept the cost of violence as long as it is others who pay, those who do not enjoy the same degrees of citizenship and social recognition as ourselves.

 

 

The Kimono interpolates the viewer and confronts us with our collective memory as well.  Indifference is an accomplice of injustice, our silence supports a model of civilization based on injustice, selfishness and competition. Therefore, with the use of the mirror, the viewer can compare the phrase “silent complicity” with her reflection, and contemplate her position in the world and her real capacity to transform it.

 

 

Father Gustavo Gutiérrez [Editor’s note: a Peruvian priest who is considered the father of the progressive Catholic doctrine known as “liberation theology”] defines poverty as social insignificance. We can also say then that the question is whether we are capable of recognizing ourselves in diversity, if we are able to construct a democratic social existence without exception, recognize otherness in and support wholeheartedly a radically democratic society, where we are all included, where there are no second or third class citizens, where there is no longer any social insignificance.

 

 

Jorge Alberto Miyagui

 

2003-2006