After Authoritarianism

Tactics an authoritarian regime, such as the one in Chile under Augusto Pinochet, often employ are those that are oppressive. Not only disallowing choice in the government but also the way the people have to be kept from expressing those choices. With all the atrocities that take place in a regime like the one mentioned above, there is the question of what happens after. In the case of Chile a democratic government was put in place so that is one arguably good outcome in the aftermath but what happens to the perpetrators of crimes against the people is also important.

The memory of the past does not go away as soon as a dictator is out of power and thus some sort of action is taken after to prosecute the criminals. However, when this does not happen and the criminals go free to live lives that are in many cases better than their victims the past is really not the past because there is was no punishment. The people who perpetrated that past are continuing to be rewarded for the crimes they committed and the people they hurt to continue to suffer. What can happen to a country that is not able to leave the past behind or if they can forget/forgive even if the criminals are not punished are questions that come to mind when thinking about a situation such as the one in Chile. Another question is what would happen to a country’s relationship with a county that has been liberated from a dictatorship if that country has been affected by the past doctor negatively and he is still living freely. These questions may only be answered as time goes on and in different ways by different people.

Sweeper: Importance of Historical Context

After the last class’ discussions there were some really great points to take away. The concept most interesting for me was the idea of how things are remembered. It appears more clearly from the lecture and discussion that history has a very large part in supporting ideas whether or not they be good or correct. Using history as some sort of propaganda will, as was seen, lead to some kind of distortion whether it be generalizations or misinterpreted facts. One example that Dr. Evans brought up was how some German people think about a “German Culture” when, in fact, there were times in German history were this culture was very different and diverse -not how they see it as being today. There are many other examples of this that can come up as well including the concept of “Making America Great Again.” There is more to the discussion than just whether one even thinks America is already great but if it ever was (“again”) or what made it great to begin with? Are the “great” factors of the “old” America exaggerated in the memory of American people?

 

Another topic that was discussed in our group is the use of words such as “fascism.” Often what is labeled “fascism” is not actually something that can be classified as that but rather populism. Labeling things or putting them “in a box” are not ways of fulling understanding what is happening. If everyone goes around calling people fascist, what do the real fascists become? Again a good critical analysis of history can help with this problem because people can then see the different types of fascist regimes that existed like the classic examples of Germany and Italy and then apply that knowledge.