The main objective of this article is to analyze the types of moral feelings that victims' testimonies should arouse among members of a political community that purports to be democratic, inclusive and respective of human rights. Hand in hand with Avishai Margalit, Tzvetan Todorov, Peter Strawson, Martha Nussbaum, Elizabeth Spelman and Manuel Reyes Mate, throughout the text we defend the thesis that the narrations and representations of the victims' unfair suffering should be able to arouse indignation and informed compassion among citizens. To demonstrate the scope and meaning of this thesis, we will analyze two of the most serious problems faced by a policy that privileges the victims. The first is related to the distortions that may take place when the victims' narrations are heard and that are largely associated with a kind of sacredness that is assigned to those who testify on the violence they have suffered. The second issue we will analyze is related to the manner in which the members of a political community represent said suffering. Specifically, we will discuss the different forms of trivialization that citizens may give the narrations that represent the damage. In the last part of the text, we shall analyze the exemplary testimony of Harriet Jacobs with the intention of showing how a testimony may generate informed indignation and compassion among the audience.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Representation of victims' suffering in violent conflicts: scope, obstacles and perspectives
|Published - Jun 1 2012