n Acta Academica - What is telling "if telling is all there is?" : conclusion

Volume 47, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0587-2405


Slham Ataschi raises a similar question in her contribution to this special issue of Acta Academica on "Silence after violence". As she writes, drawing from her study of Afghanistan, "efforts such as truth telling, documenting and recording of individual memory in relation to past violence provide a voice for women's narrative and personal memories during war and conflict.However, what if telling is all there is?" (page no). For Ataschi, this question opens a discussion on how stories of violence perpetrated on Afghani women during the country's successive wars and under the Taliban regime have been drawn into human rights reports and truth-commission proceedings without commensurate efforts to develop meaningful public dialogue or address past injustices. As she suggests, the interests of "the international community" which issues these reports and organizes these proceedings remain distant from the people whose narratives they collect. In this context, "telling" risks reinforcing existing power relations in which Afghani women are simply part of someone else's project with little capacity to hold others accountable for past wrongs or to alter the circumstances of their daily lives.

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