Synopses & Reviews
"Human rights journalists Brodzinsky and Schoening geographically organize intimate oral histories from individuals living through pervasive violence among Colombia's drug cartels, military forces, and rebels. Often astonishing quotes double as headings ('A Pretext to Throw Me in The River'; 'I'd Go Alone and Sit Down Next to Their Tombs'; 'I'm Going to Start Killing Indians as if They Were Fish'), piquing readers' curiosity and conscience. The editors document the conflict's tangible impacts destruction of villages, deaths, and physical injuries and emphasize stories embodying two ideas: violence seems to permeate the air many Colombians breathe, yet they show 'tenacity to persevere and survive.' For Amado VillafaÃ…Âˆa, a member of the indigenous Arhuaco people, 'the conflict begins with Christopher Columbus'; despite this, 'we're not resentful.' In childhood, Sergio DÃƒÂaz heard bomb explosions and 'got so scared face changed from this color to that.' Five years later, he stepped on a landmine, losing his leg. Readers concerned with human rights and Latin American politics will find this account of violence and survival both sad and inspiring. Maps. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
For nearly five decades, Colombia has been embroiled in internal armed conflict among guerrilla groups, paramilitary militias, and the countrys own military. Civilians in Colombia have to make their lives despite the threat of torture, kidnapping, and large-scale massacresand more than four million have had to flee their homes. The oral histories in Throwing Stones at the Moon
describe the most widespread of Colombias human rights crises: forced displacement. Speakers recount life before displacement, the reasons for their flight, and their struggle to rebuild their lives. Among the narrators:
JULIA, a hospital union leader whose fight against corruption led to a brutal attempt on her life. In 2009, assassins tracked her to her home and stabbed her seven times in the face and chest. Since the attack, Julia has undergone eight facial reconstructive surgeries, and continues to live in hiding.
DANNY, who at eighteen joined a right-wing paramilitarys enormous training camp in the Eastern Plains of Colombia. Initially lured by the promise of quick money, Danny soon realized his mistake and escaped to Ecuador. He describes his harrowing escape and his struggle to survive as a refugee with two young children to support.
About the Author
is the Colombia researcher in the Americas division of Human Rights Watch. He contributed research to Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict
, a forthcoming photography book documenting the history of the Colombian conflict by Stephen Ferry.
Sibylla Brodzinsky has spent more than 20 years writing about Latin American politics, human rights and social issues. She has worked and lived in Venezuela, Chile, and the Dominican Republic and currently is based in Colombia as a freelance journalist, as correspondent for The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Guardian. Her work has also appeared in Time Magazine, the Washington Post, the Miami Herald, the Houston Chronicle, MSNBC.com, USA Today, Business 2.0, the London Times, PODER Magazine, and on National Public Radio.