JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 341

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Mario DiPaolantino

situation of complete equality and sameness, where the distillation of the
nation's norms can be crystallized and sealed. To bring the incomprehen-
sible crimes before the law thus provides a retrospective lesson on the
founding values of the nation. The "facts" and the "truth" that would be
got from the traumatic event were ultimately to serve in separating and
thus abjecting the "false" and "aberrant" values of Argentine identity
from the "true" and "original" ones. In this sense, the will to come to terms
with the past, to make the trauma into an object of knowledge, reveals the
desire in the formation of a redeemed national identity: an opportunity for
self-confirmation, a history lesson on "who we really are."
This retrospective artifice had an incredible force in the "official
narrativization" of the "dirty war," for it was from behind this "veil of
ignorance" and through its implicit consensual process that the law would
provide a record that could "distinguish dispassionately the legitimate
aims of the anti-terrorist campaign from the illegitimate means adopted
for its realization" (Osiel "Making" 155). Working from these presump-
tions, there was no room for the trial to consider the whole "anti-terrorist
campaign" as being itself wholly "illegitimate" and as a means to
institutionalize class war through the force of the state, for this would
have breached the discursive framework ushered by the process of
national recovery and reconciliation. Hence, the trial "steered clear of
judging the legitimacy of the junta as a government or its decision to
combat subversion, [the court] confined itself to judging the defendants
for the commission of well established crimes and struggled to make the
proceeding resemble an average criminal trial" (Speck 494).9
Because the boundaries within which the criminal case organizes its
deliberation of the "facts" assumes that behind the "veil of ignorance" all
are equal-that the social differences of race, class, gender, and religion
are unimportant-the trial produced a decidedly historically discon-
nected and individualized narrative of the event. As Carina Perelli
observes, "The collective dimension of repression tended to be lost in this
bleak recitation of individual pain and despair" (435). Because the
extensive documentation of kidnappings, murders, and torture were
presented without any deliberate attempt at formulating the connections
between them, a despairingly discrete picture was drawn ofa process that
was ultimately methodical and ontologically driven in its selection of
victims. In not considering the broader social milieu, "the trial failed to
provide an outlet for the feeling of personal inadequacy, anger, and
frustration repressed during the years of extreme individualization, under
the culture of fear" (435). The trial was particularly vexing, for although

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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/87/ocr/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .

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