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The Little School: Tales Of Disappearance & Survival In Argentina

written & translated by Alicia Partnoy

They cut off my voice
so I grew two voices
into different tongues
my songs I pour
They cut off my voice
so I grew two voices
in two different tongues
my songs I pour
They took away my sun
two brand new suns
like resplendent drums I am playing-
Today I am playing

Bernice Johnson Reagon quotes this poem by Partnoy at the start of her hard-hitting introduction.

Partnoy was one of the Disappeared. Over 30k political dissidents disappeared in Argentina between 1976-79 – & most were never heard from again. I guess you could call Alicia Partnoy one of the lucky ones as she survived & was forced to move to The States where she was reunited with her husband & young daughter.

The writing was somewhat fragmented, which normally I hate but with Partnoy’s experiences, how could it be anything else? Partnoy & the other captives were kept blindfolded & were beaten if the blindfold became loose. They were also tortured- horrible, horrible torture – & sexually molested. Often this seemed to be because the guards were bored.

The b/w line drawings by Partnoy’s mother Raquel are so moving & thoughtful;

The appendices at the back are very helpful in figuring out what happened & for keeping the characters straight. I wish the map of the prison (The Little School name is just some weird attempt at humour by the captors) had been at the front of the book.

Moving, an important part of recent history & very strongly recommended.

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