War and social memory: disability as testimony

Colonial war has never been given a space of commemoration in the process of the democratic post-imperial reconstruction of Portuguese society. That is why this silence about the war may be described as a constituting element of this process. From various points of view, the disabled war veterans represented the vivid expression of a collective trauma which the democratic social order has wished to forget. The silencing and marginalisation to which the disabled of the Armed Forces have been subjected make them privileged witnesses, by means of their accounts (from 35 interviewees), for the salvation of important historical dimensions necessary for the understanding of contemporary Portugal, and for the recognition of disability narratives as testimonies against the violence of oblivion.

war; disability; colonial war; social memory


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