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The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation

Overview

Hector Aristizábal grew up in the barrios of Medellín, Colombia, where he and his siblings had to use all their wit, wiles, and wherewithal to survive poverty, the ever-present allure of cheap drugs and very dangerous money, and the endemic violence from leftwing guerrillas, rightwing death squads, cocaine cartels, and the armed power of the State. As a young actor and psychology student, Hector was seized by the military, held in secret, and tortured. He survived and went on to find meaning in his ordeal as he ...

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The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation

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Overview

Hector Aristizábal grew up in the barrios of Medellín, Colombia, where he and his siblings had to use all their wit, wiles, and wherewithal to survive poverty, the ever-present allure of cheap drugs and very dangerous money, and the endemic violence from leftwing guerrillas, rightwing death squads, cocaine cartels, and the armed power of the State. As a young actor and psychology student, Hector was seized by the military, held in secret, and tortured. He survived and went on to find meaning in his ordeal as he channeled his desire for revenge into nonviolent activism both in his homeland and during decades of exile in the United States.

While challenging the State-sponsored causes of much suffering in the world, Hector reached out to some of society's most marginalized-at-risk and incarcerated youth, immigrants, and many others-using his theatrical skills and psychotherapeutic training to help people shape their own stories and identities. He sought to understand his own identity as well as that of one brother who was a revolutionary and another who was gay; and how his belief in personal integrity and political freedom might square with the realities of a country under the yoke of toxic ideologies. Hector was finally forced to examine his own motivations and commitments, and begin to heal his own gaping wounds.

Shockingly honest, heartbreaking, and vibrantly told, The Blessing Next to the Wound is a passionate and evocative memoir that, amid enormous suffering and loss, is a full-throated affirmation of life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590561713
  • Publisher: Lantern Books NY
  • Publication date: 6/28/2010
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Chapter 1 Origins 17

Chapter 2 The Womb as Tomb 29

Chapter 3 Hidden in Plain Sight 53

Chapter 4 Life from Barren Rock 81

Chapter 5 Resurrection 101

Chapter 6 Torn up by the Roots 121

Chapter 7 In the Mouth of the Wolf 137

Chapter 8 The Latin American Dream 153

Chapter 9 The Terrorist Within 175

Chapter 10 May 2006: The Wind Comes and Takes Away 201

Chapter 11 Crossing Psychic Frontiers 225

Chapter 12 The Wounded Healer 241

Afterword 259

Acknowledgments 269

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2010

    Compelling personal story with much food for thought

    You try to imagine yourself in Hector Aristizabal's shoes and it's amazing he came out safely on the other end of such horrific experiences. I had to keep putting the book down, not because it was so upsetting, but because the authors give you so much to think about and talk about, you need to stop and reflect and share.

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