The Blindfold's Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth

Overview

The searing memoir of an American nun, her torture in Guatemala, her campaign to reveal the truth, and her struggle to heal.

In 1989, while working as a missionary in Guatemala, Sister Dianna Ortiz, an American Ursuline, was abducted by security forces and brutally tortured. Her case attracted international attention -- not because it was so unusual, but because she escaped to reveal the details, and because of the explosive charge that the man who intervened with her captors, a...

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The Blindfold's Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth

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Overview

The searing memoir of an American nun, her torture in Guatemala, her campaign to reveal the truth, and her struggle to heal.

In 1989, while working as a missionary in Guatemala, Sister Dianna Ortiz, an American Ursuline, was abducted by security forces and brutally tortured. Her case attracted international attention -- not because it was so unusual, but because she escaped to reveal the details, and because of the explosive charge that the man who intervened with her captors, a mysterious "Alejandro," may have had connections with the U.S. Embassy.

In this haunting memoir, Ortiz offers an unforgettable portrait of the psychological and spiritual impact of torture. Her efforts to publicize her case and to uncover the truth in the face of official stonewalling, lies, and slander, is a portrait of courage and stubborn hope. But it is also a story of faith, friendship, and the quest to prove that at the core of the human spirit there is a force stronger than violence and fear.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1989, Sister Dianna Ortiz, an American-born nun, was abducted from the compound where she worked in Guatemala. Twenty-four hours later, she escaped, but within that brief period, her body had been burned with cigarettes, she'd been raped, beaten and forced to torture a woman who was already near death. As a consequence of her devastation, Ortiz lost every memory she had of her life before the kidnapping, and spent years battling both real and remembered demons in a struggle to heal herself and to spread the word about U.S. complicity in Guatemala's repressive political system and in the torture and murder of thousands of innocent Guatemalans. This is an important book for two reasons: its illustration of the fallout of torture and the special needs of survivors, and Ortiz's well-documented narrative of the U.S. government's refusal to take seriously what happened to her, particularly as she identified one of her torturers as an American. It's unfortunate that Ortiz didn't have a better editor. This is a powerful story and Ortiz (aided by Davis, communications director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission) is a strong writer, but the avalanche of detail will confuse readers, and material such as the text of speeches and memos could have been included in an appendix. But Ortiz's determination to tell the truth in spite of ongoing threats and her own fear makes this book, despite its flaws, impossible to dismiss. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.) Forecast: With the publication of Daniel Wilkinson's Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal and Forgetting in Guatemala on Sept. 26, there may be occasion for the media to focus on that country's tragic recent history. A six-city tour by Ortiz and a $30,000 promotion budget should help. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570755637
  • Publisher: Orbis Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 414,703
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xi
Part I
1 The Dark 3
2 Coming Home 9
3 The American 14
4 The Rules of the Game 37
5 Our Lady of Peace 51
6 The Second Abduction 65
7 The Second Woman 86
8 Breaking Out 102
Part II
9 Su Casa 119
10 Back to the Garden 145
11 The Embassy's Cross 164
12 Into the Otherworld 193
13 A Leave of Absence 217
14 Everardo 244
15 Starving Next to the Palace 270
16 Torn Secrets, Torn Skin 296
Part III
17 Fire and Silence 331
18 The Vigil 353
19 Whitewash 383
20 The Inner View 400
21 Walking Out through the Third Door 427
22 The Length of the Light 446
Epilogue 474
Notes 479
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002

    Speak Truth to Power

    Sister Dianna Ortiz has given the world a real gift with the book. "The Blindfold's Eyes" is a compelling story of her personal and political journey from the time of her torture in Guatemala to her work running an organization dedicated to abolishing the practice of torture and to healing its victims. In that time she introduces us to many heroes of the struggle for justice, both here in the U.S. and especially among the indigenous of Guatemala. The courage that Sister Dianna shows in confronting those responsbile for her torture and those that would have them get away with it is inspiring. This is an amazing story. Sister Dianna shows remarkable strength in describing the unspeakable horrors that she survived in Guatemala. The indignities that she has suffered in the lies, denials and cover-ups since her ordeal ended are nearly as difficult to accept. The combination of her personal journey to wellness and her ability to use her experience as a catalyst for fundamental social change is an impressive accomplishment. It should be read as a spiritual memoir, as a survivor's statement, and as aguidebook to how our Government really works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2002

    Whose Blindfold, Whose Eyes

    This book about Dianna Ortiz and her struggle for healing and justice is a mosaic of one woman's courage and resilience against a crushing backdrop of shameful torture of thousands of innocents in Guatemala. Her torture was motivated, not only by the sadistic cruelty of a few monsters, but also, was part of a deliberately chosen pattern of social, and political repression by the governments of Guatemala, abetted by representatives of the United States Government. The genius of the book is the way the author allows the reader into her life, and the workings of her mind as she struggles to overcome the trauma of her ordeal. She gives us privileged information about herself and the effects of her torture on her family, friends, and her religious community. The testimony of a torture survivor and the recovery of her human dignity is a story worth reading for its own sake. Dianna Ortiz's book, The Eyes of the Blindfold, offers more. Her story transcends her personal experience and serves as a window into the historical dimension of our foreign policy in Guatemala. In the light of Sister Ortiz's story, decent Americans will come to question how much human incense, (literally), are we willing to burn at the altar of "National Security"? This book made me angry. It made me cry. It also left me with a lot of questions. In the end this book by Diana Ortiz and Patricia Davis gives me permission to hold on to a fragile hope for a world seemingly able to devise the most heinous methods to crush the spirit of the human person.

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