Testimonial narratives : Moroccan prison writing in the context of national reconciliation
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This thesis examines prison writing published in Morocco after 1999, the year that has come to mark the end of the "years of lead" and the beginning of national reconciliation. The prison memoirs participate in a broader project to revise the nation's collective memory to include human rights abuses at the hands of the state. However, many prison memoirs published during this period take issue with the state's version of reconciliation, challenging its very foundations, such as impunity enjoyed by perpetrators and continued occurrence of arbitrary imprisonment and disappearance. The thesis reviews the work of the Moroccan reconciliation commission, L'Instance Équité et Réconciliation [The Commission for Equity and Reconciliation] whose mandate extended from January, 2004 - November, 2005, and the political developments leading up to its establishment. The following sections of the thesis deal with two groups of prison memoirs: Writings by former Marxist political prisoners who were imprisoned in the 1960s and 1970s for their participation in underground Marxist organizations and writings by former inmates of Tazmamart, a secret military prison that held soldiers and officers implicated in the 1971 and 1972 coups against the monarchy. Both Marxist and Tazmamart memoirs grapple with one of the central questions of reconciliation - how to demarcate Morocco's modern history - questioning the delineation that would situate human rights abuses as occurring only in the past. Furthermore, the clear status as victims of state repression lends and authoritative voice to the authors of prison memoirs during a time of reconciliation.