Bacic, Roberta

Bacic, Roberta

Roberta Bacic

13 August 2011Feature

With an emphasis on resistance, culture and identity, and with help from a group of Chilean and Argentinian survivors, War Resisters' staff member Roberta Bacic delivers insights into the struggle against impunity.

Jaime Huenun, an indigenous Chilean poet, has quoted from an old wise Mapuche called Manuel Rauque, "When we recover our past, the earth will open its secrets."

Let me briefly introduce you to our recent Chilean history, and then let some of the protagonists tell us their stories from their own perspective, to help us make sense of what happened and to build our own image of what resistance has meant for us and how it has shaped our culture and identity.

On 11 September 1973…

13 August 2011Feature

Spanish activist collective, Murcia Canción de Autor, produce "homage" CDs to well-known political artists and engage in public performances. Roberta Bacic talked with Jesús Cutillas.

Roberta: Tell us a bit about your group, what you do and why you do it

Jesus: Our association, “Murcia Canción de Autor” (Murcia Songwriters)wants to give each person who wants to sing in public a chance to do so. We share our songs and ideas about the world and music in general and, in particular, “cancio'n de autor”. Participating in the homage to Victor Jara CD has been a collaboration with the Itaca co-op, with which we have been doing similar “homages”. This year we decided to…

1 March 2006News

On Sunday 12 February, peace activists with the Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training and Education Network (INNATE) lobbied a British Army recruitment fair at the Kinnegar base, in Co Down, N Ireland.

Flyers were distributed to potential new recruits and others attending the event, outlining both the negative consequences of army enlisting and the alternatives available to potential recruits. They also promoted the confidential advice service At Ease for those who do join…

1 October 2005Feature

Since the end of July, Northern Irish politics and communities have experienced change,upheavals and violence: from the IRA's declaration of an end to armed struggle, to September's extended rioting across Loyalist communities, and the use by the police of water cannon and live rounds against citizens. Peace News invited members of the Northern Irish peace movement to tell us what they are thinking.

After my time as a staff member of War Resisters' International, I moved to Northern Ireland. This is now my home and life which, for me, includes being Chilean and confronting what was going on in Chile for over 25 years, either from within Chile itself or from wherever life has taken me.

Life in peaceful Benone allows me to look at what is going on here and in other places, with both serenity and urgency at the same time. One cannot merely be a spectator, we are also part of what is…

1 September 2003News

An itinerant exhibition of 27 photographs has been put together in an effort to share the process of dealing with the past alongside the relatives of the disappeared and those executed for political reasons in Chile.

The photos are from my personal archive. Some have been taken by me and some by Clem McCartney, Kenneth Jensen, Jose' Araya and others. On 11 September 2003 it will be exactly 30 years since Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of Doctor Salvador…

1 March 2003Review

Ocean Press, 2003; ISBN 1 876175 50 8, 80pp, £5.95

The value of this book, published through a radical history series, lies in the collection of essays, speeches, photographs and well known quotes of some of the protagonists and victims in Salvador Allende's socialist government which was overthrown by Pinochet's brutal dictatorship (as sponsored by the CIA). It also includes opinions and comments by well-known people who have expressed solidarity with the struggle against impunity.

As a Chilean who feels close to this history, it…

1 March 2003Review

Granta 2001; ISBN 1 86207 446 1; 228pp, £25

This is a very special book. Its main strength lies in the fact that Jillian Edelstein - a professional, South African-born and well known photographer - was there when the Commission did its job. Not only in the geographical places in which it took place, but she also took pictures of the principal actors of this incredible and impressive experience, something which showed the world that apartheid was something that could no longer exist.

Jillian combines her powerful images and…

3 June 2002Comment

Being Chilean, I was prevented from visiting Cuba between 1973 and 1990: had I travelled there I would not have been allowed to re-enter Chile, as I would have been labelled a Marxist. At the very least it would have caused me more troubles than the ones I was already experiencing with the dictatorship for being part of the human rights movement: in 1982, I was sacked from my academic work at a Chilean university for political reasons.

Getting a visa to enter Cuba was not possible…

1 June 2002Review

Pluto Press 2002. ISBN 0 7453 1835 5, 264pp, 15.99

Diana Francis' book appears at a time when it seems almost impossible to stop the war-machine. In the face of this reality, her book gives us some hope that people determined to achieve lasting peace can make a difference.

It is fascinating and instructive to see how she handles both uncertainties and certainties and how she extends the scope of conflict transformation by introducing nonviolence not only as a means but also as a philosophy and a way of life.


3 December 2001Comment

The staff of War Resisters' International provide their analysis of where we go from here.

While we are writing this, Britain - where we WRI workers live - and the US are dropping bombs on Afghanistan: it is the first weeks of the “war on terrorism”.

At the same time on Oxford Street - a couple of kilometres from the WRI office - mainstream Britain goes shopping; life goes on as normally as possible, although protective clothing and gas masks are sold-out, in response to fears of anthrax attacks. Who cares about the bombs dropped thousands of kilometres away in order to…

1 December 2001Feature

When we think about prison we usually imagine the loss of physical liberty - of a life behind bars. But what about our minds? Roberta Bacic discusses the practical and political impact the practice of torture has on people in detention and within the wider community.

I have been invited to write about torture for this issue on prisons and really, much or nothing could be said, the topic simply does not allow for neutrality or impartiality.

It has not been easy to find a way of approaching the subject in such a way that allows us to enter - even superficially - into the paradoxes, the emotions, dilemmas and the rationality provoked by this human manifestation: something which is painful, hard, and even tortuous to communicate. So why examine this…

1 September 2001Review

Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001. ISBN 1 55587 960 8 (paper) and ISBN 1 55587 986 1. 207 pp

The twentieth century has ended up with a dark account of violence and of wars all over the world. After the horrors of World War II it seemed that the situation had to change, that it was not possible to continue with the way things were going. Looking back, clearly it was able go on.

Quite a long time ago we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the International Human Rights Declaration. Amnesty International's report for 2001 says that - according to the information they have been…