Saturday, May 9, 2009

falsos positivos

falsos positivos: false positives/ extrajudicial killing

Extrajudicial Killing In Colombia from Witness For Peace on Vimeo.

The above is great solidarity video work and incredibly brave and powerful testimony and video footage by Martha, the daughter of José, a campesino who was killed by the Colombian army, who then concocted a scenario to present him as a guerilla - ie, a "false positive" - a hideous euphemism if ever there was one. But because the term is widely used though to describe this scandal I would use the term, and then add the more descriptive extrajudicial execution to it.

The trial against a soldier indicted in this case began ten days ago. I am horrified and outraged to report that Martha's uncle--a key witness in the case--was shot in the head on Sunday in an apparent attempt to disrupt the trial and scare the other witnesses, including Martha. He is in intensive care awaiting neurosurgery.

MARTHA IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER. She and her family need your support. They simply ask for protection and justice in the cases of Martha's father and uncle. Please take one minute to send a letter to U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield, asking him to stand up for justice in this case.

You can also send Martha and her family a message of support, in English or Spanish. They are incredibly brave and these letters mean a lot to them.


Anonymous said...

hey sarah,
i have been playing around with the term "false combat kill" since the "positivo" is referring to combat kills...
what do you think
- david

Sara Koopman said...

I like it!
though I only wish they were fake killings, which it vaguely sounds like - though in context it would probably make sense. I still think it's worth keeping the false positives the first time through, just since the media is widely keeping it in English.

Anonymous said...

yeah that kind of goes back to something i think you wrote about before... (paraphrasing) about people translating the words and not the socio-political context. sure positivo is positive and falso in false but together it doesn´t really mean anything in english what it does in colombia (ie premeditated state terrorism)... which is kind of the whole sick point of the "falso positivo" phrase, it being just another classic uribe sugar-coated neologismo anyway...

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