These reappearing celebrity bodies—with their macabre, cloak-and-dagger tales—make for easy headlines. However, by crowding the spotlight, they obscure the fact that the conflicts they lived through also affected millions of ordinary people. News outlets proclaim the dramatist Federico García Lorca’s gravesite, which a 2009 exhumation effort failed to locate, Spain’s “greatest Civil War mystery”—even as the remains of many of his Republican countrymen are located, exhumed, and identified all around his elusive resting place. Around the globe, in fact, forensic science is being used in major projects to locate and identify these “ordinary” victims. The same unit of the Chilean state’s forensic service in charge of the Neruda autopsy also has rows of shelves full of boxes that contain the remains of Chileans who were “disappeared” during Pinochet’s political purges. Their stories are less thriller-ready than the rumors about Neruda, Goulart, Arafat, or Salvador Allende (whose autopsy a few years ago revealed he shot himself inside the presidential palace of La Modena, though for years it was believed he had been murdered). But what ordinary people actually suffered in a place such as Chile is worse than any poison injection: torture, rape, and murder for crimes that were sometimes as simple as belonging to a labor union” (read more).
(Source: Boston Review)