Cover image for The blindfold's eyes : my journey from torture to truth
The blindfold's eyes : my journey from torture to truth
Ortiz, Dianna.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Maryknoll, N.Y. : Orbis Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 484 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX4705.O7183 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BX4705.O7183 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A story of faith, this is the searing memoir of an American nun, her torture in Guatemala, her crusade to reveal the truth, and her struggle to heal. Illustrations.

Author Notes

Sister Dianna Ortiz, an Ursuline nun, is a human rights activist and advocate for the victims of torture. She is Director of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) in Washington, D.C. Among many honors, she has received the Pax Christi National Peacemaker Award and the Annual Human Rights Award of the Office of the Americas. In 2001 she was awarded an Ashoka Fellowship (Ashoka Innovators for the Public)
Patricia Davis is a writer and human rights activist who has worked as a communications director at the Guatemala Human Rights Commission. A graduate of Carleton College and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at American University, she has published articles and poetry in national magazines

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In the 1980s Sister Dianna Ortiz went to Guatemala to help citizens victimized by one of the world's most oppressive regimes. As a result, she nearly became one of the disperdicios, or the disappeared, called that because they literally disappeared into the night to be raped, tortured, and murdered, never to be seen alive again by their families. Sister Dianna was one of the more fortunate victims of this regime in that her ordeal was relatively brief--and she survived. He book focuses on the long-term effects of her ordeal more than the gory details of what she suffered. But it is about more than just the torture of Sister Dianna or the other disperdicios. It also puts their suffering in context by examining what allowed these things to happen. Sister Dianna's story will interest anyone wishing to understand how rape and torture break down the human spirit, and how it is possible to survive such assaults. Students of political science will also find this book intriguing. --June Pulliam

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Part I
1. The Darkp. 3
2. Coming Homep. 9
3. The Americanp. 14
4. The Rules of the Gamep. 37
5. Our Lady of Peacep. 51
6. The Second Abductionp. 65
7. The Second Womanp. 86
8. Breaking Outp. 102
Part II
9. Su Casap. 119
10. Back to the Gardenp. 145
11. The Embassy's Crossp. 164
12. Into the Otherworldp. 193
13. A Leave of Absencep. 217
14. Everardop. 244
15. Starving Next to the Palacep. 270
16. Torn Secrets, Torn Skinp. 296
Part III
17. Fire and Silencep. 331
18. The Vigilp. 353
19. Whitewashp. 383
20. The Inner Viewp. 400
21. Walking Out through the Third Doorp. 427
22. The Length of the Lightp. 446
Epiloguep. 474
Notesp. 479