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The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation

Aristizabal, Hector

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ISBN 10: 1590561716 / ISBN 13: 9781590561713
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of ...

Publication Date: 2010

Binding: PAP

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

Hector Aristizábal grew up in the barrios of Medellin, Colombia, where he and his siblings had to use all their wit, wiles, and wherewithal to survive poverty, the ever-present allure of cheap drugs and very dangerous money, and the endemic violence from leftwing guerrillas, rightwing death squads, cocaine cartels, and the armed power of the State. As a young actor and psychology student, Hector was seized by the military, held in secret, and tortured. He survived and went on to find meaning in his ordeal as he channeled his desire for revenge into nonviolent activism both in his homeland and during decades of exile in the United States.

While challenging the State-sponsored causes of much suffering in the world, Hector reached out to some of society’s most marginalized―at-risk and incarcerated youth, immigrants, and many others―using his theatrical skills and psychotherapeutic training to help people shape their own stories and identities. He sought to understand his own identity as well as that of one brother who was a revolutionary and another who was gay―and how his belief in personal integrity and political freedom might square with the realities of a country under the yoke of toxic ideologies. Hector was forced finally to examine his own motivations and commitments, and begin to heal his own gaping wounds.

Shockingly honest, heartbreaking, and vibrantly told, The Blessing Next to the Wound is a passionate and evocative memoir that, amid enormous suffering and loss, is a full-throated affirmation of life.

About the Author:

Hector Aristizábal was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia when it was the most dangerous city in the world. One of his brothers was seduced by the power of crack cocaine and another by the promises of revolutionary armed struggle. Hector's path was different. He worked his way out of poverty to become a theatre artist and pioneering psychologist with a Masters degree from Antioquia University, then survived civil war, arrest, and torture at the hands of the US-supported military. In 1989, violence and death threats forced him to leave his homeland. Since arriving in the US, he has won acclaim and awards as an artist and also received a second Masters degree, in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Oaks College, leading him to combine his training in psychology and the arts with lessons gained from life experience in his therapeutic work. As an activist, he uses theatrical performance as part of the movement to end torture and to change US policy in Latin America. His nonprofit organization, ImaginAction, taps the power of creativity in social justice programs throughout the US and around the world as far afield as Afghanistan, India, and Palestine for community building and reconciliation, strategizing, and individual healing and liberation.

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