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Scarf of Hope to remember Peru's missing


This story is lifted wholesale from the BBC.



There is something warmly familiar and comforting about the quiet chatter of women and the clickety-clack of knitting needles.

Standing or sitting huddled together in small groups, the knitters dressed in traditional Andean hats, big "pollera" skirts and draped with a "manta" or shawl, form a multi-coloured feast for the eyes.

But they have more in common than crochet. These women are some of thousands in Peru who lost husbands, brothers and sons in the country's bitter internal conflict between the Mao-inspired rebels of the Shining Path rebels and state forces in the 1980s and 90s.

Each one is knitting a message or epitaph to their loved one the size of an A4 sheet of page which will form part of an enormous scarf which, it is hoped, will reach a kilometre in length.

It is being called the Scarf of Hope and it aims to be more than just a symbol of Peru's estimated 15,000 "disappeared" but a physical reminder that in the majority of cases their relatives live on without ever knowing how they died nor where to find their remains.

"It's like a piece of memory," says Marina Garcia Burgos, a Lima-based photographer who was inspired to initiate the project with two colleagues while working in Ayacucho.

"Each woman chooses the colour and the knit of her panel. As well as embroidering the loved one's name, some also sew on a piece of their clothing or a photograph."

But its significance goes beyond that. In the remoter corners of the Andes, textiles have been the clues used to identify exhumed human remains where ID documents are a rarity.

For the women fortunate enough to have positively identified and laid to rest the body of an exhumed loved one, in so many cases it was by recognising the colour and feeling the knit or weave of the fabric wrapped around the remains.

More often than not - as was the case in Peru's biggest mass grave exhumation and human remains restitution in Putis, Ayacucho - they themselves remember knitting the jumper or turning up the trousers worn by the victim.

Read more on the BBC site.

Picture of Scarf of Hope to remember Peru's missing
Kryptonite6 years ago
That's amazing that they're doing something that they can make themselves, to produce something great.
The result of their cooperation exceeds the sum of their individual efforts.
Resulting in an occumulation of greatness.
Kiteman (author) 6 years ago
I posted this really because I thought it was important for people to be aware of it. It really stings though that I can't think of any for people outside of Peru to help.

Unless you are a forensic scientist with a few spare years on your hands?