Articles by: Kirsty Sangster

Author Biography: No biography available

Informit: Lonely witness

I sit on a bar stool in an Oxford pub and listen to my friend Neil describe in great detail the things that he has, only a few days ago, witnessed in Bosnia, in the main streets, the tiny lanes of an impossibly small village. Around each corner and on many rooftops there are snipers. Those who were once neighbours take pot shots at closed doors. Young boys who grew up together, went to the…

Informit: Marauders

Rain and dark fall over grey board walk across green reeds into a tidal lake stained rich...

Informit: Forest children…

Deep down in the middle of dusk and forest near the overflowing creek...

Informit: The evil beneath the carapace

I have in my mind's eye an idea of what Syria may have been. I know it is an imagined place; it is a place of great beauty, solace even - of Coptic churches, Aramaic called out in market places, Muslim princes with copper bracelets around their wrists striding through a landscape of dry moun tains and rivers. An ancient place, filled with scholars like the ones I once worked for, their dignity and bearing…

Informit: Dissident

The city is occupied, I am pushed into a concrete cell blanket thrown over my head, bucket after bucket of water...

Informit: Death and the child

A long time ago, I worked in a refugee camp on the banks of a wide river surrounded by thick rainforest. On the other side of the river was the army that the refugees had fled from - unseen but a lurking and ever-present threat. Occasionally, a grenade would be lazily thrown, its flight path clearly aimed not towards the camp but into the river. It was a symbolic gesture, intended as a reminder to…

Informit: Middle East conference

In the Louvre, statues of the Mesopotamian kings...

Story-telling: Justice and recognition in the narratives of those who have suffered, by Kirsty Sangster

The justice process is tied to telling stories and to telling the truth. All around the world, victims of human-rights abuse are judged on their stories.

Informit: Looking the beast in the eye [How truth commissions come to terms with pain.]

Informit: Through a glass darkly: relief workers in the Hong Kong camps.

Informit: Truth and reconciliation commissions

Powerful edifices built on hope. More than a decade ago, and I am in Berlin on my winter break from university when I read the testimony of Lucas Sikwepere at the truth-commission hearings in South Africa. I imagine a large and airless courtroom in Johannesburg. The court is crowded with people. Long, thin lines of tables and chairs run across the room. Lucas sits at one of the tables. A frail man, a black man,…

Informit: Story-telling

Late autumn. I visit the judge. He has spent years sitting on a tribunal listening to refugees' stories of flight and persecution. He has to assess their stories - true or false - fact or fiction or faction? Are they 'real' refugees or fakes? Will we let them in? Or close the door slam! bang! in their faces. He is one of the gatekeepers, and the gate is often closed.