act of bearing witness

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In Erikson's universe, suggests Melville, the act of bearing witness can be more difficult and more powerful even than direct action.
Most survivor testimonies are neatly divided into three chapters: Before, During, and After, detailing the three worlds that the author lived in: the world of his/her youth, which now tends to be idealized as a rime of great tranquility and harmony; the world of the Shoah, ghettos, camps, death marches, culminating in liberation; and the post-Shoah world--the effort to recreate life, life reborn in lands of freedom, the building of families, the establishment of community and the final act of bearing witness, so evident in this memoir.
The testimonial invention of "one's own" representation of AIDS, like the positioning of the subject within the testimonial project, never precedes the act of bearing witness, but is a gesture inseparable from the shifts in the social perception of AIDS that testimony tries to generate.