11 October 2006

From under the rug

You can't simply sweep the past under the rug; it will eventually crawl back to you. Argentina is just experiencing an apparent return of dark individuals and groups that (we were told) were mostly gone. The National Reorganization Process ended 23 years ago, but like a hydra, multiple heads have sprung from its source. We need to understand (again, we're forced to understand) that the dictatorship was not simply a few power-hungry murderous military men -- it was a doctrine of national security, it was the trigger-happy police in paradise, it was the moralistic Catholic Church taking advantage of someone else to abolish progressive thought, it was ignorant self-absorbed Argentinians enjoying the vast propaganda machine that was the 1978 Football World Cup, it was the Argentine corporations enjoying the repression of labour unions, it was politicians selling their souls and their parties' ideals for a position in power, it was anti-Semitic, fundamentalist, racist, ultra-nationalist, xenophobic, fearful, gullible Argentina riding a silent wave of blood. The dictatorship had a constituency.

The dictators are in prison. Many of their most notorious subordinates are in prison, or on their way to prison, or at the very least discredited. It's the little ones that are coming back -- in fact they were always among us. It's possible that a conspiracy is on the works, but it would be wild speculation to assume that, and it's not needed: the abusers of power, the torturers, don't need to be guided to do their thing.

A few days ago, the daughter of a former illegal detainee was threatened in the street with regards to her supposed political affiliation. Her brother-in-law was wounded. She received an email, warning her that she would not be spared "like your parents were", and noting they also had her brother-in-law "listed".

Two young people, brother and sister, activists, were threatened by the police using guns while gathering with other 200 people in a community center. They left to file an accusation, but on their way they were intercepted, taken to a police station, and beaten. They were called subversives, terrorists. They were warned that they could "disappear" like Jorge Julio López, the witness in the Etchecolatz trial (who's still missing).

Threats, mostly letters, have been received by judges, prosecutors, and activists. It's not unusual for most of them, but it's become more common and it's obvious that they're related to what's happening.

The trash has crawled back from under the rug and is reclaiming its space.

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