La Copa Mundial

25 June 1978

My Dear Diary,

I don’t really know what to feel right now. The World Cup just ended, Argentina won. I know that I should be celebrating. I should have jumped and cheered with Victor, and I meant to call Stanza to see where she watched the game, but I simply don’t have the energy. Ale shares my somberness. Sometimes I wish he could just be the happy one, the positive one who could be strong enough for the both of us. We must do it for Victor. I do not want to rob him of his youth by painting him a world without joy, without smiling parents. My country is already stealing so much from him–his feeling of security, often his smile, his freedom to express himself however he wants. I sometimes even sensor what he reads. I do not want the local police to come combing through our house one day and find something they think is subversive. I want Victor to live to see Argentina in other and better days. Stanza too.

Seeing Victor jump and rejoice today gave me a little bit of hope. I felt warm and momentarily happy to see him smile at Argentina’s victory. Most days I feel so depleted that I cannot keep my spirits up for the duration of our conversations. Today I feel at least slightly renewed because my Victor was so happy. I feel glad that he can still find moments and occasions to celebrate, that the chaos we are in has not completely dimmed his view of Argentina and of humanity. I feel that it might have for me. I keep trying to hide this from Victor and Stanza, but some days I think it slips through. Those are the days that Ale does the soothing. He tells them I just had a long day at work, that it has nothing to do with them. We try to keep our home as untouched from all of the violence as possible, but with the TV that is really near impossible.

Stanza is old enough to be fully aware of what’s going on. I ask her every day whether she has joined an opposition group. Every day I beg her not to. I beg her to stay quiet and inconspicuous. She is a brilliant and passionate young woman and I sometimes have inklings that the boy she is seeing might have once been a Montonero. I know she isn’t allowed to talk about it, in fact she might not even know. All I want is for my Stanza to have a long and healthy life and I know that associating with someone who was once an active member in the opposition would put her in grave danger. She has always been a pragmatist and I know she feels frustrated by doing nothing. I try to tell her that fighting violence with violence is not the solution. And yet, even if she were to fight back non-violently, it is really the idealogues that Videla fears the most. Even if she just spoke or wrote out against the Proceso, she would be putting herself in danger. For now, I think I have been getting through to her. I try to call each day so that my voice never goes dull in my mind.

As I told you, I just don’t know how to feel. I want to celebrate with my family, but I cannot celebrate anything that this country is doing right now. To put aside the violence and the disappearances and the absolute dirtiness of the current happenings in order to celebrate a sports win seems impossible. It also seems silly and futile. What is this victory for our futbol team when our country is operating at such a loss. I know these thoughts are dark. I must pour them all out here so that I can at least try to keep on a happy face for Victor. I don’t share this much pessimism even with Ale. His job is so dangerous these days–if he even says or teaches one wrong thing I know I could never see him again. I don’t want to add to the heaviness he now permanently walks with.

I try to keep some things normal–family meals, calls to Stanza. I think we all need something constant to hold onto when we live in a state such that nothing is ever certain. My heart is heavy today. When will we have something to celebrate again, when will I be able to mean it. I hope soon, I really do.

I will write soon. Always with the hopes of better news.





1 thought on “La Copa Mundial

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hola, Alma. The years pass quickly, no? I couldn’t even watch the game, to think that Videla would be able to use our (dare I say “our” anymore?) victory to prove to the world that the country supports him. We are living a sadness. But, as I take the bus home from work, past the Plaza de Mayo, I have been noticing a group of women wearing white kerchiefs and walking around the plaza. When I asked my seat mate who they were, he just said they were some vieja locas, but they don’t look crazy. Anything like that happening in Córdoba?

    [It would be unlikely for anyone to be joining one of the left groups that far after the coup. They had been almost completely destroyed by the time of the coup and hardly in existence two years later.]

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