Belén – September 15, 1986

September 15, 1986:

It is hard to believe that we have lived 13 years under Pinochet. My poor sons can barely remember a better time in Chile. Perhaps that it why they have both become more active recently, as protests against the Junta have increased. Lucas is 16 and still lives at home, so Alfio and I prevent him from going to actions we think will be more dangerous, but I can’t help but feel that he is hiding some of his activities from us. In truth, I find it harder and harder to prevent him from going to these things, as I myself am so unbelievably frustrated and angry at all that has occurred that I am myself tempted to take to the streets and scream and march out my anger. Luciano is now at his 2nd year in university in Santiago, I can’t believe how old he is! He doesn’t tell me everything, but I know that he too has been involved in protesting the Junta, which is probably an influence on Lucas. About 2 months ago, Lucas went to visit Luciano in Santiago. We got a phone call one evening from them, they told us there had been a lot of violence at a protest they attended in a working class neighborhood in Santiago, and they wanted to tell me they were alright before I heard about it from some other source. They told me that the military had set 2 young people on fire! Usually the military is more covert about their suppression and killing, I was surprised to hear of such an open attack, but not surprised that it occurred. Apparently they also arrested about 500 people at the same march, but luckily my sons were not. I think it helps that they are obviously not working class people. The military tends to target the lower classes more. This makes me very sad and angry, but at the same time relieved. I am proud of my sons for standing up for what they believe in, but I am obviously glad of anything that can protect them, even if I think it is wrong. This has been a constant internal struggle for me recently. I have come to a point where I can no longer ignore politics, but at the same time, I cannot ignore the fear that comes along with the anger. How can I care so much for the future of my children and my students and not stand up to try to make Chile a better place? At the same time, how can I care so much for the future of my children and my students and not do anything I can from preventing them from being harmed, by not allowing them to go to these protests, and not involving myself in politics? I do not know how to reconcile the necessity of immediate safety and the desire for a better future.


1 thought on “Belén – September 15, 1986

  1. ssvolk says:

    It seems like an eternity since Pin8 came to power. It must be very disconcerting to have children whose only experience of Chile is the dictatorship; particularly as we pride ourselves on being democratic. What will they make of this time? Will it become normalized?

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