Uncertain Celebration

December 10, 1983

The day has finally arrived. We have finally gotten a real president. Raul Alfonsin has been sworn in. It’s a miracle that the military honored the vote, and didn’t simply bulldoze Alfonsin out of the picture and continue to assume power. But, they knew how badly Argentina needs the change.

While I am happy that new beginnings are in store for Argentine, I cannot say the same for myself. I am still alone, I have no answers, I have no family. I truly have nobody to turn to for help. I’m almost 50 years old and childless. I am the same age as some of the Madres, but I am no mother myself. I have lost my mother. What group can I join? Who would even believe me, outside of my mothers former patrons, the other women who used to dance years ago. They know she’s gone, but who else would believe that a 60-year-old woman was disappeared and killed, yet I am still here? I am not only of the Madres or the Abuelas, but my pain is still real. My missing is still gone forever. I will never know what happened to my poor mother.

I still work at Colegio Nacional, and the principal still censors the books I can choose from to teach, out of fear. The students are used to it. It’s striking how the students now are so different than the ones I started with, in my earlier years. Just 15 years ago, I truly worried for my students. They would go missing, they were involved. They would ask me questions that would just about bring me to tears. But now, students are much different. They don’t ask me questions. Their parents are my age, and the children were raised to not ask questions. They’ve grown up in the system, not knowing any other Argentina. While they know that Argentina is experiencing great change with the election, they do not feel as though the nation is returning to anything, the way us adults yearn for the old Argentina. This is simply just change for them.

What a strange thought it is- to only know this ugly, violent, painful Argentina. They don’t ask questions. This is their normal. They don’t truly understand why it is that we adults always look tense and uncomfortable or exhausted and defeated. My heart breaks thinking of how they were robbed of their childhoods- being raised by parents who taught them to walk on eggshells.

Every move we make is done cautiously, waiting for a green light of sorts. It doesn’t matter that we’ve been able to have an election. It is difficult to celebrate.¬†All of that can change just as quickly as it began in the first place. We all stay on our toes, quietly walking around, until we know it is truly safe.

1 thought on “Uncertain Celebration

  1. ssvolk says:

    Perhaps they will become other kinds of students, under your patience and care. Rebuilding is the work of all of us now.

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