Hoy en Argentina, tenemos un presidente nuevo! Un presidente electo por la gente! It’s Raúl Alfonsín, from the the Radical Civic Union Party. Elections were in late October. Marcello and I were full of nerves and excitement when we went to vote. We both voted for Alfonsín, and I can only pray that he follows through on his campaign promises to revoke the self-amnesty law passed by military leaders, and to investigate their actions during the past seven years. Whoa… seven whole years. Marcello and I went to a rally for Alfonsín with several hundred thousand people, and you could just feel the energy and hope.
Speaking of which, mamá and I have begun marching with las Madres de Plaza de Mayo! We’ve only been marching with them for about a month now. It was mamá who got us started. She was inspired to join them after voting in October–I think she finally felt brave enough to join the fight for justice after going to vote and seeing that so many people were optimistic about a fair election and the justice that a new president would bring. She made me come with her, because she was worried she wouldn’t fit in. Las Madres are mostly middle and upper class women. They’re always well-dressed, wearing fur coats and fancy glasses. I’ve seen them marching before on Thursdays afternoons, walking silently around the plaza, in pairs, wearing their white kerchiefs, carrying pictures and signs. But I never had the emotional strength to get involved. I’d see those women, so many of them, and I would think of all the Ezequiels that were taken from families. My grief times a hundred. But something changed for mamá after voting, and she had the sudden urge to go march with las Madres. I’m so glad she made me come with her. It was such a powerful experience that first time, and continues to be. Mamá was so nervous as we walked to the Plaza, as was I. When we arrived, we joined the crowd, and I was overcome with an intense feeling of empowerment. I immediately started crying, and mamá took my hand. We’ve gone back each week since then, me and my mother together. There is such a strong sense of community with las Madres, pero me duele el corazón oír estas mujeres hablando sobre sus hijos como si fueran vivos. Even my mother talks with other women about Eze in the present tense. But it’s been over five years since he’s disappeared. I don’t know how to believe that he’s alive anymore.
There is so much excitement right now about our new president. But at the same time, a heaviness is sinking in. Argentina is moving out of this terrible time of darkness and fear, yet the desaparecidos have not reappeared. They’re not moving on with us. And unlike my mother, I just can’t use the present tense when I talk about my beloved brother.