April 19, 2005
Last week, I turned fifty. And today, Adolfo Scilingo, who ten years ago confirmed the horrors of the death flights by speaking out, was found guilty in Spain. Even though we’ve been living in the U.S. for many years now, I’ve followed the news in Argentina diligently. I just can’t seem to let go. Reading over many of my journal entries from the past forty (wow) years, I realized I often try to talk about too many things at once because too many things are in my head. I have set aside some time next week to sit down and really write and reflect, but for now I think I need to get my thoughts down about this Scilingo conviction and what it means. I wondered, two years ago when they finally repealed Due Obedience if anything would actually change. Yes, these people were all following the orders of their superiors, but it is clear from the guilt of people like Scilingo and Ibañez that they knew what they were doing was wrong. The people who tortured my Tata had superiors, I’m sure, but I know from his descriptions that they were particularly sadistic, and this must have come from within themselves.
I’ve felt a lot of conflicting emotions about Scilingo these past ten years. I can tell his guilt is real, and in all of the interviews and appearances he really did seem to be showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, which I now realize my Tata suffered from, too. His shaking hands looked just like my Tata’s. But he still pushed those people out of those planes. Rosa has tried to tell me through the years not to hold so much hatred in my heart and to be grateful that he spoke out, because it’s true that no one really believed the flights happened until he confirmed them. But the thought that he deserves the constant nightmares of falling out of a plane just doesn’t leave my mind. If you do something like that to other human beings, you should have to suffer the consequences. Seeing what the torture did to my Tata, I think Scilingo’s psychological consequences are and will be worse than any number of years he spends in prison. It sounds like under Spanish law, he’ll only really be imprisoned for 30 years anyway.
After all of these years, I just thought there would be more justice. With every year, we learn more and more information about what happened during that awful time, but what are we really doing to prevent it from happening again? I do have hope for Kirchner, though. It seems his first two years in office have been surprisingly successful, considering he won the presidency by default. I would have preferred anyone to Menem, though. Maybe with this strengthened economy and an improved Supreme Court, things will change. It seems they’ve started, but I’ve learned not to hope.