My dear son

[a version of this post was initially written in Spanish and was accidentally erased.]

April 19th, 2005

My dear son David,

Twenty-two years ago I told you in my first letter to you that one day I would reveal all the puzzle pieces of your mother’s and my story. The leftist newspaper she worked for had been tracking her whereabouts up until the junta’s fall from power, when the Nunca Más commission (CONADEP) took over. By that time, her torture center in Rosario had been burned to the ground in order to erase all evidence of the torture, evil neglect of the human spirit and rupture of corporal or emotional empathy, that had taken place there. In light of Adolfo Scilingo’s sentencing today for crimes against humanity for 640 years in prison, I’d like you to know that your mother was likely one of the victims thrown into the Rio de la Plata.

Given that you are out of the country, I found the opportunity to write this information in a letter far easier than revealing it directly. I held out hope that she was still alive until in 1986 it was revealed that there was a flight, which held several victims from your mother’s torture center in Rosario. The list of individuals was destroyed, but they were able to find testimony from one of the survivors. I have never stopped believing in my core that your mother may still be alive, or at least her bones retrievable, but in all likelihood she lost final consciousness in the waters of the ocean.

Now that you have flown away from this side of the Atlantic and are testing new waters of creative writing—and living—in Europe after finally completing your law degree, I expect you will be reflecting quite often on the broken society from which you wisely departed. It is only fitting that you should be a man of letters, that you have the capacity to wade through the limitless quantity of fallible declarations, promises, and laws that have been rewritten and broken continuously in the name of our restless nation. Your mother was the same way; as a journalist she so shrewdly could mentally situate herself in the seats of the many players in the conflict that blew so flagrantly out of imaginable proportion. She simply knew exactly where her own moral compass lay at all times, and was willing to take risks in order to enter surreptitiously into the very realm of thinkers and planners who wished for the mass destruction of any empathic, critical and selfless people like her. Or anyone who seemed like they might agree with people like her.

The weary souls made invisible by the privileged few have suffered the perennial abuse inflicted upon our continent—its living beings and inanimate resources having been the target of foreign conquest and extraction since it was plagued by invasion just centuries ago. Your patience astounds me, that you have spent years dissecting written visions of how to govern an arbitrarily siphoned geographical region inhabited by a great diversity of human beings. Too often, men couched in their own corrupt greed have mythicized and assumed dominance over countless countries with similar histories to our own. I empower you to continue seeking a future path that leads our society away from oppressive manifestations of human nature.

I hope that you never feel, on a daily basis, the fear, disbelief, revenge, incredulity, helplessness, paralysis, and trauma that have continued to define the Argentine consciousness in the aftermath of that dark period. I hope that your visions for the future never turn cynical, but as a deeply analytical person you will come to unearth the fragments of our hidden consciousness. May we proceed ever closer toward a society more transparent, just, honest, and firmly couched in undying awareness of the universality of the human struggle to enjoy the beauty of life, work with dignity, create passionately, love and be loved freely, without suffering the infliction of violent persecution.

May you be directed by those who have seen the potential in improving of the lives of the great suffering masses, through sustained restraint of the recklessly powerful and over-privileged. Yet your journey through the world will allow you to confront the ambiguity of all human existence, to realize that these questions of moral governance plague every nation, on a variety of levels both visible and horrifying, or invisible and as yet unearthed. This world is interconnected, and I am afraid you’ll find traces of Argentina—both the sources of its problems and reincarnations of its histories—wherever you go.

Cuídate.

Besos,

Miguel, tu padre.

1 thought on “My dear son

  1. ssvolk says:

    I can’t help but wonder why it was that Scilingo was only tried in Spain, and not here in this country? And why he is the only one of the guilty who was willing to talk, and, indeed, to take the punishment he so rightly deserved. Maybe we’ll never know, but it leaves us with so many unanswered questions.

    [I’m somewhat confused between the last post and list since it seems as if you have located your son, since you now know he has left Argentina, but it’s not clear how you found him.]

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