In many ways, we are approaching an era of peace. Public discourse does not have the fragile feeling that accompanies newly granted and poorly protected Liberties. It feels more like we have moved from privileges to rights. As the Democracy has healed, in some ways the tragedy has receded as well. I feel something like a public trust, suspicion no longer defines interactions, but I wonder if my confidence is due to the fact that I was never truly proximate to tragedy. This trust that I feel, every once in awhile, is revealed to be incredibly tenuous. When Adolfo Scilingo was put on trial, history returned violently and without warning. The illusion of peace was destroyed. I was sitting in my favorite cafe, drinking coffee and killing time before work, working on an assignment, chatting with the barista, the day was deafeningly normal. Then the owner rushed out and flipped the channel off of the soap opera and onto a clip of Scilingo describing the intricacies of the horror of the regime. How could they have done this to us? How could they still be doing this to us?
It seems that every time my nation is ready to move on something pulls us right back into the past. This was the case with the Scilingo trial. Scilingo’s testimony has reminded us about everything that we wanted to forget. He feels guilty about his murders so now he wants the whole nation to suffer. He wishes to point enough fingers so we will no longer look at him as a murderer. But with all his finger pointing he brings us back to a darker time. Some say that the country is not yet healed, but we are further from the past than I ever could have imagined. We have a thriving Democracy, a weakened military, a free society. The only thing that stops us from appreciating it is our long memories. Of course the past has never been as close behind for me as it has been for some. Some have suffered inescapable loss, but the memory of this loss belongs in memorials, perhaps it belongs in voting booths, but it does not belong in this constant media barrage. Now everyone is a victim.