December 10, 2006

Pinochet is dead. I just read it in the morning paper. I don’t know how to feel. Right now I don’t really feel anything. I mostly just feel tired. It feels like the last thirty years have been one long day and we’re finally going to be able to close our eyes and get some sleep. Even though many people will never find closure due to Pinochet not being brought to justice his death brings some closure to me.  Like I said it makes me feel like I can sleep, like I can breath again.

He represented everything evil in this world.  He showed no remorse for his crimes, so what good would putting him in prison do? I don’t think it would have been much of a punishment for him.  I suppose it would bring some justice to those who had been wronged by him.  It all comes down to what you see as justice. Me I don’t know what I think, or what I want to happen. There is a part of me that wants someone to put him in a room and do everything to him that he inflicted on others.  Make him feel the cumulative pain of everyone he hurt. To me that sounds like justice.  Maybe if he apologized.  If he wrote a personal note to everyone he harmed, to every mother of every child he killed, and apologized.  To me that also sounds like justice.

There are more than two ways of looking at it. It’s not just either/or.  I think that justice would have been a combination of those two things and now that he’s gone forever there is not even a chance of those two things happening.  Perhaps this is the worst thing that could have happened.

Well, maybe the worst is still to come. This whole thought process has led me to think that maybe the worst thing is for Pinochet’s death to symbolize an end to an era to those who have the power to affect change and now he’s dead they won’t push for reparations legislation and generally look at the past as a closed book leaving those who were hurt during his regime with even less closure because the window for apologies and forgiveness is closing.

I have conflicting feelings about the last 30 years.  I was lucky enough to not be directly affected by the Pinochet regime.  I don’t know if I have any claim to the feelings of confusion and pain that I’ve had as a relative bystander. There are so many people who are more entitled to pain than me and who have been traumatized for so long. I don’t really know how to involve myself.  How to insert myself into their world and their story. Am I a poser for identifying with the tragic history of Chile as one who has never faced direct prosecution?  I don’t know.  I’ve never really understood my role in this story.  More recently I’ve been thinking retrospectively and trying to piece together how my story connects to Chile’s story.  For a long time I felt like they were two different stories only now I’m starting to see the similarities.

1 thought on “December 10, 2006

  1. ssvolk says:

    What a delicious irony. Pinochet leaves this mortal coil on December 10…International Human Rights day! I’m sure that the worms of hell will be having a good chuckle about that as they await his arrival there!

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