After Videla

Did you know that I’ve read Hannah Arendt? I know, taking risks I shouldn’t take, I cannot take. She is the real thing though, a real woman, an intellectual. “Eichmann in Jerusalem, The Banality of Evil,” the title is just so fitting to me now, stuck in this beautiful city overrun by terror. Isn’t it the “West” who the procesa wants us to emulate? What about her, what about her politics surrounding this mechanized terror? She is Western isn’t she? German by blood, American by education, no? Ahh but not a roman catholic, okay, alright.

It’s August now, it’s not very warm. I’m seventeen and a half years old, but my God I feel 60. I’m telling you I have been through the WRINGER. A lot of my neighbors are gone, did you know that? The men mostly. We don’t even talk about it, that is the worst part. Cause, you know, if we sympathize, I risk my family, my own life, everything. Papa, Jose Papa, it is because of him and his job that we are still alive. Las Pampas has treated us well, the growing cattle stock after Peron left helped give me a good childhood, just as father wanted. Now, 30 years after my father came here, Buenos Aires is not the little Europe it once was. Ahh, but that is what Videla wants right?

In the meantime, my mother has moved her farm stand to Palermo. I don’t like visiting her there, even though I have to most days after school to help her pack up. People are extremely suspicious of me there, and I can’t quite figure out why? Maybe i’m attaching this ubiquitous fear only to the rich. Palermo has a lot of german and irish immigrants, all of whom look so much different than me, a dark haired, petite girl with olive skin. I resent my small frame, though it suits me well sometimes. Fathers Spanish side gifted me these things, but anything that physically sets me apart terrifies me.

School is so fucking boring. Videla’s junta has totally overridden any power of people outside the military, even those who were once revered like my wonderful history teacher Senor Baez. He was the one who told me about Hannah Arendt, almost a year ago. He showed me some published articles after class one day, took me aside and underlined the passages that were most important. It was if he knew that something was coming to destroy these trains of thought. I’m glad he shared them with me, he made me feel special, smart, even.

It has been almost four months since he was taken. An evident desaparecidos.

Now I’m stuck relearning passages from the bible, school is church, church is school, and GOD IS MY SAVIOR AMEN THANK YOU LORD! I keep these subversive thoughts to myself, and I only share them with you. Who knows where ears lie around Buenos Aires these days.  How can I not be bitter? Jaded at only seventeen, hard to not be when “no hope” is the only way to survive.

The only hope I have is the future of others, the potential visions others will have, to understand the necessary vindication for those who’ve already disappeared. Maybe I’ll piece together the ashes of Arendt to complete her final passage from her book once again.

Hannah Arendt

(^^ Arendt)

“Just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”

1 thought on “After Videla

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hi, Inés. When last you wrote, you were just six, and turned the pen over to your father. Now here you are quoting Hannah Arendt! It’s amazing how time flies. Where are you in school? Are you planning to go on to university? What will you study? Things are so difficult in Buenos Aires, in all of Argentina, for that matter. I had hoped that Videla’s golpe would be like so many other military interventions: step in, do a bit of a dance while hitting some people on the head with batons, step out, handing power over to the Radicals (certainly not back to Perón)! But this time seems different, and people are going missing like your teacher, Sr. Baez. What can we do? What do you think?

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