April 19, 2005

I am now 70 years old, and perhaps not as active as I once was. I have retired from most of my work, and am living in a home with four other retired sisters in a pleasant enough part of Cordoba. I have much more time to read and listen to the news than I ever had before and if anything that has made me more political than I was even in my rash youth. So much has happened in the last few years, we have had four presidents, economic tragedy time and time again, and Menem has both fled the country and won a presidential election.

The one thing that has remained constant throughout this troubled time is our unwillingness to look back to our past under the military dictatorship. We have not moved towards justice for the victims of the Juntas. Hundreds of perpetrators still walk the streets untouched by the law. Perhaps the countries continued suffering is because of this state of affairs. We can not find peace and stability until we find justice. We can not unite to face our challenges as a nation until we unite and face the past.

I took hope when President Saá offered the extradition of the Junta leaders for trial. That hope was kept alive under President Kirchner with the repeal of the laws that shielded the perpetrators and the reopening of investigations, but so far little has come of that.  I have been thinking about that moment in the light of the news of the Adolfo Scilingo conviction. I think this trial will have proved to be a positive step for Argentina. On a public stage, with the attention of the world, a court has validated the experiences of Argentinians oppressed under the Junta. When the rest of the world reaffirms that crimes against humanity were committed here and must never be allowed to happen again how can we ignore them ourselves. I remember how much more powerful that affirmation was when it came for an Argentine court and spoke with an Argentine voice.  I can only hope that the example of this case will embolden the judges and investigators in this country to live up to the hopes of the country. I fear I will not live to see real justice done, every day that passes the perpetrators get older, and Chile has taught us that it is difficult to do justice on the old, especially when they are old and cunning. Today is a day of hope and not yet of celebration.

1 thought on “April 19, 2005

  1. ssvolk says:

    As much as I lament the fact that it was Spain, and not Argentina, which is taking care of our dirty linen, so to speak, I see two good things coming out of this. Scilingo, unlike Videla, Viola, Massera and the others, admitted to crimes, the crimes of the military. That’s important. And by getting a successful prosecution of Scilingo, Spain added some teeth to the concept of universal jurisdiction. But we will have to see if this process yields any other results.

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