I have never had great faith in President Menem. When the dictators fell I said the real test of our new democracy would be how it cared for the poorest amongst us, and so far that has been shameful. Prices continue to rise, so that many in the cities can not afford the price of bread to feed their children. The government is selling off companies, much like it did after the coup, and those newly private companies are laying off thousands. How are people supposed to live if they have no jobs, and what ever they earn is fast becoming worthless. To complete the picture the government is cutting what ever services to the poor it has provided. They talk of stabilization, but all that many see is scavenging. The indignity of oppression may have lifted by the indignity of poverty remains to real for so many. I have seen this in the work I have continued to do in the soup kitchens and relief organizations in Cordoba.
But I have forgotten myself, all the sources of my anger at this government run together. This latest step is beyond any that has come before. If we wanted proof that this government does not care for the suffering of the people, what more could we want? They have sided with the murders and released them from prison. Menem claims that this is done in the name of national reconciliation, but how can we reconcile until we know that those who committed the crimes that terrorized the nation have been held accountable. How can we know that it will never happen again, unless as a country we can unite and say that we will not accept such violence?
As a Christian and a person of faith, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in the healing that only comes form forgiveness, but these men do not deserve forgiveness. As long as the continue to justify their actions and excuse their crimes, they can not be forgiven. As long as they prolong countless mother’s pain by keeping the bodies of their children from them, how can we forgive them? As long as they keep grandchildren from their grandparents, how can we forgive them? Some say we must have forgiveness and reconciliation before we can have healing, but I believe we must have healing before we can have forgiveness. The pardoning of a criminal while their crime is still going on is not to forgive them, but to make yourself their accomplice.