December 10, 2006

In my last entry, I wrote about wanting justice, and knowing that I can never have it.
That seems even truer today.
Today, Pinochet has died. And he has died a free man. He did not serve a single day in jail, he did not sit through a trial, and he did not ever have to truly answer for what he has done.
Perhaps he has some sort of divine punishment awaiting him.
Perhaps his death represents a turning point for us.
Perhaps this is the end of an era.
Perhaps this is what we need.
Perhaps no.
Right now nothing seems definite except, perhaps, our own mortality.
A friend tried to assuage my distress by saying that at least Pinochet was miserable during his last few years with the pressure from the media and the courts. But still. Knowing that he never had to face any real consequences during his lifetime.

So what does this mean for the future?
Others can still be held accountable, I suppose. But it still seems like so much of what we tried to do has been futile. Especially since many of those being held responsible are lower-level police officers and military, while those with the most power seem to have avoided being held accountable.

And now I am left to wonder if perhaps accountability is not the most important aspect of this.
Perhaps punishing those who have committed such terrible things will not help me, or anyone else, to move forward.
I could never forgive or forget. But perhaps I could remember and make peace. Perhaps this obstinate memory can be used for the betterment of our country. Perhaps we can look backward as well as forward, move on in some ways but not disregard the past or the suffering it has caused and continues to cause. I am not sure.
After all of this, after all of these years, I am angry. I am tired. But I am not hopeless.

One thought on “December 10, 2006

  1. ssvolk says:

    So well put, Cristóbal. How to “remember and make peace.” I think a lot about the past and how to come to grips with it. I think that Chile has moved slowly to recognize that what happened was wrong, inexcusable, and can never be repeated. I think that more people are coming to the same conclusion…but then I’ll talk to a businessman and he’ll say something like,”I know that there were excesses under Pinochet, but look at how strong the economy is now. Wasn’t that worth it?” And then I think that we’ve not come far at all. I think we’re all tired; I hope, like you, that we’re not hopeless.

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