Today, Carlos Menem has pardoned the junta members responsible for the torture of tens of thousands of Argentinians. There is already talk of protests – people are organizing across the city, people are talking everywhere – in La Paloma, organizers drink coffee and sit for hours planning and talking too quickly and too politically for me to understand. Raúl went home early, struck with a kind of grief I hadn’t seen on his face in years. It’s heartbreaking to see our government brush off this country’s history – justice feels impossible.
So much has happened in the past seven years – I don’t even know where to start. I met Miguel in 1985 and we have been together quietly ever since. We are a couple of middle-aged men sharing an apartment, and people talk, but mostly we feel safe in our neighborhood. Since I moved in with him, I’ve started noticing others – two old women who live together in our building, one of whom almost never leaves; the two university students across the street. We see Raúl and Ariana a lot; at La Paloma, business is solid. We have all been doing our best to forget the tortures and the murders.
But today, the bandage has been ripped off of the collective wound – and thousands, like Raúl, are forced to relive their trauma. Sanctioned by the state, the men responsible for the tortures and the murders will walk the same streets, shop in the same markets, live in the same buildings as the victims of the tortures and murders.