June 25th 1978

Teaching has been impossible for the last month. Many of the younger sisters have given it up entirely and let the children talk about the football during their classes. The way these children talk of football now reminds me of the way adults used to talk of politics. Everyone with an idea, an angle, some piece of information of their own. Everyone eager to share, to be thought informed, to be heard.  That is gone now, the risks of talking politics to even with friends are too high. The fear of repression, of being disappeared has silenced the political conversation of this country. I do not mean to say that no one would talk of the football if we still had democracy, but I can not help but feel that we talk of it because it is safe. Something that all Argentines can agree on, can know that they speak with one voice on. Hopefully when these games end the minds of the children will return to their studies, however I fear it will take much longer for the minds of the adults to return from their fears.

I do not mean to disparage the World Cup entirely. I am Argentine and therefore I can not entirely escape its appeal. We have no television in the house where my fellow sisters and I live, but we have a radio. When they do not interfere with out duties or our prayers we gather in the common room and listen to the matches. It is wonderful for 90 minutes to have nothing more to fear than the advancing Hungarian forward, and nothing more serious to morn than a last minute Italian goal.

The other thing in the past month that has stuck in my mind, is the message, now appearing everywhere “We Argentines are human, We Argentines are right.” What can this mean? If we Argentines are so very right, why can we have no voice in our governance. If we are right, why must so many of our son and daughters be disappeared. This is the sort of word play the junta thrives on. The same game that turns Christendom into a synonym for capitalism, and uses subversion and freedom in the same sentences with their meanings completely reversed.  It is these tricks of language at one time so subtle and so obvious that remind me of the situation that surrounds us all.

2 thoughts on “June 25th 1978

  1. ssvolk says:

    Yes, I’m with you totally: “Somos derechos y somos humanos. A nasty play on “derechos humanos” which seems so lacking these days. It galled me to see Gen. Videla celebrating with our team. I don’t want to take it out on the futbolistas, but it hardly seems like “our” team any more. Are there others like you in the Church trying to help. I’ve heard that the Church is very supportive of human rights in Chile, but haven’t seen much indication of this in our own country. What can you tell me?

    1. Sister Clara says:

      Those in the Church who believe as we do are to afraid to speak. Not only must we fear the repression of the state, they will murder anyone: Bishops, priests and common men and women of faith, but we must fear our own leaders in the Church. They all are connected to the government and even if they don’t report you to the police their power is almost unlimited over the life of a priest or nun. One day all the people of Argentina will find courage, through the examples of our martyrs and Saints, and we will speak out once more. At least that is my hope.

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