“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.”
~Victor Hugo, from Les Miserables
They’ve gone through the entire campus library, confiscating anything which might stir up revolutionary passions. Obviously Marx’s manifesto is gone, as well as most history books and political essays. They’re being replaced with ones which drag Allende through the mud and show this regime in a more favorable light, I’d wager. Anyway, the goons managed to miss some of the literature…which I’ve copiously copied and distributed among my friends—those still risking their lives to spread the truth.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of my favorites, writes as if he’s seen what I’ve seen. It’s incredible; he penned these words decades ago. But like a prophet, they ring eerily true today.
“The [soldiers] perspired with the sweat of a horse and had a smell of suntanned hide and the taciturn and impenetrable perseverance of men from the uplands…they were all identical, sons of the same bitch, and with the same stolidity they all bore the weight of their packs and canteens, the shame of their rifles with fixed bayonets, and the chancre of blind obedience and a sense of honor.”
“…they knocked doors down with their rifle butts, hauled suspects out of their beds, and took them off on trips from which there was no return. The search for and extermination of the hoodlums, murderers, arsonists, and rebels of Decree No. 4 was still going on, but the military denied it—even to the relatives of the victims who crowded the commandant’s offices in search of news. “You must have been dreaming,” the officers insisted. “Nothing has happened in Macondo, nothing has ever happened, and nothing ever will happen. “This is a happy town.” In that way they were finally able to wipe out the union leaders.”
I am fortunate to lack any official ties to the revolutionary left. The government has yet to single me out as a threat, or worse, label me a ‘dissident’ or ‘defector’. My father was a communist, and I share his beliefs, but where he was politically active and visible, I have been silent and pensive. I have tried to be a good Catholic, despite its inherent contradictions. Thus far, I have obscured from all those who watch me, my true sympathies for the opposition and all those who have been taken from their homes and families. I can only imagine the trials they face; the rumors of brutality, the damning evidence of scars, the tragic tales of broken men and women. Foucault—banned, obviously—wrote recently that the most impressive thing that the state has accomplished is maintaining a system where its citizens repress both each other and themselves; acts of unconscious discipline. My daily experiences bring his words to life. It is terrifyingly real.
My income doesn’t pay the bills. So what do I do? I read what I can. I write when I’m able. I eke out an existence in this forgotten place. Oscar avoided military service, and is currently laying low somewhere in Calama. His last correspondence was months ago. While Diego moved in with me in, Ava relocated to Canada with Mariella. They couldn’t stand it here. I don’t blame them. It is getting to be unbearable, and yet, I see no reason to abandon the cause I now embrace. I have become an enemy of the state. I know if this journal should fall into the wrong hands, my life will be in danger. Not even my own brother knows what I do, or the risks I take to transmit information to my friends. If I am discovered, my activities will not implicate them. A certain amount of solitude accompanies my work. I hope it will not last forever.
Until next time.
[I can’t find a “comment” function on your post, so I’ll comment here]: Hola, Raul – your lines from Victor Hugo are so very apt. It’s been years since I’ve read him, but he sounds just right for our age. You need to take care of yourself – you’ll be no good to anyone if you’re taken. Cuídate!]