September 11th, 1983

It has been ten years since the coup.
It is easy to measure the years that have passed. It is harder to measure all that these years have contained.
Looking back, I wonder how people – on the Center, the Right, or otherwise – could have thought that a coup was any kind of answer. Even with the “economic progress and development” that our country may have made, we are still living in the shadow of terror. Or at least, those of us with family members who have disappeared are. Even those who have returned to their families have lasting scars from the ordeal they have been through. Elena’s older sister returned to her family, but Elena says that she is only half of who she used to be. She has not described what she has gone through, but we have heard hints and rumors from friends of friends of electric shocks, beatings, and much much worse. When I think of what may have, or what must have, become of Hector I feel sick. I would give anything to have Hector returned. I would trade all the stability in the world if he could be found safe, or even alive.
Yes, things have certainly “turned around” in the past decade, as those on the Right say. But the direction that things have turned can hardly be counted as right.
Yet, we still survive. Elena is going to have a child soon. It seems strange to be bringing a new life into a family, into a nation, that has seen so much death and loss. But perhaps this is good. Perhaps this is a sign of better things to come. Or, perhaps not. Perhaps there are no signs. Perhaps all we can do is try to cope with the system in which we exist.

1 thought on “September 11th, 1983

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hi, Cristóbal – it’s good to hear from you again, and congratulations on your soon-to-be fatherhood. I’m sure it’s right to bring a new life into the world even if it is at such a grim moment in general. Things are beginning to turn around here in Santiago. There have been some demonstrations against Pinochet, things I never thought I’d see again. Maybe it means that things can change, after all! Tell me how things are in Concepción. Any protests beginning there?

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