April 9 – H – Historia
March 24th is a holiday in Argentina, a holiday that marks the first day of the military coup d’etat in 1976. This is a bit ironic because “holiday” suggests celebration. However, here the intent is in memoriam and remembrance of the prevent Argentina falling again to such an oppressive dictatorship that marked the childhood days of my husband. March 24 is a historical day to retell the stories of the human right violations under the junta and to maintain the conviction of “Never Again” – the story, the historia, of the military coup in Argentina that must be remembered for those who might forget the past atrocities, or who would never know the past atrocities, will be fated to repeat them again.
This is a story that fated most of the countries of South America in the past century and I have yet to fully understand why and how. I do understand that all the coups – Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Peru – were supported by the US due to economic controls and a political Cold War mentality as a means to prevent the power of socialism that has taken hold in South America. This is a very truncated and incomplete explanation, but it is the best I have at the moment.
Essentially the terror existed everywhere as anyone who may oppose or be connected to those who may oppose the extremist Conservative ideals of the regime were persecuted through torture and execution. Essentially, more than thirty thousand people just simply “disappeared” during the Dirty War from ’76 to ’83. If a green Ford Falcon – the death squad car – pulled into your barrio, everyone was terrified, for these were the cars of the military that took people away. With incredible luck, my husband’s family was not fated to be a “disappeared”, but they were close friends with some who did disappear and whose bodies were recently discovered in a mass grave north of the city. To have liberal ideals, put you at risk. To oppose the regime, put you at risk.
This is a story I’m left with mixed emotions of ignorance, horror, and curiosity. There is so much not said or discussed about it amongst Argentinians, in my limited experience. There is only one fiction book I ever found and read about it and that was written by an outsider – Imagining Argentina by Lawrence Thornton. While here I have searched for literature about the Dirty War, but have found nothing in English in terms of such writings. I shall continue to read what I find on the internet – the bits and the pieces. I sense there is a story, a character, here for me to discover somewhere, somehow, someday.
Until then, I’ll continue to watch the green Ford Falcons troll the streets haunting the memories of many, I’ll feel the cries of the Abuelas (grandmother’s) of the Plazo de Mayo who lost their children as the “disappeared”, and I’ll listen for the story to find its way to me, another mere outsider compelled to discover a historia in the whispers, pauses, silences and solitude of the all too present past.
*If you read this and have any ability to lead me to literature, stories, and understanding, I’d appreciate you letting me know.