Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Take that mask off!

Depriving Chile of its democracy and the Chileans of their dignity, Pinochet stigmatized Chilean politics and degenerated human rights to the lowest level possible. Detention, torture, disappearances are not attributed to some evil fantastic character; they are all part of his infamous record. Now, 33 years after the 1973 coup Pinohet gets to hear judge Solis verdict: home detention for the "Villa Grimaldi" [detention camp] atrocities. The mask is off.

Short only a few days from his 91st birthday, Pinochet's persona is still haunting the Chileans. But it is also haunting humanity. His presence is here to remind us not only of the Chilean tragedy but also of the long way to go for safeguarding the most basic of human rights.

Democracy has been reintroduced in Chile, the chapter on human rights violations is history - a history for us all to revisit and remember. Forgetting is only catastrophic, and there is too much catastrophy already. Remembering is crucial, confronting the past heals open wounds they say. Yet it is about time to take human rights to another level, and instead of trying to "make up", to run ahead of violations. Preemptiveness in this sense is a good thing.

Sadly, for every two steps forward, there is one backwards. And this is not to surprise us really: behind all the fancy rhetoric of "preponderence of human rights" lies a tragic reality: foreign policy agenda, national sovereignty discourse. Cost. Cost. Cost. Only the value of human life degrades, or so it seems.

When Halloween or Carnival ends, we take off the masks. Why not in politics too? Until when will diplomacy be a mask on our face and politics an eternal bal masqué? It is about time that we spoke simply. Basic words for basic concepts and a basic life. For everyone.


Articles on Pinochet:

in english

en español (desde Chile)

en français


Austral said...

Worst about Pinochet is not himself anymore, but his followers wearing some kind of democratic disguise.
Thanks for your comment on my blog.
Best wishes from Chile.

Anonymous said...

Pincohet pasará a la historia como uno de los más terribles transgresores de los derechos humanos, aunque hubo, hay y habrá más desafortunadamente. Ellos no se quitarán la máscara, pero nosotros sí podemos quitársela.

"Sin una paz auténtica, justa y respetuosa, no habrá derechos humanos"
José Saramago

Como siempre es un gusto leer tus textos Anastasia.

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