Monday, December 24, 2007

The Disappeared and The Navy Mechanics School

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Along Avenida de Libertador on the route to my daughter's school, I noticed a set of ghostly art made of metal and attached along the fence of a faded but stately military compound.

Finally, after two or three trips I asked my driver, "¿Que es este?" He explained that it was the Navy Mechanics School.

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During The Dirty War, up to 30,000 Argentine citizens were rounded up by the government and executed. They are known as the Disappeared (Los Disaparecidos).

The Navy Mechanics School was home to some of the most gruesome torture and deaths. An estimated 5,000 of the Disappeared are thought to have been tortured and killed there in the late 1970s to early 1980s.

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Some were executed by firing squad while others were drugged, loaded up on a plane and simply dumped overboard into the Rio Plata or the Atlantic. Pregnant women were held there until term and their babies taken and given to families loyal to the government. The mothers were then executed.

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There is a graffitied sign on the fence wall that says:

"Todo esta cargado en la MEMORIA Arma de la vida y de la historia."

In english it says:

"Everything is loaded into MEMORY—Weapon of life and history."

The school was recently handed over to a human rights group. They are in the process of turning it into a museum so that no one will forget what occurred in Argentina 30 years ago.

And maybe we can all be reminded about the importance of fighting state run terror wherever it may occur.

Their memory is our weapon.

6 comments:

Pablo Flores said...

Beautiful post, about things that should be widely known but some still choose to ignore even here in Argentina.

The text in the graffiti you showed is part of the lyrics of a song, La Memoria, by León Gieco.

Longhorn Dave said...

Thanks for the link to the song. Those words are so true.

Let's hope that the museum will succeed and prevent such a thing from ever being ignored.

Ancient said...

Hey, Longhorn Dave...Great blog and wonderful photographs! I'm a Canadian expat living in this country for over 40 years so I pretty much know about the bad things and the good things which seem to come in extremes, somehow. Anyway, how would you compare it to Texas, for instance?
Keep up the wonderful posts
Pete

Longhorn Dave said...

I'm amazed everyday by the similarities between Texas and Argentina.

They both love Beef and love to cook out on the grill. The country side even reminds me of Texas especially around Córdoba.

The country side has some of the same plants and wildflowers we have.

If you squint really hard when eating milanesa (sp?) de lomo it looks like Chicken Fried Steak without the gravy!

Gregor said...

I had never heard of this place until I did a search after reading this story about one of the pilots has just been arrested.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8271341.stm

Anonymous said...

Those massive crimes were not only on Argentina. Simultaneously they were committed on Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brasil, Bolivia, Peru, and other Latin American countries.

They were planned, coordinated and supported by United States, who trained the tortures on the USA school of crimes against human rights, the infamous “School of the Americas”, school of dictators.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Hemisphere_Institute_for_Security_Cooperation
http://www.soaw.org/

Is not an accident that each democracy on those countries was overtook by coup by criminal dictators.

The phrase you read belongs to a Leon Gieco song:

“Leon Gieco – La Memoria”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXU2kd6kNMs

The official story was that all that carnage purpose was to combat the leftists, but the real purpose was to destroy the thinking elites. That way Latin America would be more “controllable”.
Only a small portion of the assassinated were leftist. Most of the victims were students, teachers, journalists, free thinkers, philosophers, etc. They were all killed or forced to emigrate.
As consequence, Latin America lacks good politicians. Only the worst were left.

On this video, you can hear a dictatorship minister saying that students “excess of thinking is a deviation” (at 2:08):

“Redonditos de Ricota – Vencedores Vencidos“:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZTg661nwxM