Meredith: So many faces

June 6, 2010

I visited CELS (center for legal and social studies) recently, one of the foremost human rights NGOs in not only Latin America, but also the world. One thing that sticks out in my mind is the controversy over numbers. I think that only about 9,000 to 15,000 disappeared have actually been documented, but when people talk about the dirty war in Argentina, you talk about the 30,000 disappeared. What I realized at CELS today was that regardless of the number, it’s still a huge amount of people to be stripped of the right to life, denied the right to live, breath, dream, hope, act, love.

30,000 is a symbolic number. It’s massive, gaping, obtuse, just like pain that never ceases. It’s easy to imagine, too, that 30,000 is not just an exaggeration. I often feel this way when I look at pictures of the faces of all those who have been disappeared.

I should set the record straight that these photos are not from the Memory Park. These are images of the tent of the Madres de la plaza de mayo at the bicentennial celebration. For further reading, please see “The Art and Politics of Memory

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