ESCUELITA ALICIA PARTNOY PDF

To ensure uninterrupted reading, please contact Rachel Mines, sales director, at rachel. His offense: membership in a leftist political group. From time to time his swivel chair creaked as he turned to face the elderly defendants seated in the two front rows:. But the proceedings have much broader implications than a conventional criminal case. The white-haired men in the dock stand for the members of an implied community — families, friends, and neighbors — who have never really acknowledged their links to the horrors of that era.

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To ensure uninterrupted reading, please contact Rachel Mines, sales director, at rachel. His offense: membership in a leftist political group. From time to time his swivel chair creaked as he turned to face the elderly defendants seated in the two front rows:. But the proceedings have much broader implications than a conventional criminal case. The white-haired men in the dock stand for the members of an implied community — families, friends, and neighbors — who have never really acknowledged their links to the horrors of that era.

The trial, which has already lasted for almost a year, is due to end next month. It is a medium-sized, affluent city that includes both bastions of progressive politics and a sizable contingent of staunch conservatives. But it also has a significant military presence and hosts the largest naval base in Argentina. Its main newspaper, La Nueva Provincia, is one of the most conservative in the country. In what later came to be known as the "Dirty War," the military junta that ruled Argentina between and sent as many as 30, political protesters, students, and labor activists to their deaths in clandestine detention centers.

Though armed leftist groups did mount a challenge to the government at first, soon the only enemies of the state that remained were young men and women, often guilty of little more than attending the wrong rally or owning the wrong book. Last month, Alicia Partnoy , one of the survivors of La Escuelita, testified at the Bahia Blanca trial, repeating an account she has also described in a remarkable memoir of her experiences.

Even today, signs of those years of terror are hidden in plain sight around the city — like a small plaque in the university hallway commemorating the spot where two uniformed men shot a student dead after he was caught passing out political leaflets.

But why bring up the past now? The answer, as one might expect, involves both politics and the persistence of demands for a proper reckoning. When President Carlos Menem came to power in , however, he adopted a policy of "forgive and forget. It was only in with the appearance on the scene of President Nestor Kirchner, who lost many friends in the "dirty war," that cases were re-opened against all ranks of the military. The trial is just one of 13 others currently under way around Argentina.

Take, for example, the persistently recurring issue of the fate of the children who lost their parents in the state-sponsored violence. Some of the "disappeared" were young pregnant mothers who were kidnapped, detained until they gave birth, and then killed.

Their babies were given up for adoption, in some cases to childless military families. Since DNA testing became widely available in the s, the national victims groups H.

In at least one now-notorious case, a young woman discovered that the man she thought was her father was actually the officer who had tortured and killed her parents. Last November, year old Adriana Metz took the stand to tell about the morning in December , when government agents kidnapped her pregnant mother, Graciela Romero.

Argentines exult in their own garrulousness, so the silence I encountered whenever I broached the subject of the tribunal was all the more striking. One pleasant summer afternoon, I chatted poolside with a neighbor, a local landlord named Vicente. An amiable man with a sharp laugh and a round belly upon which he rested discarded peanut shells, his mood darkened when I mentioned the trial. He became irate when I asked whether the victims of the former military regime deserved justice: "There was fighting on both sides," he told me.

Supporters of the tribunal argue that it is precisely this continuing undercurrent of support for the policies of the old regime that dictates the need for a public criminal proceeding.

When I asked Walter Larrea, a prosecutor in the trial, about the skepticism that many people in the community felt towards the proceedings, he let out a dry laugh. He told me that he sees the trial both as a means for making the perpetrators answer for their actions as well as a vital step toward confronting the city with its own complicity. Argentines have to learn that we can no longer hide from our past. It seeks to punish the individuals involved while at the same time shedding light on a period that has been cloaked in darkness for over three decades.

It should come as little surprise that there is considerable debate about whether a formal legal proceeding can encompass the full scope of past crimes against humanity. Last year, testimony from one victim, a former leftist parliamentarian named Mario Edgardo Medina , implicated a long-time law professor at the university. Medina was then dispatched to La Escuelita. He emerged from detention only four years later. Though his arrest was highly publicized, Sierra was released the next day on insufficient evidence.

Still, the allegations have made him a pariah in many quarters. Unlike the defendants, the professor never served in the military or the police force. Even if he acted as a tool of terror during the Dirty War, how could he be implicated in this particular trial? As the arrest of Sierra clearly shows, the prosecutors are looking far beyond the former military officers and policemen directly accused in the trial.

After the trial ends next month, the prosecutor intends to launch a similar case this summer against the local navy unit, in part for its involvement in the infamous "Death Flights" of that era. It seems obvious that everyone should condemn the soldier who pushed a pregnant woman, drugged but alive, out of an airplane — but what about the air-traffic controller who guided the plane to its destination and back?

It was the military regime that carried out the policies at the heart of the Dirty War, but those policies would have been impossible without the complicity of broad swathes of society. How can a country expect to bury its past when so many of its vanished victims never had graves?

Many of them say they want to see the killers of their loved ones punished with the full force of the law. They must initiate this painful process even without the promise of closure. Even the best-dressed wound still leaves a scar. Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola. View Comments. More from Foreign Policy. Esper Orders Some U. Politics June 4, , PM. Trending 1. Allies Look on in Dismay While U. Rivals Rejoice. Welcome to a World of Bubbles James Crabtree.

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La Escuelita

But the Guerra Sucia or Dirty War that ensued far eclipsed the sporadic violent incidents that had preceded it. Within three years, somewhere between 9, and 30, Argentineans — dissidents, trade unionists, students, intellectuals and people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — were abducted by the military and many of them killed. The thousands held in government detention centers became known as the desaparecidos. Among them was a young woman named Alicia Partnoy. Picked up by the Army in for having been a campus activist for the Peronist Youth Movement, she spent the next five months beaten, starved and molested in a notorious clandestine prison nicknamed La Escuelita or the Little School, whose inmates were kept blindfolded. Partnoy was one of the few who survived that place; transferred to another prison and then another, she spent a total of two-and-a-half years in detention, never charged with any crime.

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Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival

There was a military coup in and people began to disappear. Partnoy was one of those who suffered through the ordeals of becoming a political prisoner. She was taken from her home, leaving behind her month-old daughter, on January 12, , by the Argentinian Army and imprisoned at a concentration camp named The Little School [2] La Escuelita. She spent two and a half years as a prisoner of conscience, with no charges. In , she was forced to leave the country, coming to the U. In , she told her story of what had happened to her at The Little School, in an eponymous book. Her testimony [9] [10] [11] is recorded in a compilation of testimonials by the National Commission for the Investigation of the Disappeared.

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