by Irene Bianchi

I wish I had felt like going out and celebrating Argentine’s 30 years of democracy last Tuesday, December 10th. Thirty years ago, my eldest son was born. I was so thrilled and excited at the idea of voting again, after  7 dark years of dictatorship, that I took him with me into the dark room. Although he was a newborn baby, I wanted to share my joy with him. I lived (still do) in La Plata, a university city, where many friends and classmates had “disappeared” throughout that nightmare. And now the nightmare was over. We were all so hopeful, so full of expectations, so happy to go back to normal. Free at last from the oppressors, willing to rewrite our history from scratch, to make a new start. The future was ours. We, the people, had recovered the right to choose our leaders.
Thirty years later, it hurts to witness the present state of affairs. In the last few days, there have been police mutinies in several provinces, street violence, supermarket lootings and around ten people have been killed. There’s turmoil, frustration, exasperation everywhere, and no one seems to be in charge. Shopkeepers close for fear of being robbed, politicians blame one another; fear, discontent and uncertainty reign rampant. Meanwhile, CFK holds a huge and noisy celebration at the Government House, surrounded by loud activists and artists, as if nothing had happened, a clear correlate of the bubble in which she lives.

Truth to tell, there’s nothing to celebrate, nothing to be happy about. We’re stuck in the mud, going backwards, as it were, making the same mistakes over and over again, wasting more precious opportunities to turn this wonderful country into the Republic it deserves to be.