Thursday, September 13, 2012

9/11 Remembered

We are involved in the formation of a new Rotary Club in Ciudad Sandino to help address problems in our area.  We meet at 7 PM on Tuesday evenings.  Last night as we started the meeting our moderator called for a moment of silence to remember the tragedy of 9/11 in the U.S. 11 years ago and the tragedy of 9/11 in Chile 39 years ago.

Political prisoners held at a sports stadium in Chile
I suspect all of you reading this know about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and remember them, but do you know about what happened in Chile on 9/11 in 1973?

The U.S. military under Pres. Nixon staged a coup with the Chilean military to overthrow the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, who was working for change for all…including the poor…in Chile.  He had been in office three years; his first enactment was to guarantee that all school children receive milk…he was a medical doctor.  The day after his death, thousands were rounded up and held in the Chilean stadium where they were questioned, tortured, and many murdered.  A father of one of our sons’ friends was in that stadium and was tortured himself.

Chilean protest singer Victor Jara
One musician who was known for his protest music, Victor Jara, was reported to have had his hands and fingers broken along with beatings that resulted in his ribs being broken.  The soldiers mocked him and told him to play his guitar.  He defiantly sang Venceremos (We Will Win).  His body was found 4 days later with 44 bullets in it.  The reign of the dictator Pinochet lasted for 17 years and was horrific.  Over 10,000 Chileans were murdered, disappeared, tortured, and imprisoned. 

Hundreds of thousands left the country.

It touched my heart to stand in Nicaragua and remember the victims of two tragedies that have had an impact on people for years to come.  I also noted that I do not believe that ever in my life in the U.S. did a club, church, or school ever have us stand to remember tragedies of the past that happened to others in other countries.  Nicaragua remembers.  Nicaraguans remember. – Kathleen