Welcome to my blog and thanks for finding me! My blog “bitesforthought.com” provides researched background on the Argentinian human rights trials aiming to deconstruct the hypocrisy of the Kirchner era. The vision I have, is that Argentina is a country where democracy and justice are equal for all.
I am slightly different to other blogs and organisations and I would like to explain why I came to investigate this topic. First, I chose to write in English as there is much Spanish work on this topic already and, also, I hope to reach some English-speakers – at least my friends have to proof read and hopefully they have discovered a different, more complete version of Argentina’s history. And that already brings me to my second point.
The international media and international human rights organisations often portray and praise Argentina as a country doing a great job at prosecuting human right violators of the past. I also believed this story as it is convincing and makes us feel good. It makes us believe that there is some justice out there. But then I came to Argentina and I soon learned that the reality is quite different. The history, as it is told by the populist left, and sadly also respected media, is not as simple. It is not a good vs bad story. It is not simple black and white. There are a lot of shades of grey and this already makes the human rights trials difficult to justify, especially as they are very one sided. I also decided to follow up on what the prosecuted had to say, but only after first shades of doubt appeared on the “official” story.
I listen to everyone before I make up my mind and form an opinion. And here in Argentina, it is no different, but I started very specifically on one side of history as I originally came here to find out about the victims of the last Junta. I went to Plaza de Mayo in March to listen to speeches regarding the coup d’état. I went to see the Madres on their 40th anniversary (where I noticed that not even their groups and supporters agree). I went on tours, to the ex-ESMA and other clandestine centres. I learned a lot because I ask questions – I am a scientist. I listened to their stories but I asked about the whys and started discussions. On guided tours, the guides were all careful when answering but I soon noticed that they were not telling the whole story regarding the madness in Argentina prior to the last Junta. In the ex-ESMA, a very professional tour guide changed her tone from: “we will give you more information at the end of the tour, as you are so interested” half way through the tour to “thank you for visiting and here is the exit” after wanting to know more about the 1970s and what would have happened to navy personnel in case of disobedience. The questions asked by the group, and not necessarily by me, were very harmless and general, certainly not provocative; we simply wanted to know more to understand the past. I noted that critical questions are not welcome in this debate. Interestingly, I also met people who lost friends to attacks from the Montoneros and ERP, and are/were supporters of the Junta. I also asked them critical questions about those times and their views. Surprisingly, they were far more open, reflective and critical of the past – and more knowledgeable. This came as a surprise to me. But let me get this straight – it was horrible and wrong what happened in the years prior and after the coup d’état of 1976 and I do not support or justify the violence committed bei any group!
The more I heard of Argentina’s past, the more I felt that something was missing and that others tried to manipulate my view. So, I started researching and was amazed how difficult it was to find reliable, unbiased information. I tried not to look at victim organisations of either side – as I wanted to base my knowledge on facts and not emotions. The difficulty of my research surprised me and I am lucky that I love investigating topics and reading journal articles – and with journals, yes, I do mean published, peer-reviewed articles! I learned a lot about the Argentinian constitution, human rights and the dangers of populism. With this new information, I decided to relook at the last 45 years of Argentina and the region, but with a strong focus on the current millennium. And I was, and still am, shocked by what has been happening in Argentina in the last 15 years and it has confirmed my inkling that the human right trials are just revenge and that the prosecuted are indeed held unconstitutionally. They are classic political prisoners and victims of a regime. The second shock was that people are trying to rewrite history. Revenge is one of the lowest forms a human being can resort to, but rewriting history is dangerous, not only for a nation, but for humankind and future generations.
Why another blog?
What makes me different from the many other bloggers and organisations that call the prosecuted political prisoners, asking for their release and who want the inclusion of the 1970s into history telling? I have the same objectives and I fully support their cause, but the differences to most of them are:
- I am not related to anyone nor do I know anyone who is imprisoned, nor their families and friends, so I am not biased due to personal relations or emotions. This also implies that I have no personal interest or gain. I am going this because I am curious and want to learn more.
- I do not only aim at their supporters to read this blog but I want to also reach people who do not know about this and who are willing to broaden their horizons and fight against fake news. This includes the English-speakers around the world.
- However, and most importantly, I am pretty much as far left as you can get! I would most likely not have survived the last Argentinian Junta if I had been alive and in the country at that time. I was very radical in my teens and early 20s and I know that I would have not been able to keep quiet or without action – you need to trust me on that, I will not provide any information on my past. Yet I object to the human right trials, because they threaten democracy.
This gives me a different perspective, but it also makes me angry on how the left of the 1970s is portrayed by themselves and in the international media. They are described as passive victims. From my experience, I doubt this very much. I would describe them more fittingly as active aggressors. They sought revolution and they lost. Now they are bitter and revengeful. The left likes to be the misunderstood victim. I used to be like that, but I have moved on.
It might seem odd that someone from the left will defend people who are imprisoned for crimes against likeminded people, but I do not think it is. I can look beyond ideology and I understand the past in terms of the Cold War. Socialism at that time was seen as the same threat to Western values as sadly Islam is in today’s world. Both had/have a large base of good, normal people but unfortunately also some violent, ignorant radicals who lack respect for others and have near identical methods of terrorising society. I have learned to accept that Western society may not be ready for socialism and may never be. I decided some years ago that I will not impose my view on others, but I am willing to discuss it. I accept that many people do not want a socialist revolution and/or fear it, but it is better to have a friendly dialogue with them instead of ignorance. Now I want to fight for a just world, that is forgiving and fair. I learned to embrace the virtues of democracy. A good political system that most people can agree on is a fair democracy with a good constitution that is being followed.
Food for Thought
This blog is not about questioning the past – quite the contrary – it is about telling the whole story, including cause and consequence. This blog is not about justifying torture, kidnapping, rape and killing by anyone – left or right or anyone else. This blog is about how populism can change the way people think and how a winners’ justice creates new victims and needs to be stopped. This blog is about thinking and fighting for democracy and a fair world for all. It is meant to provide food for thought (in bite size portions, hence the name) and hopefully makes people talk and listen to the ones they do not trust, who they oppose, who they dislike or who they disagree with. They also have valid stories to tell and only because we do not agree with them, does not mean they have no right to live their life or express their view. This blog is about tolerance, learning from and communicating with each other. It is sad that with today’s problems that Argentina faces, we still must defend basic democratic rights for all, as they are not guaranteed. One would have thought that democracy would have been far more welcome here than unconstitutional regimes after the experiences of the last century!
Bearing this in mind, and living today, and not in the past, I only have one option in Argentina and that is to take on the plight of the prosecuted men of the human right trials. These men are today’s victims of political ideology. The trials are not about human rights – no matter what you will hear or read – they are just about revenge. Sadly, even respected news agencies around the world fell for the manipulative populism of the Kirchners. I nearly did, but then my curiosity and strong sense of justice kicked in when I learned about them and I hope I can share what changed my opinion with others and make them see sense. In Argentina, I changed from a supporter of the Kirchners to a defender of the prosecuted victims by them. I guess madder things have happened in the world but hopefully it will make people think. The blog will start with a long introduction published in separate parts and then I will follow up with more detailed posts on the ideas introduced.
Thank you very much for reading and your time. Feel free to share. The more people learn from each other and talk to each other, the better! And we all must start defending democracy against populist manipulation. Today, more than ever!