Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pope Francis, Argentina's Dirty War, & Englander's The Ministry of Special Cases

From Friday's Washington Post article "Vatican defends Pope Francis against Argentina ‘Dirty War’ allegations:"
The Vatican vigorously defended Pope Francis on Friday by seeking to discredit accusations that he failed to oppose and may even have collaborated with Argentina’s feared military junta during the so-called “dirty war” against left-wing activists... [Q]uestions about the activities of Bergoglio from 1976 to 1983, when a military dictatorship terrorized much of Argentina and “disappeared” thousands of its own citizens, remain a cloud over his papacy’s otherwise bright early days... While Bergoglio did not confront the abuses of the junta with anything approaching the public fervor of his fellow clerics facing other dictatorships, as in Chile, it is not clear whether he used other, more private channels, to protect his flock. Bergoglio once told a biographer that he purposely said Mass for the nation’s dictator, Jorge Videla, once in order to advocate for mercy.

To try to immerse yourself in what Argentineans experienced during the Dirty War, try The Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander:
From its unforgettable opening scene in the darkness of a forgotten cemetery in Buenos Aires, The Ministry of Special Cases casts a powerful spell. In the heart of Argentina’s Dirty War, Kaddish Poznan struggles with a son who won’t accept him; strives for a wife who forever saves him; and spends his nights protecting the good name of a community that denies his existence--and denies a checkered history that only Kaddish holds dear. When the nightmare of the disappeared children brings the Poznan family to its knees, they are thrust into the unyielding corridors of the Ministry of Special Cases, the refuge of last resort.

Also excellent is Departing at Dawn, a novel by Argentinean author Gloria Lisé:
March 23, 1976. Berta watches as her lover, Atilio, a union organizer, is thrown from a window to his death on the sidewalk below. The next day, Colonel Jorge Rafael Videla stages a coup d’etat and a military dictatorship takes control of Argentina. Though never a part of Atilio’s union efforts, Berta is on a list to be “disappeared” and flees to relatives in the countryside. There she becomes part of the family she knows only from old photographs: Aunt Avelina, who blasts records from an old player; Uncle Nepomuceno, who watches slugs slither in the garden every afternoon; and Uncle Javier, who sits in his tiny grocery store day and night. When Berta learns that government officials are still looking for her, she realizes she must run even further to save her life.

1 comment:

  1. Is that related to the Ministry of Silly Walks!