The Dirty What?

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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When I signed up for Argentina I thought of it as an adventure to a place that I had never been before, that I didn’t know much about. While I still stand by the validity of notion, something has occurred to me in the past week that pertains to exactly that. Before this week I didn’t know much about Argentina. I barely knew anything, in fact. I knew from a friend who grew up here that soccer was a big deal, and the meat was excellent. But why did I just know a couple of vague reflections from a friend? In class we discussed the United State’s general indifference towards affairs in Latin America (compared to the rest of the world), especially when it did not directly benefit the States. Not only is this reflection considerably demonstrated through our history of governmental policy towards the region, but it is apparent that this extends to a cultural level. Why was I so very versed in American and European history in high school, but that was it? When I reflect on the general education I received up until this point, I am realizing how much was missing pertaining to the world that I personally believe so crucial for people to know. How had we not even heard the words “Dirty War” before this class? It scares me to know that there is so much going on in the world that I am completely ignorant to. But the question goes on. If I had been a teenager in the US during the “Dirty War”, and had heard about it, what would I have done about it? What can I do to help the suffering of the people in Darfur, Iraq and all the places where the oppression has not been vocalized? When I think about it this in terms of international affairs theory, it makes me want to spread democracy. It is never that simple though. I think a good start would be on an educational level—starting young. People need to know!
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When I signed up for Argentina I thought of it as an adventure to a place that I had never been before, that I didn’t know much about. While I still stand by the validity of notion, something has occurred to me in the past week that pertains to exactly that. Before this week I didn’t know much about Argentina. I barely knew anything, in fact. I knew from a friend who grew up here that soccer was a big deal, and the meat was excellent. But why did I just know a couple of vague reflections from a friend? In class we discussed the United State’s general indifference towards affairs in Latin America (compared to the rest of the world), especially when it did not directly benefit the States. Not only is this reflection considerably demonstrated through our history of governmental policy towards the region, but it is apparent that this extends to a cultural level. Why was I so very versed in American and European history in high school, but that was it? When I reflect on the general education I received up until this point, I am realizing how much was missing pertaining to the world that I personally believe so crucial for people to know. How had we not even heard the words “Dirty War” before this class? It scares me to know that there is so much going on in the world that I am completely ignorant to. But the question goes on. If I had been a teenager in the US during the “Dirty War”, and had heard about it, what would I have done about it? What can I do to help the suffering of the people in Darfur, Iraq and all the places where the oppression has not been vocalized? When I think about it this in terms of international affairs theory, it makes me want to spread democracy. It is never that simple though. I think a good start would be on an educational level—starting young. People need to know!

Time has gone incredibly fast here! Suddenly the trip is over halfway over. When I reflect on how much I have learned not just in the classroom, but by making my way around these cities, I am astounded. The best feeling is when you learn something in the classroom, then see something happen on the street that confirms, or at least parallels with your classroom experience. It always takes me to further thoughts, comparing what I have seen here with experiences I have had of my own.

 

One event that continued to perplex me after class was the nightclub fire incident, where mayor Ibarra was impeached as a result. When I returned to the room that day I read several articles online about the incident. The final death count was 194 people! There were two major trains of thought that came out of these articles--1) The age of the people who died, and 2) The question of who is to blame for a tragedy of that magnitude.

 

In one article I read that children as young as 12 years old were victims in the fire. I thought I may have misread that 12 year olds, children just entering middle school age, were out that late at night at a nightclub! But sure enough, several nights ago, while entering a nightclub with the group, I noticed a gaggling group of pre-pubescent, very young (no older than 12 or 13) girls covered in makeup, giggling and waiting to enter as well. It made me not want to go in at all. That specific article also reported that it was a child who fired off the torch that caused the fire. I do not understand for the life of me how it is possible that clubs invite young children in to what can so quickly become situations they are not equipped to handle, and if they are there with their parents well wishes. I don't care what culture in what part of the world you are in, at age 12 you are without experience or knowledge, or strength, to handle these situations. The article stated that during the panic, some people actually ran upstairs away from the exits. I am sure there were young children in that crowd.

 

It looks as if those who took the blame, and the consequences for them, were Ibarra, who was impeached, the nightclub owner, and 4 inspectors, all of who were arrested and are in jail. Although it is obvious that there shouldn't have been chains on the doors, especially in a high risk fire hazard situation, we all know why they were there in the first place: to make sure people didn't try to sneak in or out without paying, to keep the nightclub secure from theft, and to establish a uniform entrance for the sake of convenience. For this people lost their lives, and for this people are in spending time in jail for making a poor business decision, but of course never intended to keep people lock in a burning building. It is a tough case of the blame game.