Welcome to the A-Z Guidebook Link Up. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.
* I love the innovation and variety offered by A-Z contributors. I hope you can spare some time to visit some of their blogs and have a read of what they have shared from their own archives. This month:
M or Mountain
As many people have written, Buenos Aires is a truly European city with outstanding architecture, galleries, restaurants and public spaces. After schlepping around the remote and arid back blocks of Peru and Bolivia for a number of weeks, arriving in Buenos Aires in Argentina was a small culture shock. A welcome culture shock I might add and I was most happy to embrace modern plumbing and real coffee.
Like many great cities of the world, there is also a darker side to Argentinian life and this is starkly reflected in the signs and stalls of Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo.
A quick search of the internet will tell you all you need to know about the Dirty War (1976-83) when the Argentinean Military Government systematically sought to root out left wing activists, student, unionists, journalists and anyone else who had views or spoke against the government. Nearly 40 years after a group of mothers came together to protest the disappearance of their children by the military government, they still come together every Thursday outside the Casa Rosado. Officially 13 000 people disappeared though this number is believed to be much higher. Whilst this is a shocking civil and human rights violation, what I found more astounding is the fact that some of the original mothers who came to protest the disappearance of their children were in turn ‘disappeared’.
With a week in Buenos Aires, we made sure to be in Plaza de Mayo at lunchtime on a Thursday. We visited the stalls where you can buy small stickers and badges as a show of support for the mothers and grandmothers and milled about with other tourists, waiting to see what was going happen. Just after the appointed time, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo in their white headscarves gathered around their banner and march with slow determination around the Plaza to the applause of supporters and those who had come to watch. It was hard not to be moved by these women who had their children and families snatched away from them but have never given up on their memories and seeking justice.
In January 2006, the members of Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo did their final March of Resistance, saying ‘the enemy isn’t the Government…anymore’. Instead they choose to march in pursuit of other social and human rights issues but to still commemorate the memory of the disappeared.