Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Saturday, October 16, 2010

John Pilger on Chile's ghostly silences

The rescue of 33 miners in Chile is an extraordinary drama filled with pathos and heroism. It is also a media windfall for the Chilean government, whose every beneficence is recorded by a forest of cameras. One cannot fail to be impressed. However, like all great media events, it is a façade...The accident that trapped the miners is not unusual in Chile, but the inevitable consequence of a ruthless economic system that has barely changed since the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Copper is Chile's gold, and the frequency of mining disasters keeps pace with prices and profits.

For all the media circus at the rescue site, contemporary Chile is a country of the unspoken. At Villa Grimaldi, in the suburbs of the capital, Santiago, a sign says: "The forgotten past is full of memory." This was the torture centre where hundreds of people were murdered and disappeared for opposing the fascism* that Pinochet and his business allies brought to Chile. Its ghostly presence is overseen by the beautiful Andes, and the man who unlocks the gate used to live nearby and remembers the screams.

Full article here

*Whether Pinochet's bloody dictatorship was 'fascist' as Pilger claims or not is debatable in my opinion. The fact the world was celebrating smiling miners on the week of Pinochet's good friend Margaret Thatcher's 85th birthday was however quite fitting in its own way, and hopefully contributed to her feeling too ill to celebrate...

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