This week I found the conversation with Rota de Grandis to be interesting in terms of her analysis of disappearance as a form of oppression as well as reconciliation and recovery of a nation from an era of frequent disappearances. Truly is seems to me that a pattern of people vanishing is one of the most violent and terrifying forms of control of a regime. The technique when performed well is devastatingly effective for the perpetrators as there is no accountability. Considering that the crime is without evidence and the only tangible fact is the absence of a person and the absence of an event. There is no place to start an investigation, even if you were to suppose that a police force would be willing to assist you and it wasn’t a private undertaking. Even with government sanctioned murder there tends to be evidence, grizzly as it may be often regimes are trying to send a message. This lack of accountability as de Grandis pointed out can lead to an alarmingly large pool of potential victims. I can imagine the most devastating detail for families would be the huge hurdle to finding closure, they can never be assured of the fate of their loved one. With the disappeared it can very often be assumed that they have met an end but the invisibility of any evidence of the fact leaves a torturous glimmer of hope. The inability to ever close the chapter means that families must have their minds open to the most gruesome possibilities and if the disappeared person has been killed they never had a moment to say goodbye.
I found the action of Argentine women to find out details on the disappeared and to locate their children to be especially interesting. Often protest even if it is peaceful, moves against traditional structures. These women have worked within their traditional gender roles as mothers and wives to petition for change. To me there can be no doubt that prescribed gender roles for women need to be expanded to this day. However this action within traditional roles is ingenuity and intelligence of a group of people who are simply motivated by care and concern for their loved ones. Their protest has remained peaceful and persistent and I believe it is a major testament to honour those who have disappeared.
In my reading of “Uncovering the Megalomania Behind Evita Peron”, Eva Peron undergoes a somewhat scathing dissection of her persona as opposed to her talents and influence. The critique that Evita’s popularity is attributable to her lack of testing is easy to defend. Her success came largely out of the bravery to insert herself into typically male dominated circles as well as through seduction and charm of influential men. She made these connections while maintaining a traditional femininity that was palatable to the machismo and patriarchy that was a hallmark of Argentina and Latin America. Obviously these structures continue to be prevalent in Latin America and internationally; however, Evita was addressing crowds during a period of dramatic advancement of women’s rights. This point is well illustrated in her push for women’s suffrage, though this struggle endeared her to many women (and provided her husband with a loyal voting block) she “was careful to enlist the support of her male listeners by assuring them that after enfranchisement, women would not become masculine or overbearing”. These and similar stances allowed her to represent modernity. As she had some immunity from criticism in this period as the wife of the president, she was a valuable figurehead.
Though many people suggest it Evita was in no way a politician. She was an emotional powerhouse, her entire life was a performance. This was so actualized by her Rainbow Tour through Europe, which was complete with huge spending on shopping trips, a massive entourage and a closet to match. Though different countries received her with varying degrees of enthusiasm this cemented her status as a performer. Add this to her rise to fame as a radio and television actress and this identity is undeniable. She was firstly and adored celebrity, she came to play a politician which explains the phenomenon of adoring fans, a phenomenon that for any normal politician is a bit strange. Her influence is summed up well in the testimony of Dr. Serge Pilar who recounts his memory of attending an Evita speech: “Throughout her lifetime Evita was able to hold herself above factions and espouse her ideas without having to answer for them to anybody.”
The main attraction of Evita came of the dreams of what this uncriticized golden woman could propose. Evita’s actual political bid was evidence of her complete incompetence, not only was Argentina not ready for this or any woman this close to the presidency, Evita was woefully underqualified. There is no evidence that she ever would have had the capacity to effect genuine change; her background, life and education do not support this notion. Evita’s political prowess could only ever be praised in theory and as her day has come and gone, she will perpetually remain symbolic of Argentinian dreams.
Scarpa, Anna. “Uncovering the Megalomania Behind Evita Peron.” Nyu.edu, NYU, Dec. 2000, http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/ww1/scarpa.html.