The 9-11 attack resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people, shook the foundations of a free society, and caused people to live in fear. Some never saw their loved ones again. Many live with scars that will never heal…
September 11,1973 Gloucester, Massachusetts/Santiago, Chile
I had just returned from school when I heard the news that the Chilean military had overthrown Salvador Allende, their democratically elected President. The coup, orchestrated by the CIA and the multinational corporation I.T.T would impose a brutal dictatorship upon the Chilean people and result in the murder of over 60,000 people. It would take decades for international pressure from human rights organizations, solidarity groups, and the Catholic Church to end the reign of terror the coup unleashed.
Until that time I had experienced countless arguments with classmates and a few older relatives who would confront my socialist views and say I was opposed to democracy. I would respond that elections were only one piece of democracy and were only legitimate if parties representing poor and working people had an equal voice. The fact that the intelligence agency of a rich country could destabilize and nullify the electoral will of a poorer country drove home the fact that bourgeois democracy was an oxymoron.
Fourteen years later I would meet Marjorie Agosin, a Chilean Author/Activist who published an extraordinary book called “Scraps Of Life: Chilean Arpilleras”, an account of how women used thread and an ancient folk art to tell the story of the horror and repression of Augusto Pinochet’s fascist regime. Tapestry like pictures told their individual stories, many personalized with fabrics that had belonged to children, friends, husbands, lovers; the people who disappeared at the hands of the murderous right wing dictatorship. After hearing her story, I purchased a copy of her book, shared it with friends, and continued to do solidarity work with the local chapters of Amnesty International and Peace Brigades International, knowing that one day Pinochet would fall and be brought to trial for his horrific crimes. Ultimately a court in Spain would extradite him and seek justice for his crimes.