WHO or WHAT? Politicians or Ideologies?

There is something about the way people treat politics that I have never fully understood. More specifically, it bothers me how easily people blame all their problems on politicians.
We demonize them, accuse them of sinning against humanity, make them responsible for absolutely all our troubles, and peek into their private lives to condemn them for their mistakes.

Now, while I won’t deny many politicians deserve a mob to raid them off their priviledged positions… Guys, it seems like we’re forgetting the whole meaning behind democracy. WE choose our representatives in the government.

My thoughts regarding the subject started when I was very young. I usually talk a lot about the 90′s and 00′s, when everything here went to hell.
I remember watching people on TV curse the president(s) with all their might, call for the people to go to Plaza de Mayo (from where the president governs), and manifest there, bring the people responsible out. In 2001, Fernando de la Rúa had to leave the place in a helicopter.
“Que se vayan todos” came to be the words by which that time in history will be identified forever -at least to me. “We don’t need politicians”, “they are all corrupt”, “we’re better off without politics”.

Now, granted, those were times of terrible social drama. Many people crossed the poverty line during that time. The manifestations were incredibly violent, and many people died at the hands of the repressive police body.
It was such a traumatic experience for everyone, to the present day there are still social groups that claim to be a-politic with pride holding their heads up, as if that was a compliment to their honor.

Again, I’m not defending the bastards that lead my country to its worst crisis; nor the rest of the corrupt people governing the world through history, and even right now. But I must admit that it’s shocking how people lay the blame so easily on the most visible faces, before looking a themselves and thinking “well, I did vote for the bastard”.

Moving away from my country for a little, where things now are anything but a-political, I find people behave in similar, yet slightly different ways in places like, for example, the US.
Just the other day I found an article that presented the readers with the following question: “how can the people trust a political leader that is known to have cheated on his/her marriage?”. It seemed odd to me that anyone would connect both issues.

I don’t care about this or that politician’s marital life. I care about them being politically honest and similar to my views, and to act according to their ideology. Whatever happens between they and their partners is honestly none of my business.
People might argue: “ah, but if he isn’t loyal to his/her wife/husband” -or something of the sort- “then how can you expect him to be loyal to his ideals?”. Well, since when do they have to be related? If you learned that the cashier at the supermarket is cheating on his wife, would you stop going to that supermarket?

People seem to forget all too often that the political life of politicians is their job. Sure, it’s a complicated world, there is a lot at stake, and they have a lot of personal involvement on it. But it is separated from what happens inside the walls of their homes.

And yet, the media obsesses with stuff like that.

The reason I’m bringing this up, is because I whole-heartedly believe that this way of thinking truly hurts politics. It ends up personalizing political ideals, and that is the worst thing you can do -and one of the points where I differ from peronism.
I think that it’s good to admire politicians, and to support them -but what you really need to fight for is not a leader, but an ideology. People are finite, and imperfect. Ideals can embrace people through generations and bring them together for the future. Depending on a single person is not a smart strategy on a long-term basis.

We need to stop treating politicians as celebrities, as saints, as demons, and start seeing them as what they’re supposed to be: representatives of a political party of this or that ideology.

I don’t know, this really bothers me.
During the year I was chosen to be the student’s centre’s president, I attended many reunions with lots of other centres, and their representatives. There, I saw the same mistake being committed over and over again, only in a slightly different way: the question they wanted to answer was “who are we fighting against?”.
I would usually stand up in the middle of heated discussions of blame being thrown here and there, only to say that looking for an enemy was what a short-sighted organization would do. That we need to find an ideology that represented all students, objectives to fight towards. Sure, it’d be more difficult, because building is always more complicated than destroying. But, in the end, it would be worth it…

Of course, I was epicaly ignored by most people, who only cared about pushing their parties’ structure further into our students’ organizations. Now-a-days these organizations are a mess, and I’m fully convinced that this way of approaching the political fight is one of the main reasons that’s true.

I guess that seeing how that worked was what has kept me from joining a party and working inside it. I love politics, and I want to contribute, but… Being smart.
If political involvement will mean being told who to idolize and who to demonize, then I’m better off walking my own path, even if alone.

What do you think? Is politics all about the ideas, or all about the face who’s representing it? Why?

Thanks for reading my mess,
-Mila.

Maybe I want to write a post…

It’s been half a year since the last time I checked what was up -or, rather, since the last time I told you what was up.
I’d like to say much has changed, and probably a few things have. But I’m still a teenager with much to learn, and share, and complain about, and enough free time and English knowledge to do so on the internet.

So many things have happened in my country, explaining everything would be too much for me right now -I just came back from work, and some time’s gotta pass before I can even think of something other than printers, which I sell. A country’s future seems brilliant, horrible, unpredictable, and obvious no matter what happens, after all, so maybe it’s not that necessary. Maybe it’s always more or less the same.

Hm? Yeah, I’ve been working. For like 4 months now. That’s probably part of why I haven’t been active at all. It’s a nice job, easy to do, people are really nice and we have a lot of fun.
I’m not gonna make my career here, but I’m saving up for my biggest project so far: going to New Jersey in June. A few more months, and I’ll have the necessary money for it. I’ve even finished my VISA application, and now I just need to settle a date for the interviews, when I’ll have the chance to convince the people at the US embassy that I, in fact, am not a threat for their country. That I wasn’t lying when I said I do not partake in terrorist activities, human trafficking, drug dealing, or any of the sort. More importantly, I’ll have to make sure they understand I do not intend on settling there.
Yeah, I think the last part’s gonna be the most important one.

Sometimes I think all the paranoia they have over terrorism and drug dealing is only there to cover for how seriously awful they are to immigrants.
But hey, your country, your rules. And I respect that.

Another obstacle for my trip is gonna be how difficult it is to buy US dollars. The official way takes too long and it’s impossible for me, so I’ll have to buy them from someone I know, at a very high price. Luckily, both the VISA and the plane ticket can be paid in ARG pesos, so I only need to get enough dollars to take with me there to survive.

Ah, yes, the infamous plane ticket. How can it cost so much? Doesn’t anyone notice how wrong that is?
Also, why does a flight to New York cost, say, $12k ARG pesos, while a flight to Seattle is $21k ARG pesos? Something is not ok. Definitely not ok.

Gosh, I hate money sometimes.

Moving on to the brighter side, this is totally happening. I can’t wait to be there -I really really can’t. All my hard work’s gonna pay off when Brian and I meet at the airport, and have a romantic-movie-moment, then laugh about it and go have some cold beers. ‘Cause it’s gonna be summer there in June.
It’s weird to think about it being summer in June.

I’ve been drawing too. I’m looking for my own style, and I think I’ve found the right path. Maybe I’ll show you something later.

I have a weirdly optimistic feeling for this year, I don’t know why. 2013 wasn’t easy on me. Not because of any superstitious silliness, but because I went through the biggest of my psychological crisis, in my opinion. I’m still fighting it, but I feel better. In fact, I feel ok. And that’s what matters.

SUDDEN CHANGE OF SUBJECT!
Have you ever read anything by Spinoza? My grandmother lent me a book about him, and I devoured it in a few days. I was so relieved to see so many of my thoughts regarding religion and politics so beautifully laid down on a book from the 17th century. I’m going to read more, so his name is going to come up quite a couple of times.

I hadn’t been reading that often lately, but now I feel how my brain is back on the business. No more mental stagnation for me, nu-uh. Not reading for a while can make you feel like… A rock. Like nothing. Your brain slowly stops its workings. Even though you keep on thinking and analyzing, it grows in difficulty every day.
And then, you pick up a book, and suddenly you think so freely. It’s amazing, the power they hold. Specially when it’s a physical book, when you can smell the paper and feel the solid ink under your fingers as you help your eyes follow a particularly complicated line.

I should start writing more too.

This will go under “thoughts”, because that’s mostly what this is. A compilations of things that came to mind when I thought about writing a post.
I’ll go back to Argentinian politics soon. Probably.

Thanks for reading,
-Mila.

Here starts the cycle of hate

Today, I wanted to talk about my experience in a little nice cafe in the center of Buenos Aires, and about my thoughts on “certified exams” such as the CAE, which I’m taking today and tomorrow.
But, unfortunately for that very interesting topic, something else caught my eye today.

Rusia, shame on you. This phrase will open and close the topic.
I’m part Russian. My great-grandfather and his wife were Russian, and that shows now-a-days in my very pale complexion, blond hair, and clear grey eyes. His name was Leon, and I really admire his story, as told by my grandma.
Apparently, he was born in a very small town in the big and cold country, with very few people, even fewer kids, and a single teacher who went from neighbor towns to his’ during the week to teach. There, the man discovered that Leon was an incredibly intelligent kid, faster than most children his age, and also eager to learn. His speed usually got him to the point where he wouldn’t have anything left to do while the rest of the kids were still stuck halfway-through, so he got quite bored in class, and soon enough lost all interest in that small school.
You see, Leon wanted more. He wanted to see what was beyond his parents’ field, where they worked all day; he wanted to discover how the world looked like -not by books, but through his very eyes. He wanted to grow as a person and become a successful and knowledgeable man. And, you know what? I’ve felt the same since I was a little kid.

So, as you can see, I really feel I have a strong connection with this man I’ve never met, but who inspires me so. He is almost the only reason why I feel some sort of longing towards Russia, as if something mysterious was tying me to that place.

And, as if he wasn’t enough of a reason, there’s also my father. Did you know he was a militant communist until 1989, an year before the destruction of the Berlin Wall? Even during his teenage years, when the military practically prohibited anything that was red, my father and his parents still read about communism, discussed it, and dreamed of the most widely shared utopia in the world. Russia, for them, was the place where the dreamed land could come true.
Of course, we know how that ended up; but, nonetheless, there’s no denying that Russia was one of the very first communist experiments, and that adds some sentimental value to it.

Once, so far ahead its time. Now, it lives in the middle ages again.

You may be wondering why on earth am I talking about Russia and what connects me to it. To that I answer that you should read the news more.
Today, a law censoring “non-traditional sexual relationships propaganda” towards the Russian children, was passed by the country’s legislative representative, with almost an unanimity.
Now, I won’t talk about how the lack of semantic specificity allows for abuses of this law; I think that’s pretty obvious in and of itself.
This, as you might guess, was an anti-LGBT project.
What Russia is doing, is preparing the way for a generation of hateful human beings to take up the country in the future. And hateful citizens make for hateful countries.
Under the excuse of “protect the children from deprivation”, and using the church as a shield, homophobic groups have put enough pressure on the country’s agenda and representatives to make sure that their children will be able to happily live inside a bubble of racism for the rest of their childhood. Good for them, uh?

“Ignorance is power”, Orwell chose as one of 1984′s fascist government’s mottoes. Like this, Russian kids will grow up separated from those depraved beasts, focusing only in the good ol’ bible’s handful of traditions and morals, and will, thus, have the excuse of ignorance to hate unreasonably on the LGBT community. This is no different from making kids read about how Jews are all greedy and mean, and how they all have big noses with a big nasty hairy spot where they end; the result is the same: blind, unjustified fear. And with fear, comes hate. With hate, comes violence. And then, the cycle of blood starts.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the next nutzo to claim unlimited power in the world and declare war against humanity, had a specially harsh speech against the LGBT. Neither would it surprise me if he/she was Russian.

I’m disappointed, and worried about the future of the children in Europe. With this, and the episodes of violence occurring lately in France, I seriously think any LGBT member in that continent, or any person who supports them there, is going to have some though times ahead.
Be strong. Even though there shouldn’t be a need to even have to explain why everyone deserves the same rights and privileges, you shall. And, as you are speaking from love and respect, you know your arguments will hold up to those who only preach hate towards what they can’t, or refuse to, understand.

Have faith, not in an invisible god, but in the will of those who understand. Look upon Latin America and it’s example of inclusion, and thrive for a similar future for your people.

Oh, and:
Shame on you, Russia.

Thanks for reading.
Mila.

What Judaism means to me

Well, today I realized I’ve never really talked about religion here. So I guess I could give it a try? No? Then let’s get to it.

As this is my first time here, I should start with my personal story and relationship with religion.

I was born to a couple of Jewish parents. My mother is a believer, and my father is an atheist. Thanks to an agreement they got to superman-knows-how, I was sent to a private Jewish school, to learn about my peoples’ origins and traditions; of course, eventually, I didn’t quite fit in.

In my early ages, I never understood what was about this “god” fellow. I mean, what was his problem? Eve bit an apple so suddenly everything was wrong and they had to suffer for eternity? SOMEONE needed a hug.
But I didn’t talk much about my doubts regarding this character. I felt everyone else accepted him, so why shouldn’t I? But, then again, why should I? Of course, my thought process wasn’t as clear during that time in my life, and it is only now that I understand this was the overall concept I was trying to wrap my young mind around.
I still enjoyed the classes though. I’ve always been fascinated by huge, epic tales, about men in conflict, and adventure, and missions -and what book in the world does that best that the Torah? The Sillmarilion? We could discuss that, yes.

In fourth grade, I started reading a lot. And I mean a LOT. I didn’t feel represented by my school, identified with my classmates, or interested in fashion (as every other girl there was); I felt lonely. In books, I found worlds to escape to, something to make me feel accepted somewhere.
And, what did I read the most, you ask? Well, what my father thought I’d like: Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Oh boy, did I devour those books. Every single science fiction text by them in my house was read and re-read and re-read. And, inevitably, I felt the urge to understand more. I mean, what did this guy mean by cold fusion, and hydrogen-propelled engines? That’s right friends, that was the birth of the geek in me.
My mom a scientist, I asked her everything I wanted to know, and she explained with joy. If there was something she didn’t know about, I’d go to any book I could find that talked about that subject.
My favorites were the ones about astronomy, unsurprisingly. And I learned, a lot.

Now, here I stumbled upon the first real paradox in my life. See, in school, I was thought about how god created the sun and the moon, and the stars, and darkness and light, and all life, and everything there ever was and was to be.
Whereas in my house, I read about the Big Bang, about black holes and supernovas, about DNA, about evolution, transgenics, genetics.
Something didn’t seem to fit quite right.

That summer, I was sent to Majané Ramah, a three-week camp with activities related to Judaism and religion, though they also covered lots of interesting subjects. And I had a great time there. I only had a problem with one thing: what was with all the praying? We were woken up at seven just to go read from the Sidur and pray. We prayed before and after every meal. We prayed at night. In the afternoon. After an activity. It just seemed senseless to me, wasted time, and so unbelievably boring. And when I asked WHY we were doing all this, they said that was just the way god wanted us to act.
What the friggin’ hell? I’d never prayed before a meal before, and no divine being had gotten mad at me because of that in my life! Not that I knew of. And I believed that, if he had a problem with me, then he should’ve let me know.
By the second week, I was convinced this was all nonsense. Bored, and desperate for something different, I decided to perform a little experiment on my own.
In every prayer, I would stay still, and quiet, and I wouldn’t pray.
I would just stay there.
And, of course, I came to the conclusion that nothing happened. What did god care about us praying or not? I mean, could anyone prove to me that god was listening to us? Even further, could anyone prove there even WAS a god?

Plop! Goodbye god.

Suddenly, the equation started making more sense in my head. Well, of course, if you removed the Torah and god from it all, then that contradiction I talked about before didn’t bother me anymore.
And that’s how, at age 10, I decided god wasn’t a real thing.

I must say, I talk about it lightly in this short paragraph, but it was quite the shock for my young little mind. I even cried for a bit. I felt cheated, and lied to. And I was quite angry.
“Mila, why are you in such a bad mood today?”.
“Because I just realized god doesn’t exist”. Imagine being an organizer in that camp and being told that by one of the kids. You’ve failed. Miserably.

Continuing, I came back home from the Majané that summer, and discussed this with my parents. My father already thought the way I did, so he shrugged, telling me only I could define what I believed. My mother agreed, but I could feel a layer of bitterness in her voice.

Anyways, I spent most of my fifth grade in that school trying to figure out what I should do with this discovery of mine; furthermore, my classmates didn’t take long to find out about my new set of beliefs.
“Believing in god is what Judaism all about”.
“You shouldn’t come to this school if you don’t believe in it”.
“Are you even Jewish anymore?”.
Only a few examples of the many questions I was confronted with at first. And not having a lot of experience in the subject, they really hit me hard. I didn’t feel any less Jewish by no believing in a big guy in the skies, honestly. But, if they said all that, then it was for a reason, right…?

By the second half of that year, I was in a deep and serious spiritual and existential crisis. What WAS I? I wanted to be Jewish. I liked it. I liked some beliefs, and traditions, and I liked studying what people had said hundreds of years before me about the world and its rules, and absorbing all that knowledge made me happy; I felt connected with my peoples’ past, and that made me whole.
But, did I have to right to feel that way?
Not only that, but my female classmates were already starting to make plans for their Bat-Mitzvah, which was their official integration to the community, and more than once had they questioned whether or not I should be able to do so.
It was around that time that a new rabbi joined the school. This time, a woman. Her name, Silvina Chemen. There already was another rabbi in the school, called Dani Goldman. Awesome guy, he has some very interesting views on what being Jewish really means, as does Silvina.
So, she joined the school, and we had a special class so she could introduce herself, and tell us about her ideas on religion and Judaism, and all.
Of course, she blew my mind. Many times I felt as though she was talking to me only. And, when she was done, I seriously felt for the first time that all my ideas about what this identity we shared really meant had been expertly put into words and handed to me so I could analyze them and incorporate them.

But it wasn’t until we were leaving the temple, were the class took place, that she actually changed my world.
Feeling some kind of trust towards her, I approached her on my own, and presented her with the conclusion I’d gotten to that summer, and how that crashed with the idea of doing my Bat Mitzvah, even though I really wanted to.
“But sweetheart, doing your Bat Mitzvah isn’t about your relationship with god, but your relationship with the community, and your own spirituality. With or without a divine being, you can tell that being Jewish is about something more. And that something is what you should do your Bat Mitzvah for”.
I’m paraphrasing, of course. But that was, more or less, what she told me, convincing me to go through that journey again.

The preparation for the ceremony saturated me of religion, and for a while after doing it I didn’t want anything to do with the temple, or with prayers of any kind. Still, I am ever grateful with Silvina for showing me another face to the world.

After that, I kept a skeptic mind for some time. Walked away from the temple, and relied on purely empirical ways of reasoning. I laughed at all religions and shrugged my spirituality off.
But it didn’t take me that long to realize I was being and idiot.
Accompanying my mom to the temple on festive days is one of the strongest bonding experiences we share. And discussing my identity with other people is a truly beautiful thing.

It took me a long time to refine my ideas about my spirituality, and I don’t think I’m even close to reaching the end of my journey. Hopefully I’ll never be; this is far too entertaining.
But, let me tell you about the conclusions I’ve gotten to over the years about myself.

-There is no god, other than the one we created.
-Judaism isn’t a religion.
-Judaism is an identity. A Nation. A story. People.
-I belong. Beyond any rules and restrictions, I belong.
-Judaism is flexible, and adapts to changes and the historic processes it goes through.
-If it doesn’t adapt, then it’s not Judaism.
-Respecting Judaism doesn’t mean doing Shabat, or respecting the Kashrut. It means studying those who studied before me, and always having the existence of past generations present in my mind.
-Judaism is chaotically organized, and doesn’t shove anyone aside. It is a constant debate over what surrounds us.

It’s probably as difficult to understand as it is to explain. But that is, in a few words, what being Jewish means to me now-a-days. Maybe it’ll change tomorrow. I don’t know. Nobody knows. That’s the fun part about it all.

Anyways, sorry about all the confusion. I just wanted to organize my thoughts about this today.
Thanks for reading.

-Mila.

39a Feria del Libro

On the 30th of April, my mom got home in a hurry, telling us to quickly shape up, cause we were going out. Where to, you ask? My, where any normal super-nerd and bookworm family like mine would be excited to attend -except for my 16-yo sister, but she was away-, the Book Fair!

So, we dressed up, brushed our teeth, went out, and took the subway line over to La Rural, which is the enormous place where, every year, for three weeks, one of the most important cultural events and gatherings in the continent is held.
The only way to make this thing more perfect, in my opinion, is if they, I don’t know, gave out free chocolate at the entrance or something.

So, let me take you with me in the little part of the convention I got to visit before visiting hour deadline arrived. Don’t worry, though, I AM planning to go again one of these days.
And, what better way to show you around, than with my crappy cellphone’s camera, and my lack of photographic ability? …seriously though, sorry about the horrible pictures. I promise you it looks much better in person.

The fair has the same distribution as the last couple of years: first you enter a saloon where there are stands and activities representing every province, and a few countries; most people pass right through this part of the event, but I like to look around, see what’s up.
Right before the exit my dad spotted the “National College of Lawyers” stand, and asked us to take a photo of him standing in front of it. He then asked for a free pen there.
My father is a lawyer with a sense of humor.

Now, that part of the event is in a separated building, so, to get to where the books are, you have to walk under the night sky the distance of about a block. Or you would have to, if there weren’t completely useless tunnels you are obligated to pass through to get there.
There are two. The Buenos Aires’ Government’s:

A pretty unfocused photo of BA's Government's tunnel. Sorry, I was walking.

It was basically a line of banners trying to hype you about the city’s current government’s enthusiasm towards the culture.
Yeah, of course.

And…

Clarin's tunnel

Secondly, Clarin’s tunnel, of course.

And if you thought a whole tunnel just for Clarín was kind of fishy, then you ain’t seen nothing yet:

Ñ building

‘Ñ’ is the cultural section of Clarín’s newspapers. And they have a whole building just for themselves.

You know what? I’ll get into that topic in another post.
Right now, I want to focus on the good stuff.

So we got out and immediately headed over to the building with the editorials and such.

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“Books as Bridges” was the concept chosen to represent the Book Fair this year.

The place is enormous and filled with stands offering books for sale, everywhere.

BOOKS FOR SALE

Naturally, the proper definition of paradise.

More sales

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And books

And people

And cool stuff

There were more stands, and people, and, most certainly, books, that I could count. Are you into classical literature? Sure, right up. Theater? Why, yes indeed. Children’s books? Fantasy? Sci-fi? Self-help? Essays? School books? Suspense? Puzzle? Mysteries? Romance? Novels? Short Stories? Teen paranormal romance?? …ew, no, I’m going overboard.

And, did anyone say COMICS?

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Oh yeah. My kind of shopping spree.

Before you ask, I bought “All New X-Men” #1, and I plan on going back to buy “Avenger vs. X-Men: consequences” and the first volumes of “New 52′s Aquaman”. And as much Spiderman as I can.
I also bought a book by Martín Kohan, a writer my dad really likes.
My mom bought a book for herself, and Paloma, my 9-yo sister, convinced her to buy one for her too. So everyone was happy!

Anyways, the event isn’t just about books. Many intellectuals and interesting people come by this time of the year to give conferences on different subjects (usually relating to each year’s motto for the fair), and there are many writers signing copies of their books every day. Not to mention activities regarding art and writing.

The Ministry of Culture has its own (and incredibly big) stand, which surprised me:

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You could walk up to any of those computers to consult where to look for a specific book, the different activities, the history of the fair, and much more.

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The other side of the stand has a platform; sometimes used for talks and conferences, you can go up and rest and have a nice talk about the books you bought with your friends when it’s not being used… You know, as long as they don’t catch you.
Joke, I joke.

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It’s too blurry. But that, inside the same stand? Yeah, they have their own reading café. How cool is that?

I really think they nailed it.

And, as the place is just TOO BIG, most people get exhausted after a while, and need to sit down and have a drink, or something to eat. For that matter, there are a lot of different café-ish places, and restaurants, usually against the walls of the hall.

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This is the one where my parents waited as my sister and I took our time checking out comic books and mangas.

It really is a nice place to visit. If any of you happen to be thinking of coming to Buenos Aires next year, be sure to do so when the Book Fair is active. You won’t regret it.

Anyways, next time we’ll talk about La Rural, the place where this event is usually held, and its current owners, La Sociedad Rural. They both have interesting, and quite shady histories.

Thanks for reading!

-Mila.

Who shows you what you see?

Ok, so I’ve been “accused” many times of being a kirchnerist by my friends. Now, this isn’t by any means a bad word. It just means you are in favor of the current government. Or, at least, it should mean that.
If that was its only definition, then I would probably say, “yes, I kind of am”. But that’s not what my friends mean when they say that to me. I deny it, and I’m going to explain to you just why I do so, and how this came to be.

Another of Clarín's first pages from those times.

“New Government” Referring to the three representatives of the military that took the power after kicking the democratically elected president.

I’ve talked about the media here, haven’t I? The general picture is: the little group of people that have all the money, also control all the mainstream media. I think some of you must be familiar with this concept, right?
Anyways, that’s how it works here, and how it’s been working since… Well, I’d say since the beginning of this country, but honestly, it only got this bad after the last dictatorship.
The Clarín Group, managed by the Noble family (yes, that’s their family name. I find it ironic), took a hold of Papel Prensa, the biggest producer of paper for the press. How? Oh, you know, by torturing its rightful owners into signing the selling papers.
They are currently on trial for this.
Now, for this to happen, they needed the brute force of the army, which was in the power at that moment. They got to their good side by siding up with them.

Clarin's first page right when the coup d'était started.

“The Militay Council is the State’s supreme organ”

By tricking the population into thinking nothing was going on, and that this was only a peaceful and transitory government, and convincing them that they wanted the military on the power because of the “terrorist threat”, they managed to make a lot of people oblivious of what was going on.
Sounds familiar, whatever US citizen reading this? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you. After all, the US military had a lot to do with the military getting a hold of the government, and of their violent methods once there; but I’ll talk about that some other day.

Anyways, by seemingly becoming one of these people’s tools, they were able to use them to their advantage. After all, one of the people in charge of making the paper producer’s owners to sign, was one of the most important functionaries of the military council (who is now in trial, yes).

Not much later…

And yet another of Clarín's front pages.

“Videla (illegitimate president) inaugurated the Papel Prensa plant”. There, you see Videla, with the Noble couple, re-opening the plant after they ‘bought it’.

Wait, I had a point here…
Ah, yes of course!

After buying the plant which produced the paper for each and every one of the newspapers and magazines of the country, they were legally able to set prices at will. So, for their own newspaper, Clarín, its cousin, La Nación, and to every other newspaper or magazine they liked, the prices were minimal.
But, for newspapers which didn’t share their views, the price was… Slightly… Definitely higher. This meant that Clarín was much cheaper, making it more accessible for the common man.
And that, kids, is how Clarín got so popular, and grew SO big in such little time.

They got so good at what they did, and so close to the government, their lies started becoming more and more reckless.
During the Malvinas War, they actually helped convince the general populi that our country was actually winning! Our country. Extremely unprepared for war. Sending teenage boys with no training over there. With lack of food. Against England. It didn’t take a mastermind to figure out that was pretty fucking impossible.

Guess what?

“Imminent recuperation of the Malvina Islands”. No doubt there.

I’m losing my track of thoughts again…
Oh, righ.

Ok, back to present day. Now that you have a general, very subjective, and extremely opinionated idea of where this group comes from, you can slightly understand what they do, why, and how.
(Seriously, guys, I only know this part of the story. I do encourage you to investigate and let me know what comes across your path).

So, yeah, as you can imagine, they’ve been manipulating the population the same way ever since. They helped to economically overthrow the first democratic government after the process; pushed candidates like Menem into the government; pushed Ministers of Economy like Cavallo into the Ministry (ask Ecuador how much good HE did over there); they were the ideological responsible for the neo-liberal policies applied in my country, and for the epic economical crash of 2001. You might have heard about it.

The minute they saw what ideologies Nestor Kirchner, who assumed as president right after that, held high in sight, they understood he meant trouble for their wallet, and empire.
I don’t think there has been a single day passing without the Clarín newspaper, or any of its branches, badmouthing, criticizing, and aggravating him and his wife, our current president. Sometimes the critics were spot-on. And sometimes it was just someone throwing shit at them for no good reason, other than the rage they felt.
And, being this the most popular newspaper, news channels, and celebrities magazines in the country, their ideas spread fast.

“Is she under psychiatric treatment?”. Noticias magazine, under the Clarín Group’s management, accusing Cristina Kirchner, then first lady, of having a bipolar disorder, without proofs, without consulting any of her doctors, without her consent, without anything. Obviously, it was a lie. But the idea was installed in society ever since. This is the power and impunity of the media.

Now, let me make this very very clear. There is nothing I find better than someone making a thoughtful critic about a certain government, policy or ideal, and discussing it with other people. But, and I’m not just talking, this is serious, most people who right-out HATE the Kirchner couple, have memorized this speech, repeated it all over the place, and to themselves, until they believed it, and couldn’t think in any other way. Sometimes this is applied literally. I am not joking.
Most people don’t even realize how deep in their brains some concepts have been carved.

Repetition, impunity, power. These are the elements they have to make people think what they want them to think. They give new concepts to every word they use, and make it so that it’s actually used in a daily basis.

They’ve made words like ‘officialism’, ‘kirchnerist’, and ‘officialist’ into insults. And what I mean by that is that people have actually tried to insult me by calling me all that in debates and forums.
They have divided this country into “K” and “Anti-K”, and then accused the actual government of being responsible for this bipolarity (though they haven’t done much to fight that, really).

By calling yourself a ‘kirchnerist’, some people around you automatically think you are a poor brainwashed person who blindly follows the current government. By calling yourself an ‘oppositor’, some people around you think you are a hateful human being who blindly follows the commands of the Clarín Group.

But, of course, the world isn’t black and white; it’s full of greys, and, quite frankly, that’s probably the only thing that makes it bearable.

I like greys. I enjoy watching them, and I enjoy belonging to them. My thoughts belong to the grey zone. My ideologies aren’t just that or what, they are a combination of ideas, concepts, and knowledge. My way of thinking is unique, and so is everyone else’s.
What bothers me the most about these people, is not only that they claim to be the voice of the whole population, nor really their bloody past, though these things do bug me. What bothers me the most is the fact that they imply you can either be on one side or the other. They deny the greys. And that is not healthy for society, not in the least.

And not only is it unhealthy, it’s proven to be fatal. This is not the first time people like this have tried to divide the society of my country. They have tried, and succeeded before. And every time they did, guess what happened in the end? War. And, in the worst cases, civil war.
Realists vs Autonomists, Federalist vs Unitarians, Conservatives vs Radicals, Peronists vs Gorillas, K vs Anti-K. Our history is marked by the rivalry between two completely opposite groups. And, most of the times, things heated up enough to escalate to wars.
Divide and conquer, you know. As we are too distracted fighting between each other for no real reason, the people who orchestrated all that, swim in their impunity. And money.

By labeling themselves, they usually give up to the possibility of looking at the good attributes of the other side, and actually constructing. Together. Like people who live in the same country. Together.

Taking on definitions like those means not wanting to accept the rest.

Labeling is… Well, I’m short for words. Labeling is stupid. Specially when it refers to political ideologies. It blinds us from our real problems, and from the people we should be looking at with special care.

And that’s why I don’t do that. There.

Well, thanks for putting up with my ranting again.
Take care of yourselves, and remember to pay attention to what you read, what you think, who you side up with, and who you’re really against. What are you not seeing from the general picture? And, who is blocking your sight?

-Mila.