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.

Ok. I’m mad.

You can mess with the city, and get away with it. You can mess with the schools, and get away with it. You can mess with political parties in general, and get away with it. But don’t you fuckin’ dare mess with politically active children, ’cause you’re messing with me, mate.

During the last dictatorship here, more than 30.000 people DISAPPEARED. They weren’t just killed on the spot, they were taken away by the military government, never to be seen again. They were sent to detention camps were they were tortured in every inhuman way possible. They killed people in cold blood. If a pregnant woman ended up there, they waited for her to give birth, and take her kid away. Those babies ended up being taken away from their real identities, being raised by their parents’ murderers.

Along the many people kidnapped, abducted, by the factic state, were teenagers. LOTS of teenagers. Underaged brilliant kids, taken away and killed cruelly only because they fought for what they believed was right; only because they were part of their school’s students’ center; and then their phone-books were revised, and their friends were taken away as well, only for being their friends. Every 16th of September here, it’s a day of sadness and memory, as it’s the anniversary of  ‘La noche de los lápices’ (The pencils’ night), when many students, most of them MY AGE, from La Plata city, were taken by the military, most of them never to be seen again.
Many of these ‘subversive’ kids were spotted by making the directors of their school make lists of ‘rebellious’ student, so the military could know where to look.

These were rotten methods for rotten ends, and speak of the cruelty, inhumanity, darkness of those shameful years for Argentina.

Lately, though, Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires city’s governor, and his Education Minister, Bullrich, have been applying similar policies to the ones I described up there, to ‘keep an eye on politically active students’.

If you read My Political Reality (II), then you must already know I take an important part in my school’s students’ center, and was even the President of it for a complete year. And, if you read this blog, then you might’ve already guessed that politics take a very important part in my life, and that I have strong opinions on this matter.
Not only this, but I know every single person in the students’ center, and even the new president, a bright but tiny boy from third year, is a very good friend of mine (or more like my protected).

So try to imagine my fucking RAGE, at the beginning of last year, when Macri asked for every public school’s director to hand in lists of students that are politically involved in their respective schools.
I kid you not.

Of course, this was all a part of his ‘children-are-just-children-and-don’t-know-what-they-want-so-let’s-protect-them’ policy. But you can clearly see some resemblance with his idols, the leaders of the last dictatorship.

But this wouldn’t stop there, oh no, oh no.

He REFUSED to let us in and talk about the city’s public schools’ problems, most of them caused by him, alleging that we were all in agreement with the National Government (who he hates), and thus, making us, secondary school students fighting for our rights, his political enemies.

BUT OH WELL. We can live with that. We just went on with the organizations, reunions, reclaims, etc., ignoring his paranoia, and claiming for his attention.

Is it? Is it all well?

Well, not NOW.

He crossed THE FUCKING LINE.

I don’t even understand what the fuck is going on in his little head. AND NO, I have no political nor intellectual respect whatsoever for this guy, as he really DOES NOT deserve it. The moment he starts behaving like the city’s governor, and drops the ‘rich-cool-dude’ attitude, then I might reffer to him respectfully.

So, what’s this line I’m talking about?

Oh, well, basically, HE SET UP A FUCKING RAT PHONELINE.

The name? “0800-INTROMISION” (MEDDLING). ‘For students, teachers, and parents to call, and denounce political meddling in schools’. I’m not making this up, I swear.

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. THIS IS POLITICAL PERSECUTION TOWARDS TEENS AND KIDS!

School isn’t a political-free environment. There’s NO FUCKING WAY it can be so. Why? BECAUSE IT’S A PUBLIC FUCKING SPACE.
Politics, discussion about them, debates, information, etc., is one of the best parts of going to a public school here! It’s the perfect exercise of reasonal and critical thinking, it teaches us tolerance towards those who think differently from us, and it teaches us to be responsible and informed citizens in the near future.

But, of course, that’s not convenient for the kind of interests this dude represents: the interests of big, multi-millionaire empresses who find it convenient to have stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and therefore malleable populations for them to manipulate and use to their ass’ wishes.
HE himself is a fucking millionaire, owner of SEVERAL multi-national empresses, and the son of one of Latin-American’s richest man. It’s not a surprise he thinks like this!

The surprise is, that people actually voted for him. People actually thought he was good for the city, and voted for him. Not once, but TWICE. Two fucking times! Why?
Well, he didn’t do anything right. And I mean it, he did NOTHING right. But, he IS a strong opposition to the National Government of Cristina Fernandez, whom middle-class and upper-class from Buenos Aires seem to hate (even though they’ve never been better than with her economic policies), and they convinced the poor people from here, who are a vast majority, that Macri is good for them too. How?
THEY OWN THE FUCKING MEDIA.
Just google ‘Grupo Clarín’, and you’ll find out. The most important TV channels, ratio channels, magazines, newspapers, etc., are managed by the same group of people, people who only think of their own well-being; people who got a hold of these properties by making illegal deals with the last dictatorship’s bosses, while they celebrated the coup d’état, and flat-out LIED to the people -both then, and now.

That’s how you get a guy who thinks youth politic is ‘dangerous’ for society, to be Buenos Aires’ governor.

So yeah, I just wanted to write all this down, cause this pisses me off like no other thing in the world.

Si sos de Buenos Aires, y votaste a Macri, entonces tengo sólo una cosa que decirte: sos un hijo de remil puta, y te merecés los sucesivos aumentos del ABL, los paros del Subte, y el que la ciudad se te venga abajo por este inútil.
Felicidades, has sido engañado por los poderosos de siempre. Otra vez.

Sorry about the ranting, but this just… ARRGHHH.

-Mila.

Tell me how you name your streets, and I’ll tell you your ideals -or of how Canning became Ortiz

Scalabrini Ortiz and Santa Fé

The corner of Ortiz and Santa Fé. You can see the café Plaza del Carmen, characteristic of this place. The green ball-like sign a little in the back is the entrance to the subway. You can also see the english fence I’m talking about.

Nothing’s left to luck when trying to clarify your political position. Not even the streets’ names, if you are the official government. Your every decision, your every move, should reflect coherency with your ideals.

And that’s what’s been happening here in Buenos Aires for the last century.

There is one concurred and commercial avenue reaching Palermo. It even has it’s own subway station. The name’s Scalabrini Ortiz. But, many still remember when that street was named ‘Canning’.
I find this avenue’s history very symbolic of my country’s history, and so, I’m gonna tell it to you.

The street itself started off being known in 1867 as ‘El Camino del Ministro Inglés’ (English Minister’s Road), because that’s the way an english diplomat, named Henry Southern, used to get to the city, from the country house he lived at with his family.

Years went by, though, and, thanks to a decree on Novermber of 1893, it was named ‘Canning’, after the famous  former Secretary of Foreign Relations of the United Kingdom.
This man, George Canning, was the responsible for the UK’s recognition of freedom from the Spanish Kingdom of: Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, and the one who pushed the recognition of Brazil as independent from the Kingdom of Portugal, all of this in 1825.

Even though this was a celebrated fact through-all Latinamerica, as having the recognition of that time’s most important economic potency was the final step to be recognized world-wide, this wasn’t just out of Canning’s good and pure heart.

“Spanish America is free, and if we do not mismanage our affairs, she is English”*

This came out of his mouth, or rather, his feather, explaining his interest in the economic independence of America. If they were out of Spanish monopoly, then that meant they were free to enter the English one. Yay for them.
He also ended up mediating after the Argentinian army besieged Rio de Janeiro, winning the war against Brazil. Thanks to his mediation for peace, though, Brazil ended up with MORE territory than before, and the Argentinian troops were sent back to Buenos Aires with a bitter victory. This ended up with the resignement of Bernardino Rivadavia, my country’s first constitutional president.

Back to the avenue, it held on to that name, until 1974, with Gral. Juan Domingo Peron. He replaced the name of the English liberal, diplomat, and even Prime Minister for a little time, with the name of an Argentinian nationalist writer and thinker: Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz.
Ortiz was hard against the national economy’s dependence on England, and even proposed for the railways lines across the country, that were at the time English, to be nationalized and managed by the state.

Scalabrini Ortiz is known for being one of the founder members of the FORJA, a political organization that tried to join the ‘best of’ both Radicalism and Peronism.

But, in 1976, the Peronist government suffered from a raising from the military -again- and it was forced out of the government. In it’s place, the presidents designated by the military stood, one after the other, until Videla -resently convicted to a life-sentence for his crimes against human rights during his unconstitutional government, and being processed for even more crimes- was left there.
During the military’s illegal stay at the head of the country, and faithful to it’s admiration towards England, Scalabrini Ortiz Av. became Canning again, the same year they took the power.

That dictatorship lasted long years, and was the most cruel, vengative, and inhuman one in my country’s history. It was the last as well, and we all hope for it to stay like that.

In 1984, after a failed war against England (coherence?) for the Malvinas Islands, with the country with the highest external debt ’till then, having destroyed the National Industries and production, and with no support from any side left, the illegal government called for presidential elections.
Raúl Alfonsín, representative of the Radicals, won. The first constitutional and elected president after those black years.

A year later, in 1985, the government renamed the avenue after the nationalist and revolutionary thinker, Scalabrini Ortiz.

So, the opposition between Ortiz’s and Canning’s ways of thinking was more or less represented in this street.

Many small business there still have names referring to Canning, or boards like that, because they were already known with those names. The street itself is double-handed, has the corners closer to Santa Fe, a very important avenue, full with old buildings and english-styled fences, and is the stop of two subway lines (‘D’ Line, and ‘B’ Line), apart from being transitated by many busses and cars every day. My uncle has a furniture shop located in this avenue as well.

Station Scalabrini Ortiz

This is a small part of the very long painting in the walls, inside the Scalabrini Ortiz subway station.

As you can see, in only this avenue’s street, located in the Palermo neighborhood, in the north part of Buenos Aires, you can see the transition of part of Argentina’s history.

I think that’s pretty awesome -don’t you?

Do you know the story behind some streets in your city? What do you think about Scalabrini Ortiz’s?

Thanks for reading.

-Mila.

*Quote taken from Wikipedia.