Magazine article New Internationalist

The Mothers' Last March

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Mothers' Last March

Article excerpt

THE news made headlines across Argentina in February this year-the'Mothers'were holding their last march. These were the Mothers of Plaza de Mayq: a fearless and determined bunch of women who - after their sons, daughters and husbands were 'disappeared' by the military dictatorship - decided to confront the kidnappers by standing every Thursday in'the grand plaza that fronts the nation's Congress. These Thursday protests - the first one held on 30 April 1977 - continued throughout the dictatorship, which gave way to democracy in 1983. Through their far more sizeable annual marches, they have continued to pressure governments into discovering more about the fates of their children and spouses.

A Government inquiry established that 11,000 people were murdered during the 'Dirty War' between 1976 and 1983. NGOs and human rights experts say the figure is closer to 30,000 - many of them leftist sympathizers and intellectuals who were quietly removed from their houses by undercover agents and tortured in the armed forces' schools. The recovery of bodies is still under way although some can never be found - such as the victims of 'death flights', who were pushed out of aircrafts into rivers or the Atlantic Ocean.

Several of the first women brave enough to challenge the dictatorship paid a similar price. Just last year the remains of Azucena Villaflor, the founder of the Mothers association, Esther Careaga and Maria Eugenia Bianco, two of the earliest Mothers, and French nun Leonie Duquel, a supporter, were discovered and identified. …

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