Every March 24th in Argentina, a public holiday is held to commemorate the anniversary of the last military dictatorship in the country, which took place on this date in 1976. After this began the Dirty War of Argentina, in which around 30,000 people disappeared - thought to be killed by the government for having dissenting opinions. This period of time, from 1976 to 1983 was a period of state terrorism, and heavy repression and censorship was exercised over the Argentine people, notably anybody associated with socialism. Freedom was heavily restricted, mothers had their babies stolen and people who did not agree with the government were tortured for information, often before being “disappeared”.
Every year on this day Argentinians march to remember the people lost in this period, many clutching pictures of disappeared friends and family. All around, people wear t-shirts and hold signs emblazoned with the phrase “nunca más” - “never again”. This year, Voluntario Global volunteers came together to talk and learn about the importance of this day in Argentinian history and culture. We then joined the march from the volunteer house down to the Plaza de Mayo. This is a significant place on this day, due to the Asosiación Madres de Plaza de Mayo, a group of mothers of the disappeared people who have gathered in the square outside the government house every Thursday since 1977. The mothers and grandmothers have had some success from all their years of fighting and since they started, 119 sons and grandsons have been found. The Plaza de Mayo was filled with people from all different social groups, who had united to seek remembrance and justice.
It was a great experience for our volunteers to engage with a topic that is so powerful and emotional in Argentina, and to promote a cultural exchange by showing solidarity with political issues in this country.