We destroy the beauty of the countryside because the un-appropriated splendors of nature have no economic value. We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend. — John Maynard Keynes
How happy the assassins! Looming anniversary of an international tragedy
As we prepared ourselves here to face yet another anniversary -- the 30th -- of a terrible, murderous political act that took thousands of lives and changed at least one country's destiny, my partner and I went over to the Brecht Forum to view Patricio Guzmán's tremendous film, "The Battle of Chile." We hadn't seen it for decades, and now that we've lived through many more crimes against humanity, maybe we have learned enough to be able to understand it. The attempted Chilean revolution, aborted suddenly in a US-sponsored coup on September 11, 1973, was a more complex affair than anyone could have comprehended while it was going on. I didn't get to Chile until five months after the calamity -- the Armed Forces attack on the presidential palace, the overthrow of a long democratic tradition, the first phase of murders and disappearances of anyone who questioned the military's right to rule. I went with nine other people as a member and organizer of "The Chicago Commission of Inquiry into the Status of Human Rights in Chile." Frank Teruggi, whose son (also named Frank) was one of those killed, was part of our group. We found out a lot, but the crime of murder of democracy -- abetted by Nixon and Kissinger -- is only part of the story. The other part is what preceded it, the daily, desperate struggle of working people to make Chile a more just society, and that is what one sees in the film. And that has been what has permitted Chilean democracy to re-emerge, albeit tentatively, decades later. Meanwhile, I recommend to you (if you don't already know it) Greg Palast's website. He is doing good work on Latin America.