Curatorial statement

by Raquel Partnoy

As a mother of a “disappeared” child I experienced the horror of seeing how my family was gradually destroyed. From the day my daughter and her husband were kidnaped by the military forces during the military dictatorship in Argentina – 1976/1983, life was not the same for my husband, my son, or myself . Anguish, hatred, and depression overwhelmed us while we wondered if they were still alive, felt impotence because the military wouldn’t give us any kind of information, spent endless nights without sleeping for fear that the evil ones would come to our house to take another family member.

At the beginning of our odyssey we did not know that we were not alone. Many parents,like us, were going through the nightmare of trying to find out where our children had been taken. We had gone to police stations and army posts; we had talked to priests and military chaplains; we had asked friends if they knew of contacts at the clandestine centers who would be able to say if our children were alive. But the army knew very well how to create a climate of terror in the family of the abducted victim. When we went to our city army headquarters to ask about our daughter, they denied she was there and showed him a paper, allegedly signed by her, stating that she was released. Where was she then? The scenario of the disappeared was in place, and the creator of this horrible concept, the manager of such horrendous drama was a terrorist state. At that time, many families felt miserable, with thousands of young couples disappeared along with their babies or little children. Most of them were murdered by the military forces.

The women whose works I have chosen for “Women: Memories of the Repression in Argentina” have endured the horror of that time. These mothers, daughters, sisters of disappeared people, or survivors of the dictatorship, express their feelings through poems, tales, letters, or testimonies. They express the pain of thousands of women from our country.
As individuals who survived genocide, writers, artists, sensitive human beings, we shall never forgive, we shall never forget. We have to raise our voices in order to alert humanity about what happened not only in Argentina and other Latin America’s countries but also in the rest of the world, for such atrocities never to happen again.

Raquel Partnoy
Washington,
February 2004