I made sure to return from Patagonia in time for March 24th, the 40th commemoration of the military dictatorship in Argentina. This day was particularly heavy.
On one side, the date marked four decades since 30,000 citizens went missing–an atrocious act of the state. Simultaneously, Macri’s current presidency is increasingly repressive, cutting citizens’ jobs, eliminating subsidies, and sanctioning police brutality, inciting both fear and anger from Argentinians. The cherry on top was Barack Obama’s decision to visit Buenos Aires on the 24th. The U.S’ involvement in the dictatorship has not been forgotten by Argentinians. In fact, his arrival on the 24th was seen by many as a slap in the face, or worse, a threat of what is to come under Macri’s neoliberal presidency.
There were multiple marches throughout the day and even running simultaneously. Political alignment is strong in Argentina and there’s little to no intermingling among different camps. During this particular march, groups blocked themselves off with tied ribbon, bamboo sticks, and interlaced arms for “seguridad”, meaning protection from the others in the march. I find this odd, collectively marching but distinctly divided under different colored flags. But there’s a long political history in Argentina that has led to this arrangement.
Before meeting up with MuMaLa, I walked up and down Av. de Mayo and enjoyed a bit of the protest, something I wasn’t able to do in the last March. The street was wild with performances, chanting, art, and lots of anti “Yankee” propaganda–all of which I found very amusing.
I eventually joined MuMaLa and marched with them all the way to Plaza de Mayo for the last time. There was a great moment we shared together at one point. We got a bit behind from our compañeros from Libres del sur and began running with our flag down a narrow side street. So that’s around 15 women between the ages of 22 to 51, sprinting and suddenly yelling and laughing uncontrollably.
My time with these mujeres militantes has changed me. It has filled me with fire and made it clear to me that I don’t ever want to practice my activism and feminism without compañeras by my side.