2020-01-20 – One year from today, the darkness lifts . . . or it gets worse. I’m voting for lifts. But today I’m thinking about how this sort of thing happens.
The idea came up while I was listening to a Spanish-English podcast. The story was about a mujer (woman) and her family who lived in exile from her home in Uruguay during the reign of a military dictatorship there. I don’t always get the entire story because I’m just learning Spanish, but my mind tries to fill in the gaps.
In this case, I understood that the military dictatorship was right-wing. I also understood that the woman and her husband had joined the communist party there in protest of the junta. They were labeled enemies of the people and had to flee the country. They couldn’t return for nine year (nueve años—I got that part).
What I didn’t get was whether the woman believed in communism or if she just joined because of her opposition to the military dictatorship. Was she authentically radicalized? Or was she just reacting to a perceived threat?
I don’t know. That might not have been part of the story. But I don’t know enough Spanish to say for sure.
Now, the barrier to my understanding was inadequate language skills in Spanish. But it occurs to me that we have other barriers to understanding “radicalized” people—in our country or elsewhere.
My fantasy about the mujer in this story is that she was not authentically radicalized. But leaders of the junta and leaders of the Uruguayan communist party were in a tacit partnership to radicalize her. The junta needed scapegoat. The communist party needed radicals. It didn’t matter to either extreme whether the mujer was a true believer. They just needed pawns.
I have always had a suspicion that enemy leaders act more like partners in creating misery for those of us in the middle.
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