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El día de la Memoria por la Verdad y la Justicia

As of 2006, March 24th became a national public holiday in Argentina, a day to remember los desaparecidos and other victims of the Dirty War. While todo el mundo recognizes victims of the war on this special holiday, many others reflect upon this historical event throughout the entirety of the year by visiting Córdoba’s Archivo Provincial de la Memoria, a former hidden detention center, which now serves as a museum. The museum provides visitors with the opportunity to reflect upon the everlasting effects of the Dirty War, as its walls display formerly-detained prisoner’s stories, and a mere walk through it’s labyrinth of hallways and glimpse of closet-sized cells –used to house four prisoners at a time– illustrate the truth of Argentina’s dark past.

I visited El Archivo Provincial de la Memoria during one of my March Spanish classes. Here are some of the photos that I took.

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The entrance to the museum.

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The names of algunos desaparecidos are written together to form the images of fingerprints on the walls outside of the museum. I love this.

We visited several salas, or display rooms, throughout the museum. In regards of the salas, there was a sign saying this:

“Estas salas relatan momentos, recuerdos, vidas, experiencias, amores… Cada álbum nos cuenta la historia de un desaparecido, de un ser humano con rostro, con nombre y apellido, historias, elecciones. Sus cortas pero intensas vidas, condensan sus deseos y luchas, sus pasiones y utopias. Certificados, fotos, documentos de identidad, cartas, poesías, ropas, pequeñas notas, libretas de ahorro o escolares, transmiten imágenes de mundos cotidianos, vividos, sufridos, disfrutados. Cada objeto refleja una energía social, recuperada en estas salas a través de las personas que produjeron cada álbum.”

In English, this would translate as, “These rooms recount moments, memories, lives, experiences, loves… Every collection tells us the story of a desaparecido (literally “a disappeared,” meaning a person who disappeared during the war), of a human being with a face, a first and last name, a story, decisions. Their short but intense lives are filled with their desires and struggles, their passions and utopias. Certifications, photos, identification documents, letters, poems, clothing, small notes, checkbooks and school notebooks all transmit images of everyday worlds, which were lived, suffered, and enjoyed. Every object reflects a social energy, recovered in these display rooms through the people that produced every collection.”

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The labyrinth layout of the prisoner ensured that captives could not orient themselves when inside. This wall has rugged edged because it wasn’t always an entryway – part of the original wall was removed to provide museum visitors with an easier way to navigate.

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Blue skies, a cool museum, and pictures. Happy day for me.

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Images from la “Sala de vidas para ser contadas: muestra permanente donde se recuperan las historias de vida de personas desaparecidas y asesinadas por el estado entre 1974 y 1983.”

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While I did not see the big march this past Monday (El Día de la Memoria), I witnessed a couple of small demonstrations. I never really understood what the crowd was chanting, but I enjoyed being amidst all of the energy on a holiday that is re importante para mis amigos argentinos. Here’s a picture I took!

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