raúl alfonsín

5 minutes after arriving at beatrice’s and kragen’s apartment, i am already on the way to congresso, where the dead body of former argentine president raúl alfonsín lies in state.

he died yesterday of cancer. he was already very old. long lines are in front of the congresso and this line goes to a sidestreet and wraps at least 5 times when we into it. it’s hot and the sun shines. people around us are very upset, clap their hands and scream „alfonsín, alfonsín!“.

buenos aires 1

buenos aires 1

kragen tells me the story of alfonsín. he was also called „padre de la democracia“ – „father of the democracy“, because he was the first president elected after the military dictatorship in the 70s and 80s, when thousands of argentinians just disappeared.
that’s less then 30 years ago, when i was already born. people were caught, tortured and killed because of their political opinion.
i have to admit, i didn’t know about alfonsin before. what we learn in school about south america is very little.

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some people approach us. they hear us talking in english and ask why we are lining up to see „their“ president. understandable.

after about 3 hours of waiting, we are able to enter the congresso and walk around the open coffin of the former president. it’s weird on one hand to do this as a stranger who has no connection to this man, but i am touched by the honest grief of the people around me.

opposed to the politicans in my country, who have to deal with more or less „trivial“ stuff like economy, this guy set a whole nation free from a cruel dictatorship. i am not that emotionally connected to the politicans in my country and i am happy there is no need for this.

it’s just my first day but i have the feeling that south america probably still deal with their very painful history. i am not used to that.