On Dictatorships

On Dictatorships

Being born in a country that suffered the horrors of one of the most systematic, calculated and violent dictatorships the world has seen in recent years, it’s hard not think about it. Here are some random thoughts on the dictatorships:

What would I’ve done back then?

This will probably be one of the biggest mysteries for me in the course of my life, since I highly doubt I’ll ever live under a dictatorship. The western world has become too flat, too decentralized, too connected and over-informed for a dictatorship to be the choice of any government, and the eastern world is catching up. Fortunately, only a mad man would believe in the year 2010 that a dictatorship is an effective way to rule, whatever his objectives are. The fact that dictatorships don’t work is too obvious by now.

One obviously appreciates being born after it was over. However, this sense of gratification is not enough to prevent one from wondering how one would have reacted in such a situation. Would I have been chased because of my thoughts? Would I have been too afraid to speak up? Or worse, would the system had such a prohibitive effect on my mind that I wouldn’t even want to speak up or question the establishment?

My guess: I would have been persecuted too. Not because I would have played a subversive role (I’m not a fan of politics and choosing sides). No, I believe I would have been punished because the prohibition to ask questions would have been unbearable for me. I hold objectivity, truth and integrity over any other personal value, and a dictatorship doesn’t allow that. I’m too curious and outspoken.

What would my generation do now?

Would the current western generation of young people fight against the system to the point of risking their lives, torture and even the safety of their loved ones? Are we capable of getting involved in a cause that puts everything on the line?

I don’t know. This generation is the most outspoken and self-entitled generation the world has seen so far, and there is certainly no lack of young activists. But it’s not a hidden cause, it’s not a rebellion, it’s never pain and death what’s at stake.

Again, I don’t know.

Permanent damage

I’ve always thought that the worst thing the last dictatorship did to my parents’ generation was to install the fear of asking. There’s too much status-quo worshiping in them, no risk taking, no questioning, no shining.

I blame the dictatorship. It has poisoned the minds of Argentinians and it only keeps spreading, from generation to generation, by being afraid to be different and challenge the system. It’s not just fear of failure, it’s fear of physical consequences, fear of being noticed.

The thing that saved me and all the other out-of-the-box thinkers in Argentina I know from that poison?

The internet.

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