Consciousness or Oblivion?

The web based news outlet ‘Truth-out’ has recently reported on the call from Chilean Australians for extradition back to Chile of former DINA agent Adriana Rivas, who has been living in Australia for “36 years, despite knowledge of her participation in the crimes committed at the Chilean torture and extermination centre known as Cuartel Simon Bolivar – the place where no one got out alive..”

The article raises issues I have raised in this blog about sanitising and reinventing history to suit political propaganda interests. The article jolted my memory of Pinochet’s 1995 TV quote “The only way to solve problems is olvido (oblivion). If day after day we are always returning to the same point, we will continue fighting. Forget it, do not talk more about the issue, then you will forget and I will forget.”

This “forgeting” suited the Pinochet dictatorship by allowing them to continue to present themselves as saviours of Chile from Allende’s Marxist hell. Those who lived the struggle and were so close they could smell the dictator’s weapons of treachery and death like so many of the Chilean people who chose NOT to forget the torture, murder and disappearances remember them in terms of the struggle for justice.

It is said that the victors write history.

This is now being challenged and our capacity for understanding can be matched by the plethora of information available to us but we have to choose this more difficult way. There is opportunity to choose conscious reflection over Pinochet’s ‘oblivion’ and government aided ‘forgetting’ to secure the survival of social truths in history. We are being challenged by very powerful propaganda machinery and can choose to dig deeper, to ignore or to question and challenge the information we are fed.

This does not mean ‘unfriending’ people who think differently or sticking with those who think like we do. It doesn’t mean blindly accepting the pap we are served. It means talking to the wise, the elders, those who were there, those who have something to offer, listening to our children and our grandparents and listening across cultures and time.

Communities that are fair, alive and creative are those that are conscious and aware, not insular communities that actively pursue ‘forgetting’ or deliberately ignore complex problems and ‘the bad stuff’ on their way to oblivion.

Muerte al olvidola verdad abraza la Conciencia (Death to Oblivion- Truth Embraces Consciousness)