In Memory Of...

by Carmen Cruz

When most people think of September 11th, they think of New York, terrorists and the twin towers. A horrible and devastating tragedy.

The sad thing is, there's a heart-breaking tragedy that happened on September 11th, back in 1973. Not a lot of people talk about it, but they should.

Tuesday, September 11th, 1973, a coup d'etat organized by the Chilean military and funded by the US government took place. Democratic President Salvador Allende was assassinated. The military took over the government a dictatorship ruling began. Left wing supporters were hunted down and beaten, arrested, tortured or even killed. Can you imagine? Being tortured or killed for your political beliefs?

My father was one of those left wing supporters who was arrested and tortured. To this day, he's never told us exactly what happened to him, and to be quite honest, I don't think my heart could stand to truly know. Luckily, my father survived an entire year in prison. He was released and the beautiful and amazing country of Canada welcomed him with open arms, as a political refugee.

My dad was one of the lucky ones. Hundreds of thousands of other people weren't so lucky. They're called 'the disappeared'. Under cover right wing supporters or military came knocking on the doors of people's homes and work, asking to speak to various individuals. Many of these people would 'go for a walk' with military officers and were never seen again. To this day, no one knows what happened to 'the disappeared.' Some theories are that these people were killed, their stomachs were slit open and they were thrown into the ocean. There are other theories - some still more gruesome - that I won't get into. Either way, the bodies of these missing people have never been found, and their loved ones will never have the answers they deserve, or the peace of knowing where the bodies of the missing now rest.

Sting wrote a song about this called 'They Dance Alone'. The song talks about the many people (mostly women) who have lost the ones they love and are left to dance alone...

I consider myself so incredibly fortunate to be the very first member of my family to have been born in Canada, and on every September 11th, I take the time to remember what happened in Chile, what the people of Chile have been through and how truly lucky we ALL are. I'll never underestimate the strength of the human spirit, and namely, the strength and determination of my father and mother.

Today, my heart goes out to Chile and all the people who love the country.

Viva Chile!!!