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Argentina - Who Am I - cortado - recommend settings

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Celebrations in Buenos Aires after the latest trial of the baby snatchers in Argentina. [♪ music ♪] Long prison sentences are handed out to those who stole the babies of government opponents, who were then murdered. For more than 30 years, hundreds of children have been brought up by couples who weren't their biological parents. If it were not for the tenacity of their real grandmothers, they would never have known. The fate of the kidnapped pregnant women was sealed the day they disappeared. I was convinced I was the biological daughter of my abductors. She said, "I think that's your mother and the baby is you!" And it was my mum. [♪ music ♪] [♪ Tango ♪] Midnight in Buenos Aires, and locals attend a Milonga, a tango session in a working class district. 35 years ago, during the military dictatorship, such an event was banned by the generals because it gave the opportunity for a gathering of people who might be tempted to plot against them. [♪ music ♪] It was a time of terror. Armed men, often in plain clothes and with unmarked cars, would raid homes to arrest mainly young people, militants or just those who were calling for the return of the democratically elected government, that had been overthrown by the military coup in 1976. Many were brought here, to the Army's Mechanical School, the now infamous ESMA. Which Argentinians can visit today to tour the erstwhile labor camp, torture center, and prison maternity ward. I was born here. My mother was tied to a table to give birth, just a regular table, not a hospital one. There was an army doctor at hand and two other women prisoners who had some experience of childbirth. Guillermo's parents were in their early twenties when they were rounded up by the military. Their crime was to fight against the dictatorship. They wanted change, equality, freedom and democracy. [♪ music ♪] This is the room where my mother was held. She asked the doctor if she could hold me and she named me Rodolfo Fernando. She spoke to me and told me she was my mum. And that was the last he saw of her. 5000 were allegedly imprisoned here at ESMA, and many were tortured and murdered. The Military Junta drew the line at killing pregnant women, but once they had given birth, they had outlived their usefulness. The majority of women who gave birth here are still missing. We assume they were drugged and thrown from planes in to the river on what we now call the "death flights." The regime murdered those who did not conform. They believed it was their duty to take babies born from those with subversive ideas, and give them to right-minded military couples. It took years for those who knew to dare tell the truth. 21 years after he was stolen, Guillermo's real family was contacted. One day, my granddaughter received an anonymous phone call about a boy who was born at ESMA on November 15th, 1978, which was the approximate date on which my daughter was due to give birth. With the eagerness of youth, she rushed to the address which the caller had given, which was where my grandson worked. She went there and introduced herself and the man said, "what do you want?" she said, "we could be brother and sister." Rosa Rosenbelt had been searching for her grandson for two decades, and had deposited a blood sample in a special data bank which had been set up by the families. A month after Guillermo gave his blood, she was among friends when she received a phone call. I picked up the phone and it was the geneticist. "Rosa", she said, "he is your grandson!" We were so happy. We jumped, we screamed, we cried, we laughed, we sang and jumped again. It was a mixture of emotions which I cannot explain in one word. Confusion at first, fear and lots of sadness and a feeling that I had lost so much time in getting to know my real family, that I had spent so much time with people I thought were my family and they weren't. They had stolen a part of my life. Guillermo's parents had disappeared two years into the dictatorship, by which time, thousands had disappeared. The government refused to explain, and families were getting desperate. We want to know where our children are, dead or alive. We're distraught because we don't know if they're ill, cold, hungry... we don't know anything. We are desperate and don't know where to turn to. The only newspaper to publish their story was the Buenos Aires Herald. A small circulation, English-language paper. Uki Goni was a young journalist there at the time. One thing that really stands out of my mind about my days reporting about this at the Herald, was that I often, I saw women coming up those steps to the Herald so many times to report the kidnapping of their kids, but I seldom saw a man, and whenever I saw a husband or a father coming up the staircase, he would usually be, he would be being dragged by his wife up the stairs. And when they sat down and talked about it, the man would be saying: "Shh! Shut up, don't talk about this, you know, because I might lose my job, he'll probably come back anyhow." "This is dangerous." And I think it says something about the nature of motherhood or womanhood in particular, and the fact that... cause I saw it myself happening. I was a young kid, I was only 23, 24 at the time, but I would see the response to their husbands, saying: "Shut up, I don't care, you know, I don't care if they kill me, I don't care if they kill you, I want to know where my son is." So what happened is that these women who were looking for their kids, going to the police station, going to the church, coming to the newspapers, they would meet there, they would discover at the police station that there were other women, other mothers in the same situation. And little by little they started getting organized. The mothers of these so called Disappeared, began to protest by walking around the Plaza de Mayo, outside the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires every Thursday, walking because formal demonstrations were forbidden. Nonetheless, they were attacked for their audacity. The worst day was one week before Galtieri declared war over the Falklands. That Thursday, the Thursday before he did it, they used everything against us. It was terrible. They fired at us with rubber bullets. They did everything they could to kick us out of the square. The mothers of the Plaza de Mayo were still looking for their children after the dictatorship was brought down by their defeat in the Falklands war in 1982. Around this time, they were told some devastating news by a journalist at the Herald. He said the fate of the kidnapped pregnant women was sealed the day they disappeared. They were never coming back because in every sector of the armed forces there were lists of couples who were waiting for the birth of those babies. The mothers became the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. And to begin with, they only had photos to go by. [♪ music ♪] They started looking for their grandchildren in parks, outside school gates. They even took jobs as domestic workers to get close to families whom they believed had stolen their grandchildren. We had found a granddaughter. We knew who her grandmother was. She and I would stand at the corner of her street and watch her leave for school in the morning and return home in the afternoon. Her grandmother was happy just seeing the child from a distance until we could get some of her blood and prove that they were grandmother and granddaughter. [♪ music ♪] On their own initiative, they set up a genetic data bank. Which was first used in the exhumations which took place in the 1980s to identify those of their children who hadn't been thrown from planes, but who had been buried in unmarked graves. We are not only looking for our grandchildren. We are also looking for the remains of our sons and daughters. We want that as well - our grandchildren and the remains of our children. They then persuaded the government to order the genetic testing of any child born during the military rule and whose parents were suspect. Which is how Irma found her granddaughter. We drew blood from her and it turned out to be a 99% match. She was our granddaughter. When she opened the door, she walked in with her two little girls, one at either side. And she was just like my daughter in law. When she saw me, she smiled and I thought, "she accepts me." Raquel is 82 and still looking. For Delia, the search has ended in further tragedy. This coup d'etat affected my generation - a generation of mothers, the generation of my children - who are the ones who are missing, our grandchildren - who are the children of the disappeared. [♪ music ♪] The memorial to the victims of State terrorism stands on the banks of the River Plate, close to the Military airport outside Buenos Aires from where the infamous dead flights took off to dump their human cargo into the sea. [♪ music ♪] The names of the tens of thousands who disappeared are inscribed on slabs of granite. Victoria Montenegro is the daughter of Roque Orlando and Hilda Romano Torres who was 18 when she disappeared, 10 days after her daughter was born. Victoria was brought up with the name Marisol, the daughter of a colonel, and proud of it. I see myself as very distant from my real uncles, cousins and grandparents, with very strong ideological beliefs, being brought up in an army barracks, and with a lot of ideological pressure as a small child. [♪ music ♪] But at the age of 25, she was told that her so called father had actually ordered the operation that killed her parents. I really didn't want to know the truth or anything about my real family. I was very angry with the Mothers and the Grandmothers. I hated them profoundly. I was convinced I was the biological daughter of my abductors. To me, it was a political thing for them to get their revenge on the Colonel. I was brought up to believe that our country had gone through a war and that he had had to fight in that war and that is why they wanted their revenge on him. She finally agreed to take a DNA test. She learned her true identity and her abductors were sent to prison. I can see now that what tied me to them was nothing to do with love. We were like a spoil of war to them. I must now salvage what I can from my life by acknowledging my true identity. [♪ music ♪] She also learned that the colonel had stolen two children. He had kept one and he'd given the other, the son of the murdered Horacio Petra Galla, to his housekeeper. When Lina came to the house to work, she would bring him with her. He was like a brother or a cousin. I am very proud of him. I couldn't believe it when I saw him the other day at the opening session of Congress. As a member of Congress, the young Horacio Petra Galla has promoted the laws that now force grandchildren like Victoria to accept the truth. He had his doubts about his parents when his girlfriend spotted a woman who resembled him on the Grandmothers' website. She found a woman with a baby in her arms. She said, "I think that's your mother and the baby is you!" And it was my mum. He went to the Grandmothers, and he had a blood test to prove it. Many grandchildren refused to be DNA tested at the beginning. The Judiciary had to intervene. It had been agreed in court that this was a crime against humanity with ongoing effects. The most important thing is the truth. [♪ music ♪] The generals banned public gatherings, raided homes, murdered people and stole babies. Today people can tango and State terrorism is at an end. And yet, police in Argentina today are raiding people's homes to seize their personal items in order to extract their DNA. Isn't this a little reminiscent of the past? When my mother died, they detonated a bomb at the door, and everyone in the house was shot dead. If my mother had not put me in the bathtub, I would also have been killed. A search warrant, on the other hand, has a legitimacy and follows a proper procedure. If no one answers or if they don't want to open the door, then they can break in. It is different. There is a legal process and the objective is very different. It is not to hurt people but to repair damage with the truth. It takes longer for some grandchildren than for others. Meanwhile, our grandmothers are waiting to be reunited with them after nearly 37 years. Now they can learn the truth. The moment came when we felt we had to do something, that impunity could not go on and we must fight for the truth. Television and radio stations regularly broadcast the latest news of the Grandmothers campaign. All the young presenters here are from families of the disappeared. They urge those who have doubts to get in touch and they give details of forthcoming trials. When I saw the ad on TV, it was like a sudden blow. All the information that had been whirling in my head suddenly formed a clear picture. The era in which I was born. My abductor's job as a soldier. I never saw a physical resemblance between us. We had a different way of thinking. I never agreed with them. Catalina de Sanchez never hesitated in helping get her abductors to stand trial. The latest of several that have taken place in Argentina over the last year. But why did it take so long to get the baby snatchers in court? Denial becomes part of the fabric of society, you know, because during the years of dictatorship, you learn to deny what's going on. And then afterwards, you have to keep on denying cause if not, it would mean admitting that you knew, you knew what was going on. So it's been extremely, extremely difficult for Argentina to deal with this kind of trials. Catalina attended every session of the trial, sitting just meters from the woman who had claimed to be her mother. For me, the most important thing that made me change my attitude towards my abductors was the realization that it had been necessary to murder my parents. Miriam and Raul were murdered in order to keep me and that makes my adoptive parents accomplices in my parent's death. In the event, the woman who stole her got 12 years in jail, and the man 15. [♪ music ♪] 108 grandchildren have now been found. The Grandmothers believe there are 400 still out there who don't know who they are. [♪ music ♪]

Video Details

Duration: 24 minutes and 21 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 25
Posted by: dave73085 on Mar 5, 2016

BBC Our World Argentina - Who Am I - cortado - recommend settings

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