Paola Gianturco’s book Grandmother Power, a moving collection of essays and photographs from powerHouse Books, profiles grandmother activists from 15 countries on five continents around the world who are agitating for change and for the rights of their grandchildren. Below is an excerpt from the chapter entitled “Justice: Argentina.”
Argentine grandmothers began searching for their grandchildren as soon as they learned the youngsters had been stolen by the military, an event that set the agenda for the rest of their lives.At the beginning, their investigations were greeted with silence. The public was too afraid to acknowledge that between 1976 and 1983 the junta “disappeared” 30,000 people, forcing them into secret detention camps where they were tortured for information, then murdered.Explaining the government’s strategy to eliminate leftist dissent, General Iberico Saint-Jean promised,“First we will kill all the subversives, then we will kill their collaborators, then their sympathizers, then those who remain indifferent and finally, we will kill the weak.”
The “Disappeared,” as they are called, ranged from innocents to intellectuals to guerrillas many were blue-collar workers and students.