Thursday, November 7, 2013

A thin line between justice and revenge

Firstly, I’d like to say that I really enjoyed the conversation with Chascas. It was very educational and entertaining; I wish it could have gone on a little longer. Towards the end of the conversation, Chascas said something that really got me thinking. While talking about his past in Chile and how it has affected his writing, he said “There is a thin line between revenge and justice.” He was worried that too many people today still wanted revenge, rather than the justice they deserved. I was really surprised when he said this because he is from Chile, where a democratically elected president was overthrown by a coup d’etat led by a tyrannical dictator who later tortured, killed, disappeared, and drove thousands of civilians out of the country. From what I can remember from my “Geography of Human Rights” class junior year, Pinochet finally stepped down from the role as president in 1990, but remained commander in-chief of the army until 1998 and was declared a “senator for life,” which granted him immunity from prosecution. Chile never did prosecute Pinochet for his crimes, in fact it was actually Spain that filed charges against him. After committing so many heinous crimes and violations of Human Rights, Pinochet died without ever being convicted. I was so surprised when Chascas spoke about the thin line between revenge and justice because he comes from a country that hasn’t actually seen justice, so how can he judge (judge isn’t the right word here, it’s too harsh for what I want to say) but how can he be the one to decide whether these people are seeking revenge rather than justice. Taking a closer look at all of the Human Rights violations that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, it’s easy to see that very few people have received justice. At most, lower ranking officers have been tried for some of their crimes but there appears to be a fog of immunity around higher ranking officials who ordered the kills and torture. In a way, I believe that this lack of justice, not only in Chile, but all over Latin America, has in fact led to people wanting revenge; or is it that after so much time, the justice required is getting closer to what revenge would be? I feel like I’m having a very difficult time putting this into words. I think I was just so struck that Chascas didn’t seem to want any more justice for the Chilean people. 
Getting away from my rambling, I tried to apply this idea to the Colombian telenovela, “Escobar: El Patrón del Mal.” There is so much controversy with this telenovela. While many people hated Escobar, there is a significant population that thought he was a savior to the people. While the telenovela tries to historically portray his crimes, many critics think that making a telenovela about Pablo Escobar only glorifies him and his crimes. I was surprised to discover during one of the consumption presentations that the writers of the telenovela are the daughter of a journalist kidnapped by Escobar and the son of the editor of the Espectador killed by Escobar. Did they write the telenovela with the sole intentions of it being educational and to prevent history from repeating itself? Or is the telenovela their form of justice? Of revenge?

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