Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pinochet's bullshit

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From the BBC: "Chile's former military ruler Augusto Pinochet has said he takes political responsibility for everything that happened during his 18 years in power."

Here's some of what he said (or rather of what his wife read on his behalf): "Today, near the end of my days, I want to say that I harbour no rancour against anybody, that I love my fatherland above all... I take political responsibility for everything that was done."

Everything? Well, certainly the coup that brought down the democratically-elected Salvador Allende in 1973. He claims to have had "no other motive than to make Chile a great place and prevent its disintegration," but, well, that's where the bullshit comes in. For he doesn't seem to understand what might be wrong about overthrowing a democratic government. And he doesn't take responsibility for the human rights abuses that were committed, but that's because he doesn't think any human rights abuses were committed.

For more, see this BBC profile of the former dictator: "It was he who ordered many of the purges that saw more than 3,000 supporters of the Allende regime killed, thousands more tortured, and many thousands more again forced into exile."

And see Costa-Gavras's powerful film Missing, with Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.

And see these important resources: Remember-Chile, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.


Now might be a good time to post the lyrics of "The Fletcher Memorial Home" by Pink Floyd:

take all your overgrown infants away somewhere
and build them a home
a little place of their own
the fletcher memorial home for incurable tyrants and kings

and they can appear to themselves every day
on closed circuit t.v.
to make sure they're still real
it's the only connection they feel
"ladies and gentlemen, please welcome reagan and haig
mr. begin and friend mrs. thatcher and paisley
mr. brezhnev and party
the ghost of mccarthy
the memories of nixon
and now adding colour a group of anonymous latin
-american meat packing glitterati"
did they expect us to treat them with any respect

they can polish their medals and sharpen their
smiles, and amuse themselves playing games for a while
boom boom, bang bang, lie down you're dead

safe in the permanent gaze of a cold glass eye
with their favourite toy
they'll be good girls and boys
in the fletcher memorial home for colonial
wasters of life and limb
is everyone in?
are you having a nice time?
now the final solution can be applied

General Pinochet is in there somewhere.

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