Usually in my blog I talk about art I am either working on or have finished. Today, however, I am relating a different kind of story—a saga that has been ongoing for 38 years and to which a symbol or logo has been ascribed: a white headscarf.
Every single Thursday a group of mothers, sisters, and relatives, wearing white headscarves, and called the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, march around the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They march for justice and to remind the world about the disappearance of their sons and daughters during political violence in the country between the 1970’s and 1980’s. More than 30,000 people were kidnapped and murdered by Argentinian extremist right-wing groups, or the military government, that seized power in a coup in 1976.
The mothers, in April of 1977, wanted to know what had happened to their children who had begun to disappear. A group of them spontaneously grabbed each other’s arms and started walking around the plaza in front of the presidential palace. It was the very first act of a courageous movement. At the beginning, three of the founding mothers, along with two French nuns and several activists disappeared, were tortured and thrown alive from planes. Nevertheless, and despite threats, other mothers continued to march. Many of the mothers have now died and some are in their 80’s. Last Thursday, while visiting Buenos Aires, I happened upon this march and had the privilege of walking along with the mothers and other supporters. Words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of sadness I experienced for their losses and as well as profound admiration for their courage, strength and determination.