I am the daughter of a former political prisoner who spent a long time imprisoned at Chacabuco, among other places. I am Monica, a little 9-year-old girl who travelled with a heavy heart full of sadness to visit her father, Gerardo García Salas, held at the Chacabuco concentration camp. I am an only child and in my young life, he is my sole reference point and, in essence, my image of masculinity.
To get to Chacabuco, we must cross many obstacles alongside so many other women, and I am anxious to embrace my beloved father. Holding my mother's hand and in the company of many other women, we waited under the desert sun and wind that carried stories from the past as we beat our brows to engrave that moment into our memory.
From the guard tower, the order was given for the comrades to come, and they appeared behind the bars that separated our lives, but never our purpose and meaning in life. With heartache and streaming tears, several prisoners began to appear, as well as the love and silent solidarity that vibrated and pulsated through those moments waiting for, anticipating the embrace, the looking directly into his eyes, making contact with the loved one’s heart, the touch of skin against skin among equals.
The song that finally sealed that profound reunion was a “tacit song” written by all the comrades present at that moment, while the men held their fists high, eyes gazing straight ahead, firm, expectant, and trembling behind the fence, observing how their daughters, wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers - their women- took flight with their own fists held high, wails suppressed in their throats.
That song had been written and was in every mind, subtly flooding that arid time and space we were experiencing with loving melodies of struggle. It is the most suffering, most painful, true, symbolic and freedom-loving song I have ever heard in the vast and implacable silence.
Published on: 13 January 2015
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