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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 10:46 AM
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Fathers of the Plaza de Mayo - the "Rearguard"

Through their decades-long struggle to uncover the fate of their missing children, forcibly disappeared during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship in Argentina, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in their emblematic white headscarves have earned international renown. Now a new documentary shines the spotlight on the men who supported and encouraged these brave women from the shadows: the fathers of the Plaza de Mayo.

"We would stay back on the street corners around the Plaza de Mayo so that wed know if anything happened to them," recounted one of the fathers interviewed in the new film, "Padres de la Plaza. Diez recorridos posibles" (Fathers of the Plaza: Ten Possible Journeys).

"We accompanied them," he commented, while another of the fathers defined their role in a slightly different way: "We were the rearguard."

The documentary shows that while they were not on the front lines of the battle, the fathers whose children fell victim to forced disappearance during the de facto regime have suffered as deeply as their mothers, and share the same nightmares and dreams.


The peaceful struggle initiated in 1977 by the women who continue to gather every Thursday for a silent walking vigil around the Plaza de Mayo, the large public square in front of the seat of the Argentine government, helped bring the crime of forced disappearance to the worlds attention.

They were followed by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an organisation formed by women seeking the whereabouts of grandchildren either born in captivity or kidnapped as babies and then illegally adopted by other families after their parents had been forcibly disappeared. Similar human rights groups have also been formed by other relatives - by children of the disappeared, and even brothers and sisters of the disappeared.


"The fathers never publically took up the struggle like the Mothers, we never created an organisation, although we were always there accompanying them. The Mothers didnt want us to get involved, because they were afraid we would fight back if we were provoked and end up in prison," explains one of the fathers interviewed in the documentary.

Another confesses that he has only begun to even speak about his son in public in the last two years, because whenever he tried to do so in the past, he would break down in tears.


Through his documentary, Daglio turns the spotlight for the first time on the men who were seldom seen or heard, yet always there. "We wanted to provide a forum where their voices could begin to be heard," he said.

At the same time, by telling 10 of the thousands of possible stories, Daglio hopes to shed light on "the magnitude of the genocide," he added.

After the return to democracy in Argentina, close to 10,000 cases of individuals detained and subsequently "disappeared" during the seven years of dictatorship were officially registered. Human rights organisations, however, place the real number at closer to 30,000.


The film closes with all of the fathers gathered in the Plaza de Mayo. Some have known each other for years, while others formally meet for the first time, here where their wives continue to join together every Thursday, in their relentless search for the truth, and for healing. (END)

bringing history out of the shadows

good on Daglio
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