A time like no other (Argentina 1978)
Updated: Aug 22, 2018
A companion blog to THE SOUND OF A BROKEN CHAIN, which draws parallels between a troubled time in Argentina and our present.
“One question came up in my mind too late for him to answer it...Can countries learn from the mistakes of others?.”
After reading a recent, hopeful book about the history of American democracy—”The Soul of Democracy”—and meeting its author, Jon Meacham, one question came up in my mind too late for him to answer it.
Can countries learn from the mistakes of others?
This blog, which supports and enhances the historical background of my upcoming novel, The Sound of a Broken Chain, would try to answer this question.
If I’ve learned anything from my life’s experience is that we don’t learn enough about the world and its history, the massive forces that shape countries and peoples like drifting continents. We can live in a city (or a country) for years and know very little about its history. At some point, living near New York City and excited with learning about all things New York, I realized that I knew a whole lot less about a city where I’d lived for decades—Buenos Aires.
The same happens with History, to almost everybody. The people who take a naturalization test would know more about a country’s history—and its constitution—than 90% of the native-born citizens. And this isn’t specific to the United States. A few years ago, a survey of German students revealed that about half of them didn't know that Hitler had been a dictator, and almost the same number had trouble understanding the differences between Nazism, communism, and democracy—some were unaware they were living in a democracy.
In some ways, I feel the same about Argentina. People have lied—or wrote what I now know were biased histories—about its journey as a country, and reading them I got to a point where I wasn’t sure anymore of which parts of that history were true. The answer—I am an academician, after all—was a whole wall of books and a personal quest. This led to my novel, The Sound of a Broken Chain, a science fiction-themed fictional story about the choices we face when confronted with our destiny.
If you were told that you’re going to make a fateful choice, small but enormously significant, and change the world for the worse, would you know what you should change in your actions?
And, if you could travel back in time to save humanity, would it be so simple as to pick up a gun and kill the usual suspects?
There was a time in my life, a single moment in time, when I felt that history was going astray. Afterwards, I wished that if were given the means to go back, with my knowledge of the future intact. I would be able to change something…but what something?
That moment, a time like no other for the country of Argentina, was 1978. And hopefully, we may all learn something about the present of our world by looking deeply into that past. Forty years ago.
This is the goal of this blog. To seek that old mirror and turn it around, so we can study the reflection of a time now gone under layers of new history. To look at the past as it was in order to see our present for what it is.
A time of great crisis for the world. A crossroads for humanity.
The time machine is waiting.