Hope ends 29-year march of Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

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One month ago, a historic event took place in Buenos Aires when the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo staged their 1,500th, and last, demonstration.

Crowds had been arriving since the day before, and tents littered the grass. Left-wing political factions had set up booths and were distributing literature. Images of Eva Peron and Che Guevara mixed with banners carrying slogans. Vendors on the outskirts hawked their wares to passers-by and tourists.

It was a festival, complete with musicians. But at the heart of the demonstration, solemnity reigned. The pyramid in the center was strung with photos of dead children. A loudspeaker intoned their names. The marchers walked slowly and silently around the pyramid. No one should forget what brought them here.

The Mothers began their protests during the Dirty War in Argentina, waged from 1976 to 1983, when the military government abducted, tortured and killed left-wing militants, stole babies born to pregnant prisoners, and obliterated any records that would help the families find the bodies or reclaim their grandchildren.

During this period, the word "disappeared" entered the lexicon. It referred to the kidnapped people who were never heard from again. Their families did not know if they were in a detention center, alive and being tortured, or dead and dumped into an unmarked grave. The censorship imposed by the military government prevented any discussion of the matter, and those who did not stay silent risked being disappeared themselves.

The Mothers counteracted this fear by bravery and love.

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