I experienced that first hand today.
Today was a nice, sunny, spring day here in Buenos Aires. The beginning of August is usually the dead of winter here south of the equator, but climate change has helped to turn things around some.
The first Jewish Cultural Festival ever held in Argentina was going on today in Barrancas Plaza. Barrancas is the largest plaza in Buenos Aires Capital Federale and only about six blocks from home, so Ale and I got the cameras out and strolled over to get some shots.
Musicians, vendor booths, kids, food, popcorn, more food, more kids — like a typical festival anywhere in tthe states really.
After about an hour and a half we were both hungry and I had gotten all the shots I needed so we decided to head home for lunch.
Before we got 100 feet out of the park we passed three cops that were standing at the back of a black and white “policia” car eating lunch. Nothing wrong with that. They were hungry, so they were eating.
Ale raised her camera and started to squeeze off a few shots when one of the cops saw her and told her that she couldn’t be taking shots of them.
It runs in the family.
When the cop told Ale that, she squeezed off more shots and I joined in.
Two cops came over to us and I kept squeezing off the images while Ale and the cops kept up a running dialogue. I don’t know what was being said, but from the tone of each of them, it was getting heated.
I wasn’t about to let the cop touch my wife so I stepped between him and her and it was game on.
When the cop wouldn’t shut up, I told him what he could do to himself. While my suggestion to him was physically impossible, his inability to understand English suddenly disappeared, because he understood what I said and we were nose to nose.
Most of you reading this know me and know that I’m not going to back down if I’m not doing anything wrong. Judging from the number of chevrons on the cops jacket, he was the senior officer there and wasn’t going to be cowed infront of his subordinates, so he didn’t back down either.
For a woman that’s about five foot nothing and a hundred and nothing, Ale did one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen anyone do. She stepped between us.
I was confused. Was she trying to protect me from the cop or the cop from me. I don’t know. But Ale was making it clear in English and Spanish at the same time that we didn’t want any trouble and for the cop to leave us alone.
I was trying to keep an eye on Ale so she wouldn’t get in the way if fists started flying and I also had one eye on the cop in case he tried to sucker punch me. Figuring that Ale might just end up getting accidentally hurt if this nonsense continued, I backed away from the cop and Ale and I walked on down the street while the cop followed for a few yards still shouting something in Spanish.
I swear to God if Ale hadn’t have been there….well, you know how that is.
On the walk home, Ale’s heart finally left her throat and her pulse settled down from the sonic speed it had been racing and we talked as we walked.
It was then I fully realized why Ale had been so angry, pugilistic and upset with the situation.
In 1976 a military coup occurred here in Argentina. The next seven years have come to be called “The Dirty War”.
During The Dirty War, approximately 30,000 people were made to disappear. Writers, journalists, students, scientists and others that the military junta felt was a threat was picked up in the middle of the night — or kidnapped off the street in broad dayliight, never to be seen again.
The “tool” or “instrument” used to make people disappear? The policia.
I just gotta say, Te amo Ms. Nelson!