Survivors Among Us

This lovely picture is two survivors from La Perla, An isolated detention center during the dictatorship in Cordoba, Argentina. It became a museum after the junta’s were removed from power. The dictatorship resulted in thousands of disappeared people (victims) and a small population of survivors. La Perla has a hefty prisoner count of about 2,200 and only about 17 survivors. Among those seventeen people, we had a chance to speak to two. Prisoners of  La Perla endured unfathomable human rights violations they are still suffering from today. An article claimed “victims… have severe and debilitating psychological problems as a result of human rights abuses…Common responses to these traumas include PTSD, depression, and suicidal behaviors” (McLoughlin, 2008).  

The first picture is a man named Hector Kohen. He has not visited La Perla for the more than 30 years. Hector walked around the camp with a film crew documenting his experience. Ironically, when asked how he coped with living in a man-made purgatory he stated it wasn’t a priority. His response was similar to an out of site, out of mind thought. It was different but not unreal. 

The next survivor was also taken to La Perla when she was about 22 years old. She was taken with her family minus her brother. I thought it was interesting how aggressively the Argentine government searched for selected prisoners. Anyway, she was tortured and manipulated (slightly more aggressively due to her Jewish heritage) in La Perla. When I asked how she coped with the trauma after the experience she stated she left Argentina for a while and shares her story with others to help. Disclaimer: this is an offguard with Fernando because he is a survivor as well. 

 

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