Last week, IFJ leaders, who were meeting in Buenos Aires for their statutory meeting, took part in heart-wrenching memorial events organised by the IFJ affiliate in Argentina, FATPREN.
It is important that we, as trade unions, mark the lives of all those who have fallen for the cause of workers. The international labour movement publishes every year the grim list of those who have been persecuted for standing up and leading workers or just for being active. The IFJ publishes every year a killed list of journalists who died for the cause of journalism, but there is nothing more emotionally powerful than memorial events involving the families of the killed journalists, their colleagues, their friends and neighbours, and just ordinary people wanting to pay their respect.
We must thank FATPREN in taking the lead to rekindle the memories of all the journalists who have fallen during the dark years of the military-sponsored state terrorism in Argentina. They brought together the families of the 130 mostly disappeared journalists, and invited their relatives, friends, colleagues to join in a moving celebration of their lives and achievements.
IFJ Executive members stood shoulder to shoulder with Plaza de Mayo mothers in a poignant act of healing through remembrance and a joint commitment to get to the truth and justice for the 30,000 people who disappeared at the hands of the dictators, including the 130 press workers. Relatives queued to tell the stories of their loved ones and pledged to keep fighting for the truth. “We have not been defeated” many of them said in defiance.
A photographic exposition was on display showing the work of Raymundo Gleyzer, film director and cameraman, founder of a film institution, who was kidnapped and disappeared in May 1976. IFJ Honorary Treasurer, Wolfgang Meyer, presented a watch on behalf of the union of metal workers in Germany, to the family of Andrés Lucio Ariza, a correspondent of the magazine of the union.
A few days earlier, I helped launched a plaque at the site where journalist Emilio Jáuregui was killed by police on 27th June 1969 at the corner of Calle Anchorena (picture below). Emilio, who previously worked for La Nación newspaper, was general secretary of the FATPREN union, but he was targeted, and sought out for death for the simple reasons that he stood up for the right of his fellow workers, and stood up against injustice.
This kind of memorial is crucial for us journalists and marked Emilio as one of our many martyrs. These events took up one step further in helping us break the anonymity of killed journalists and fight against impunity.
We will never forget them.
A special video of the FATPREN events can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8r4yJblwes
Pictures Ruben Corral