Father to Daughter: 'Do You Think I'm a Monster?'

Children of those who committed atrocities in Argentina cope with the legacy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2021 12:30 PM CDT
Father to Daughter: 'Do You Think I'm a Monster?'
Women stand inside the basement that served as an admitting area for detainees at the former Argentine Navy School of Mechanic, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the nation's 'Dirty War.'   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

The atrocities committed by the military regime that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983 have been well documented, with an estimated 30,000 people "disappeared" during the stretch that has come to be known as the Dirty War. Now, the children of that generation are increasingly speaking out to demand justice and accountability, the BBC reports. But there's a twist—the BBC's story isn't about the children of victims, it's about the children of the men who imprisoned, tortured, and killed people under the regime. One woman interviewed is Analia Kalinec, who discovered only at the age of 25 that her father, Eduardo Emilio Kalinec, was a notorious police officer known as "Doctor K" who participated in brutal interrogations and the torture of political prisoners. After his arrest in 2005, she confronted him in prison. "He asked me: 'Do you think I'm a monster?'"

"What did he expect me to say?" says Analia. "It was my beloved dad, I was so close to him… I was stunned." Her father, now serving a life sentence, showed no remorse for his actions, which are laid out in hundreds of pages of case files and in the testimony of those who managed to survive their imprisonment. Instead, he attempted to justify what he did as necessary for the country. That's a common experience among those interviewed in the story and a big part of why Analia and others have formed a group called Disobedient Stories to speak out against their own fathers and push back against the possibility of early release. They also want to amend Argentina's law to allow children to testify against their parents in cases involving crimes against humanity, in order to bring others to justice or perhaps shed light on the fates of some of the disappeared. (Read the full story.)

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