August 4, 2002

Courage and respect are values that never die


Once I heard a well-known diplomat utter the following phrase: ”If we had had half a Wallenberg in Argentina during the years of the military dictatorship, there would not have been disappeared people”. The metaphor is controversial, but does not it express the truth?

The most moderate calculations estimate that Wallenberg saved between 40 to 50 thousand lives (even though the figure that is most often mentioned is approximately one hundred thousand). Had Argentina from 1976-1983 had somebody with half the courage this Swedish diplomat showed, the tragedy of the disappeared, which marks Argentina forever – not only in the History books but also in its memory – would not have taken place.

A paradox of life or, maybe, a foreseen end for he who fought against one of the bloodiest dictatorships in history, Wallenberg finished himself disappearing at the hands of a totalitarian regime as cruel as the one headed by Adolf Hitler.

Courage, solidarity and respect for your neighbor; those are values that never die and for whose validity we should do something, no matter how small or big, everyday. Individual freedoms are like health: they must be taken care of while they exist, because when we lose them it happens to be too late.

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