Monday, December 11, 2006
We all know by now of the passing of former South American hard man Augusto Pinochet; I have nothing to add to an assessment of the old bastard other than to say that I hope the worms give his corpse a good thorough going-through. It is sad, though inevitable, that he died in his bed, and was never made to suffer for his crimes but Chile can be proud of itself for the way it has fought back against the bullying and thuggery of the General and his supporters, without ever stooping to the same level as them. Due process was observed every step of the way in the state prosecutor's efforts to bring Pinochet to trial, and though this exercising of a democratic mandate was obviously enough to outrage those on the Chilean right, it did not rend the country in two, as conservative elements predicted. Current President Michèle Bachelet's government is to be congratulated for refusing a state funeral for the man, though she might find it hard to stomach that he will be buried with military honours, considering that she lost her father, a military man himself, in the same torture chambers that she and her mother were also brought to. I recall a quote of a supporter of Pinochet from back when he was under house arrest in London in 1999: they said that 'he saved the country; before he came to power, you couldn't even get blue jeans in Chile.' Sometimes if consumerism isn't working, it needs fascism to underwrite it. My greatest fear is that there would be many in European countries that would think the same way.