Monday, October 6, 2008

The Judge and the General - Pinochet and Judge Guzman

Last night, I watched the PBS Point of View documentary, "The Judge and the General." This show aired back in August but, since my cousin was one of the Producers, I have my own personal copy of the show.

This show is a fantastic glimpse into the investigation of Augusto Pinochet for crimes against humanity. The other story line that is just as fascinating, is how this investigation changes Judge Juan Guzman, the judge assigned to the investigation. As he says in the film, the work he took on, "...opened the eyes of his soul."

To be honest, I knew very little of the tragedy and turmoil that occurred in Chile during Pinochet's regime. In a way, I was like Judge Guzman, who had lived in his own world, oblivious to the horrors taking place around him. But, unlike those who, even when the facts are so obvious it's like being hit on the head with a 2x4 , continue to deny reality, Judge Guzman saw, really saw, the evil around him and did something about it. He was a true judge, a seeker of justice. And, for me, watching this film, I was reminded, once again, of how heinous people can be when they are focused on their own desires for power and personal validation. It happens again and again; still, as a society, we allow, ignore, or participate in these horrible crimes against our own. Chile, with the legacy of the "disappeared" (estan donde?), the unlawful torture, the murders, and the horror, is not a topic I often hear people discuss.

We should not forget. We must, must, take the time to remind ourselves that these horrible crimes have occurred and that we must always be vigilant to try to stop them from happening again. Even today, after all that we've seen in the past, the Armenian massacres, the Holocaust, Darfur, Somalia, and so many other events, our society continues to find reasons to justify genocide and power grabs that lead to nothing but pain, suffering, and an endless cycle of violence.

If you haven't seen the Judge and the General, take the time to find it and watch. It is very well done, very informative, and a reminder that in the midst of evil, there are those who have the courage to stand up and seek justice. I am glad that I'm a little bit better informed about such a dark time.

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