Escrache in Argentina means public shaming when there is no justice

While the Senate acts politically with its hearings of Gonzales et al and impeachment is “off the table” those plucky Argentineans have developed a tactic of public justice known as the Escrache.

What do you do when the people who kidnapped, tortured and killed your parents or relatives go free? When the doctors who attended your pregnant mother while in a concentration camp escape unpunished? The answer that many members of HIJOS, an organization of the children of the disappeared, extra-judicially executed and exiled in the Southern Cone countries, have come up with are escraches. An escrache involves setting up a demostration in front of the house or place of employment of a known torturer or killer, alerting the public as to his identity and his crimes. In a recent week, Argentinean doctor Raul Sanchez Ruiz was the object of an escrache. Sanchez Ruiz worked in the ESMA (Naval Mechanics School), the largest concentration camp in Argentina, where he made sure the disappeared did not die during the torture sessions, so that they could continue being tortured. He also attended the pregnant women who gave birth at the concentration camp, and is suspected of knowing the whereabouts of their children – most of whom were given to families and friends of the military to adopt as their own. The escrache included a play about a doctor who helped a military man adopt the child of a disappeared woman, and ended with red paint being thrown at the walls of the doctor’s house.

Like the sex offender registry, these events aim to make the neighbors of the Escrache target very aware of what kind of creep they live next to. The goal here is to make it hard for the meatball to move around without people calling him out for the scumbag he is. These Escraches involves targeted flyerring, noisemaking, graffiti painting, and mass rallies by the douche-bags own home. It’s a public justice thing.

A video (among many online escrache videos) advertising the public shaming of this Argentinian, Alfredo Bisardo, who looks like Karl Rove!! Twins missing at birth? Perhaps. They both seem to share a gene for complicity in genocide. The video shares the fleck of dirts home phone and address.

Thanks Jennifer Flores Sternad.

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith.

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