Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Lighthouse and The People

I tried for some time to get a decent photograph of the lighthouse, but perhaps the problem was that it's no-where near the sea. It's on the Gianicolo Hill above Rome and it was a gift to Rome from Argentinian Italians in 1986, marking 30 years since the Argentinian military coup. Under its rule, thousands disappeared. No-one knows the real number so a lighthouse is entirely appropriate because it is a very practical boundary between light and dark. In the maritime sense, it signals rocks or cliffs hidden in the darkness, waiting to tear out the hull of some unfortunate vessel. Light is also internal - the Koran sees God and heaven as light within a lamp encased in glass -  and the human heart is light too, a glass lantern set in the recesses of the body.This monument is about life so it's worth repeating the chilling communique that heralded the new rule. "People are advised that from this date, the country is under the operational control of the Joint Chiefs General of the Armed Forces. We recommend to all inhabitants, strict compliance with provisions and directives emanating from the military, security or police authorities, and to be extremely careful to avoid individual or group actions and attitudes that may require drastic intervention from the operating staff. Signed: General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier Orlando Ramón Agosti."
The lighthouse marks the boundary between the light of humanity and the dark forces that stand ready to assault it.