Copyer: Mr. Wright.
Jaime, tiredly: Yes?
Copyer: We’ve run out of things to copy. Do you have any more?
Jaime: What, no more? Are you sure?
Copyer: Quite sure.
Jaime: Do you realize what this means?
Copyer: Yes sir. It means I’m out of a job!
Act, scene 2
(Setting: the original group, seated around the table.)
Jaime: This has been the fulfillment of an impossible dream for me, and
I offer up my part in it to the memory of my brother. We have copied
over a million pages, transferred them to 500 microfilms, smuggled the
microfilms out of the country several dozen at a time. Already we have
boiled them down to a seven-thousand-page report, which will then be
further condensed to a summary digest that will be secretly printed and
then, in the summer of 1985, it will hit newsstands and bookstores all
over the country under the title Brazil: Nunca Mais (Brazil: Never
Lawyer: This will stand the military on its ear!
Another Lawyer: Great as this accomplishment is, we will still have to
live with the amnesty law. The government will never apologize. It
will still hold the army in readiness if people use this report as fuel
for the fires of revolution.
Jaime: True enough. But knowing the truth is, in itself, a kind of
victory over the powers of repression. And I think, if my brother could
be here, he would be proud of what we have done.
(The facts of this story are all true, but I have invented the dialogue
on the basis of my evening spent in Jaime Wright’s home in 1982, prior
to the publication of Brazil: Nunca Mais. For a longer account, see
Lawrence Weschler, A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with
Torturers (New York: Pantheon Books, 1990.)
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
Narrator: Setting: In 1976, Argentina suffered a military takeover.
Backed by the United States and its School of the Americas, the
Argentine military trained its personnel in techniques for controlling
the populace, including torture. All opponents were branded
“Communist,” rounded up, and between 9,000 and 30,000 were “disappeared”
(imprecise because the military won the right to destroy all records).
The preferred method of execution was drugging the victims and dropping
them naked from thirteen thousand feet into the Atlantic Ocean.
Catholic military chaplains actually blessed the murder of “subversives”