Maria Nazar

Chile

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Maria Nazar's story

It was a beautiful morning of early spring or nearly spring. 11-09-1973. School, year 10, it was a promising day. But the Art teacher was getting late, very late. Around 8.45, an inspector came to tell us that school was suspended for a while. We were instructed to go home because something very bad was happening in the city. I was 14 at the time. My friends and I started the long walk home. Militaries in full uniform, holding heavy armament and wearing orange scarfs were passing fast in their green jeeps.

It was a paralysing moment, I was experiencing fear for the first time.

When I arrived home, my mother explained something, but in a hurry, because people were told of the curfew, that everybody had to be inside their homes or be killed. I was sent to my grandmother's home with emergency provisions, just in case the curfew was a little bit longer. People talked about a coup d’état, but I had no idea of what was that.

The fallen bombs on Government House on TV, and in the afternoon, the generals —I don’t want to write their names, keeping my writing clean— saying that Allende had killed himself and that they were taking his body away; only then I realized that these guys were criminals.

My father sent us to bed early, just when the evening light started to go grey, and he told us to be respectful with the sound of our voices, because “too many people are going to suffer and even die tonight. This is the beginning of a dark, cruel and long night for Chile”. There were his words, the ones that gave me more goose bumps, because my father was a man of vision. He knew what he was talking about.

I spent my youth under such dictatorship. We suffered a lot. I grew up helping people who were in worst way than us (we did not have any disappearances in our family). When the dictator died, I felt free. But not entirely, because when you've experienced brutality, you are always suspicious and untrusting. I became an adult on 11-09-1973.

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