On July 18th, 1994, the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) was struck by a van loaded with explosives, resulting in 85 casualties and over 300 injuries. July 18th marks the 20th anniversary of this attack, a date made all the more resonant due to the fact that no one has ever been convicted for the crime.
This date was planted firmly in my mind when I planned my research trip. I knew I wanted to be in Buenos Aires to attend the commemoration, but I had not anticipated that multiple remembrances that would take place. This change of events serves to reiterate what CLACS has informed us throughout the planning process for our research trips; things change once you’re on the ground.
At the site of the attack, the AMIA will be holding a commemoration. Memoria Activa, a group organized around demanding convictions for the attack, is holding its commemoration in front of the Palace of Justice. These groups have been divided due to their feelings about a memorandum, now rendered unconstitutional, which called for a joint investigation between Argentina and Iran into the orchestrators of the attack. Memoria Activa perceives the AMIA, and the Jewish community more broadly, as interested in maintaining the status quo and blocking investigations about the attack.
Since the commemorations will be held at the same time, in order to coincide with the timing of the attack, I’m faced with a choice. Do I attend the official commemoration hosted by the AMIA, or do I attend Memoria Activa’s event?
While I have my own feelings about which event I’d prefer to attend, I’m approaching this problem practically. Because the AMIA was the site of the attack, news outlet will be more likely to cover their commemoration. As such, I’m planning to attend Memoria Activa’s event. Tomorrow’s events are already proving to be informative.
Wendy Escobar – MA Candidate at CLACS / Museum Studies at NYU