January 24, 2018
Monday, March 20, 2017

Macri’s day of infamy

Exactly 25 years ago today the Israeli Embassy in this city was blown to bits by a terrorist car-bomb. In the ensuing quarter-century while Saint Patrick’s Day has steadily gained presence worldwide far beyond its Irish homeland, that festive occasion has been forever marred here by the tragic memory of that terrorist atrocity. And yet it must be admitted in all honesty that this memory has faded somewhat over the years — ever since the winter of 1994 the destruction of the Israeli Embassy has stood in the shadow of its terrible twin, the terrorist blast shattering the AMIA Jewish community centre. In strictly numerical terms this is logical enough since the loss of life at the slightly more recent AMIA attack was far higher — 85 as against an estimated 29 in and around the Embassy (it has apparently been impossible to sort out the body bits completely in order to come up with a definite figure). Qualitatively the two attacks are comparable (it might even be said that the Embassy blast was the more serious because of its international ramifications) and yet AMIA has always had the limelight. The investigations into both attacks fell victim to mistrial and yet far more controversy surrounded ex-judge Juan Jose Galeano perhaps deliberately sabotaging the case against the suspected local connection than the eternal and inept Supreme Court probe of the Embassy blast including the absurd theory of implosion. Then came the fingers pointed at Iran (always over AMIA) at the United Nations, followed by the abrupt U-turn of the 2013 memorandum of understanding with the same country — the mysterious death of special AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman just over two years ago confirmed the protagonism of the second attack.
The Embassy destruction was rightly seen as an attack on the whole nation beyond its Israeli target since a nearby church and some neighbouring embassies (including the Irish, miraculously saved by St. Patrick’s Day from any fatalities) among other buildings were almost as severely damaged and yet the “we are all Jews” feeling which swept the country did more to express solidarity than to approximate the truth. In that context the spotlight on AMIA has intensified the focus on Iran when indications of a possible Syrian connection are much clearer in the Embassy case — at the time the 1992 car-bomb was widely attributed to Iran as the Middle East’s revenge on Argentina for participation in the Gulf War but that logic was primitively simplistic (why on earth should Tehran be angry with Carlos Menem for joining the international campaign against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein when the latter’s 1980-8 war against them had led to the loss of a million Iranian lives?).
Yet today nothing matters more than paying fitting tribute to the tragic loss of life exactly 25 years ago.        w
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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia