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A Patriotic Tango 

My Third Time Back to Argentina


 

English Translation of Professor Hon-Ming Lam's articles from 23 March — 4 April 2017. The original Traditional Chinese version is posted on Facebook (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4).

 

1. The Demonstration of The Argentine Masses


It took over thirty hours, but my friend TF and I finally arrived at our first destination, Córdoba in Argentina, to carry out an academic trip that would hopefully connect Hong Kong scientific research to developing countries.


The first day was a preparation meeting. Nacira introduced to us the highlights of the trip, the institutions we would visit, the subjects of academic reports and the personnel that we would meet. (Editor’s note: Nacira Muñoz is a Professor at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and a researcher at the Argentine National Agricultural Technology Institute. She has collaborated with Professor Lam on soybean research and related publications.) Apart from that, she also briefly described the situation regarding Argentina’s soy production and scientific research.


Courtesy of Hon-Ming Lam

By dusk, Nacira brought us to see an important mass march. On March 24, 1976, the totalitarian Argentine Government assumed power by coup d'état and installed a civic-military dictatorship. From 1976 to 1979, 30,000 young critics of the Government were "disappeared"; all were believed to be killed by the dictator. Since democracy was restored in Argentina, that day has been marked as the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice.


Every year tens of thousands of people gather on the streets, in them not only are the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo who seek to bring justice to their disappeared children, but also lots of young people, along with parents bringing their kids to ensure that every generation would never forget the lessons of history. I saw the sign " construyendo memoria" plastered to a toddler, who was still in his mother's arms: it meant "constructing memories", which spoke to what many parents had in their minds.

Courtesy of Hon-Ming Lam

" Podrán morir las personas, pero jamás sus ideas" ("Men die, but dreams don't") -  Che Guevara

Nacira told me that Argentinians are patriotic; they are willing to fight for their nation or even sacrifice for it, but unwilling to stay silent in the interest of the government. That's because government officials do not equate to the nation, but are just civil servants. This is the Argentine understanding of democracy.


In the procession were many energetic students, one of their banners had "por la educacion liberadora" written on it, which explained the important connection between education and freedom. I went into the ranks of the students and walked along with them for a stretch. I cleansed my three-month-long doldrums with the passions of youth, straightened up, and braced myself for the results of an election that Hong Kong citizens did not have a vote in, but would nevertheless make a deep impact on the city. (Editor's note: Professor Lam hereby refers to the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive Election, where an 1194-member Election Committee determined the person taking the highest office of the HKSAR.)