From ‘A rapist on your way’ to defending the violation from Parliament: what has happened in Chile? | Culture

Covid is a runaway stopwatch that has taken time out of its boxes. Everyone knows that 2020 lasted more than 12 months and that the cause-effect relationship no longer responds to any logic. Anyone who attended the 2019 FIL the debates of the Chilean delegation left with the feeling that the Outbreak would give rise to a more egalitarian society on Earth, that from 2022 to 2026 La Moneda would be occupied by a Mapuche president and that, if Bod Dylan has the Nobel Prize, Lashesis would win the Cervantes for his contribution to oral literature with A rapist in your way. The change seemed unstoppable.

Two years later, a far-right candidate (José Antonio Kast) has won the first round of the presidential elections and one of his advisers (Johannes Kaiser) has had to resign for stating, among other niceties, that “men who rape women ugly deserve a medal ”. In addition to youtuberKaiser was an elected deputy, that is, he came to Parliament with those ideas. Or, what is worse, thanks to them.

What happened between the first and the second paragraph? As Alejandro Zambra says, something that seems the work of a lazy screenwriter. Question: “How do I end a popular protest movement that grows in the streets fueled by the indignation and joy of a huge mass of people?” Answer: “Invent a pandemic.” Without needing to invent anything or give credence to the conspiracy theory, the pandemic effect – the doctrine of the shock!- is there. A harsh confinement called to stop the advance of one of the highest mortality rates in the world ended up producing in Chile a mixture of fear and obedience that seemed from other times. It should not be forgotten that this is a country that still remembers General Pinochet’s bloody semantic contribution to the phrase “curfew”.

Alejandro Zambra at his home in Mexico City.
Alejandro Zambra at his home in Mexico City.Alejandra Rajal

The stupor of the Chileans at FIL recalls that of the French in 2002. That year the unthinkable happened: ultra Jean-Marie Le Pen swept Lionel Jospin and played the second round with Jacques Chirac. This year the grand prize of the Guadalajara fair, the FIL of Romance Languages, has gone to Diamela Eltit, a 72-year-old from Santiago. However, as much as a writer seems the ideal person to deal with the implausible, the conversation with her quickly shifts from books to politics. For this reason, in Guadalajara, when he is not receiving tributes or meeting with a thousand young people in an assembly hall with traces of a sports center, he is looking for a way to help Gabriel Boric, the left-wing candidate who faces Kast on December 19. .

The latest polls are favorable, but Eltit does not trust. Neither she nor Rubí Carreño, Mónica Barrientos or Lorena Amaro, the expert teachers in her work who have accompanied her from Santiago. Neither did her husband, Jorge Arrate, a collaborator of Salvador Allende when he was barely thirty years old and a minister in the governments of Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei. Tradition (the winner of the first has never lost in the second round in Chile) and demobilization play in favor of the far-right candidate. That is why they do not trust the most triumphant polls and strive to organize a door-to-door campaign to call the vote for, insists Diamela Eltit, “the unconvinced.” He’ll get to it as soon as he gets home. He is, without a doubt, the right person: he has never written to tell anyone what he wanted to hear.

The Argentine publishing house Ampersand has just published a book in its priceless collection dedicated to the reading memories of authors such as Margo Glantz, Alan Pauls, María Moreno, José Emilio Burucúa or Tamara Kamenszain. Its titled The eye in the sight and it is unusually autobiographical for a writer like her, refractory to the first person. “The political task is to restore the letter,” he writes there. It refers to the need to break the “genital binary” between women’s and men’s literature, but it is impossible to read that phrase without thinking that in the next two weeks it has something else to restore: the illusion of a country that, despite the plague, does not want to go back to the Middle Ages.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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