Surface our disappeared! Resist U.S. Imperialist Militarist Aggression Against the World’s Peoples

Statement of the International Women’s Alliance on the International Day of the Disappeared

30 August 2013


The practice of making a person ‘disappear’ has been utilized by government’s to silence dissent, leaving no traces of anything being perpetuated in the hope of erasing opposition completely. We see this strategy being employed where dissent against a government is most prevalent. States, through various means, like its security forces, private armed groups, and paramilitary groups, attempt to deflect accountability from this practice.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s in Argentina’s Dirty War the term ‘desaparecidos’ was used to fill in the void left by hundreds and thousands of people being disappeared. Asked to comment on the matter by the press, General Jorge Rafael Videla, then Argentina’s de facto President said “They are neither dead nor alive. They are disappeared”. Until today, it is believed that at least 30, 000 people have been disappeared in Argentina. In different parts of the globe many of our brothers and sisters working for genuine national and social liberation are still missing while we ourselves face the constant threat of disappearing. Even today, when various international instruments have been promulgated against enforced disappearances the practice continues. It is now upon us—those who remain to end the culture of impunity, demand the surfacing of our relatives and friends, and justice from the state. In Mexico, between the years 2006-2011 an estimated 5,397 persons have been disappeared, 1,885 are women. In Syria, the combined cases of enforced disappearances during the successive rules Hafez and Bashar al-Assad since the 1970s are at an estimated minimum of 10, 000 to as many as 120, 000, with 4,000-50, 000 women missing based on different estimates—even observers find it difficult to ascertain the exact number of disappeared. In the Philippines, there are at least 1, 800 victims of enforced disappearances since the Marcos Dictatorship. Most damning of all, especially in the wake of America’s War on Terror: the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances currently has nearly 43, 000 open cases.

U.S. and other imperialist nations’ hands are bloodied. The U.S. along with other imperialist nations have consistently backed fascist dictatorships to serve as pliable conduits of its neoliberal policies started at around the time enforced disappearances became in vogue along with an increase in incidences of human rights violations in general. Today, with the intensifying financial and economic crises being experienced in the heartlands of imperialism a new wave of intensifying human rights violations are being perpetrated by states, with the support or even direct participation of the U.S. We must see these disappearances as signs of a people rising up to resist imperialist plunder of their nations and as such raise our struggles from finding our disappeared to fighting against the imperialist militarist attack against the world’s peoples.

To those of us left behind, we have a responsibility to fill the emptiness left by our daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, and friends. We must fill this emptiness with the memories and struggles of the disappeared, we must unite with other families, friends, and other people with whom we share our emptiness. We must continue to search the disappeared. We must be relentless in pursuing the struggle of the disappeared for a just and peaceful world.






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