While I was in Buenos Aires back in 2008 I was studying at a private university, living in Recoleta, spending my free time going to "cultural events", museums, festivals, markets, drinking lots of Malbec wine, staying out until 4-5am with friends and from time to time volunteering to to feed a philanthropic bug. I could walk 5 minutes to the Fine arts museum to check out Picasso and Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, etc or another 10 minutes to see the latest contemporary visual arts exhibit at the MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) displaying beauty, exposing poverty, highlighting obscurity, protesting war, or just entertaining my senses. I am not trying to cheapen or complain about that part of my life, I was able to live that and cherish all the experienced moments in 2008. However, I am trying to make sure I grasp the difference of where I find myself today.
(Photos from some areas I spent a lot of time around in 2008)
Today I will be going to Carrillo, near Villa Soldati in Bajo Flores, it all depends who you talk to. When they use the word villa down here it does not mean a nice big comfortable house like in the States or in Qatar. It is a neighborhood that was typically squatted by immigrants of other countries like Paraguay, Bolivia, Perú, and also by Argentines from the more rural or interior regions of the country. This is a picture of a typical villa. Cement blocks stacked upon cement blocks and wires that run all over the place.
In three weeks I have had 2 people tell me the best way to solve the problems in the villas is to just burn them down because all they bring is immigrants who sell drugs which creates crime and violence. I've heard this before. Where? In regards to whom? Spoken by me? By leaders? By angered humans blinded by injustice and hurt?
I'll conlculde with 2 pictures of villa 31 which is the largest villa in Buenos Aires and is found smack in the middle of the Capital Federal. There is a very high concentration of people not living in the greatest conditions living right next to some of the wealthiest people in the Americas and Argentina.
How can peace and injustice be in such close proximity? What brings justice? Can true peace and justice coincide? Is there true peace in those skyscrapers and lofts across the way? God is just and peace. How? I know that God is love. Does love solve this paradox? Just some things I have been thinking about. Trying to put things in perspective. Maybe happiness is inside the villa? Maybe we are the unhappiness and we project it on the aesthetically mediocre and unattractive?
Disclaimer: this phenomena is not specific to Argentina or Latin America. The paradox, anomaly, or whatever you want to call it is a global problem. I have seen it in Doha, Qatar and the United States. I simply must right about the right here and now.