Open Letter to Arturo Pratt

Letter to Arturo Pratt:

This letter can be a specific task that a history teacher can propose to his students to celebrate Naval Pride Day on May 21, at school. But this letter isn’t a school assignment, it’s written by an adult you can’t imagine, and who still remembers it with emotion. It’s not about chauvinism or a simple flag salute. No. You emerge from the background of the story in your own unique light.

I’ve always wondered why the Iquique naval battle became a myth, and pervaded the national unconscious, and not other battles as important and decisive as this one. There’s a mystery there that has more to do with emotion than historical reason. Why man is full of flaws and virtues like all humans, crystallizes into an ideal form and manages to transcend time.

In recent years we have seen how statues are vandalized, how monuments are vandalized, and recently someone pulled a sword from one of the monuments in our city where you are immortal. A kind of hatred towards the heroes has become fashionable, the desire to demolish the whole story, not leaving the heroes with a head. Psychoanalysis has studied the old hatred of the father in detail. They wanted to (symbolically) kill all the heroes of the motherland, It has been said that whatever history we were told as children was a lie and in fact the domination and various humiliations were hidden,

The past has been moralized from the present and attempts have been made to destroy not only the symbols, but also the idea of ​​nation or motherland. This subversive effort was born in academia, from imported subversive theories, but found no resonance among the people, because Chileans have a special attachment to their national symbols, and what we call Chileans, if at all, is a big lie. , then it is a lie that we have counted among us all, and that has given us identity and continuity over time. Myths, legends, stories are lies that help us get up every day to live. True lie

What is truth and what is lie? For some Sancho Panza weeps inconsolably at the death of Don Quixote, who declares that he is not Don Quixote, but Alonso de Quijana. Sancho hasn’t resigned. He tells them to dress up as knights or shepherds and go out, but dress up as few, because it is very difficult to live without adventure, without myth, without illusions on the horizon. But today they want to take away the heroes of our childhood, they want to undermine our myths.

All communities need heroes and there is a dearth of those heroes today. No one wants to sacrifice himself for someone or something, for some reason, for his country, the spirit of sacrifice has weakened to an unimaginable extent. You belong to a generation of people who were ready to sacrifice themselves for Chile, a generation where selfish and egotistical individualism (increased in this egotistical time like ours) did not produce the devastation it created among us. Was and that makes it very difficult to express a “we”. You jumped, jumped into the void and in the midst of the heat of an impossible battle, took the time to give a speech to your men and are already defeated.

You turned defeat into victory, you taught us that courage is one of the most important virtues, courage that we see in short supply among our leaders today. His final gesture propels me on. Or perhaps it inspires the child who thirsts for heroism that still lives in me, the child within us who does not want us to submit completely in the face of cynicism, cold calculation, and pure personal interest. Give up on

Where are our heroes today? Who are they? When we ask ourselves questions, you keep jumping into the void, because that jump is also flight, that courage teaches us that “Motherland” is not an abstraction. One does not sacrifice for the sake of abstraction. You are more real than those who today only defend their square meters, their small plots, their comfortable boundaries.

Motherland is the opposite. Don’t ask me to define what a homeland is, but when I think of my homeland, I think of Arturo Pratt, you jump into a void that is also the horizon. Thank you for continuing to jump every year, this autumn May, thank you for giving yourself instead of defending yourself, thank you for telling us again and again with a voice that cuts cannon balls, gunpowder and blood no defeat No.. Life is jumping, taking risks and every time I think of you, I remember this beautiful phrase from the poet Hölderlin: “In danger only that which saves us grows,

Thank you for protecting us from the worst of threats: fear, the fear that doesn’t let us be.

A hug beyond time.

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