|(Versión en castellano)|
Unfortunately, in 1987 I had to recruit (in Argentina, my home country, compulsory military service wasn't abolished until 1994.) A couple of days before Christmas I was on duty at the president's (Alfonsín at that time) weekend house along with three other soldiers, a noncommissioned officer and an officer. We had to stay up the all night, sitting in a room as backup in an emergency(!?).
In the calm of the night the young officer asked everyone, one by one, the typical question: “What would you do if you won the Christmas lottery?”
At that time, my eighteen-year-old colleagues and I innocently thought we were just losing fourteen months of our lives. Today, with more than half a life of experience, I realize it was just one among the many arbitrary stupid things society forces us to do. Now I don't see a big difference between barracks, school, neighborhood or family. I've suffered worse abuses from teachers, neighbors, friends, relatives than from sergeants or captains. Violence is spontaneous, natural, explicit. Despotism is, the most of the times, subliminal, innocent.
And people tolerate these abuses because they don't dare to find out to what extent they really depend on all that.
With the same confidence with which the young version of me added another “life of luxury” to others' wishes I know exactly what I'd respond to the officer if I could go back to that instant of my life: "I'd buy a house in a quiet place, away from the cities, and refrain from splurging."
©2007 - Walter Alejandro Iglesias
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