This Photo Of A Little Girl In Chile Standing Up To Police Will Stay With You — PHOTO
When conflict arises in foreign areas, or even places that are not near where we live, it's often photographs from the events that embody the struggle. Iconic photos capture a sentiment of the times that is difficult to describe in another medium. Everything from an American soldier kissing a woman in Times Square after WWII to firefighters raising a flag at Ground Zero after 9/11 to the falling man from the towers that day have been memorialized in picture form. Now, a photo of a girl standing up to riot police in Chile on Sept. 11, the 43rd anniversary of the country's 1973 military coup, is going viral.
Although we can see only above her torso, she stands face-to-face with a policeman in full riot gear, starting right into his eyes. The contrast of a citizen standing up to a heavily-armed policeman is striking. She represents the people standing up to a military rule that ended in the country long ago, but many of its citizens will never forget. She is a part of a group of protesters who marched through Santiago for the anniversary. BuzzFeed reported that the photo was taken after police started randomly arresting those marching in the city, and that the photographer, Carlos Vera Mancilla, saw the girl as she "stood before the police with a defiant look."
For those of us in the United States, Sept. 11 means a day of tragedy when terror struck. For Chileans, it means a day when the government was seized by military power. In 1973, Gen. Augusto Pinochet overthrew the Chilean government from the elected Socialist Salvador Allende.
Throughout Pinochet's rule, thousands of people were detained and tortured. CNN reported on the events following the coup, and according to Socialist party member Carlos Reyes-Manzo, "The leaders of the party were detained, some were killed, and some went underground."
Nearly two decades after the coup, democracy was restored to Chile, but the effects of Pinochet's takeover live in the minds of many citizens. The country is still divided on the issue, as some believe that Pinochet's rule was necessary to end the poverty prevalent during Allende's rule. Clearly, the date represents a violent past in a country torn over its government, and the legacy will live on for generations to come, inspiring young people to stand for what they believe is right.