Throughout the world, the date September 11 is associated with the 2001 attack on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. But September 11, 1973 marks another deadly date in history, when President Salvador Allende of Chile was overthrown in a bloody coup that ushered in the 16-year dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Thousands of people were illegally detained, tortured, killed or “disappeared.” Amnesty International, the human rights organization, is commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coup and its victims with an exhibition of photographs taken by Julio Etchart, a member of the National Union of Journalists, who documented life in Chile and resistance to the Pinochet regime throughout the 1980s.
Etchart told PDN via email, “At that time, it was very difficult for both local and foreign journalists to be visible on the streets, since the regime ruthlessly repressed all acts of dissidence, and attempted to conceal from the outside world what was happening in the big prison that the country had become.” International Women’s Day in 1985 in Santiago, Chile was a turning point. “A group of brave women defied the curfew imposed by the military and went to downtown Santiago to demand freedom for the political detainees and a halt to the rising cost of living, and to press for information about the fate of those who had disappeared a decade earlier,” Etchart says.
The exhibit “Remembering Chile and the other 9/11” will be on display at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre in Shoreditch, London through September 22, 2013. The exhibit includes a short film about Etchart and former Observer Latin America correspondent Hugh O’Shaughnessy who was one of the very few foreign correspondents in Santiago at the time of the coup.