Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Buenos Aires: The shopping mall of death

During my November trip, my travel companions and I ducked into the posh Galerias Pacifico shopping plaza - one of the only places we could find to exchange currency on a Sunday.

"You're going to need pesos if you're shopping here," a local laughed as he pointed out the directions to the money-changer on the mall's lowest level. Go right past Ralph Lauren, take the stairs just after Prada...

This week I began reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein and ran across this:

In 1987, a film crew was shooting in the basement of the Galerias Pacifico, one of Buenos Aires' plushest downtown malls, and to their horror they stumbled on an abandoned torture center.

It turned out that during the dictatorship, the First Army Corps hid some of the disappeared in the bowels of the mall; the dungeon walls still bore the deparate markings made by its long-dead prisoners: names, dates, pleas for help.

Much more to read. In the words of the friend who recommended it, "This book will scare the #$%^&* out of you." Although, after yesterday's roller-coaster ride with my retirement savings, I'm not sure if I have much scare left in me.

In any case, I'm looking back on my frenzied run through the luxurious Galarias Pacifico in a new light...


At 9:14 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

Dude, are you always on vaca? J/k. I'm about to read The Shock Doctrine. I heard today that Bush and the GOP are trying to use the mortgage/financial crisis that THEY created as an excuse to push their ideological hobby horses such as permanent tax cuts for the rich. From what I know so far, that is exactly the Shock Doctrine in practice.


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