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Friends and former colleagues gathered around the charcoal-hued box in the center of the dim-lit room. The crowd was sealed silent with a dark and somber stitching. A courier walked into the room bearing two wreaths, transforming the silent mourning into an indignant protest. The wreaths expressed the “condolences” of the Argentinian government towards the death of Alberto Nisman, though the government remains the prime suspect of the death in question. The growing mob pulled at the ribbons, tearing the wreaths apart and stomping on them.

Artwork By Eric Lee

Bombings, hijackings, and assassinations have become commonalities, as terrorism continues to pervasively gain a foothold in the modern world. Terrorism, the act of using violence to coerce political, religious, or social beliefs, is the very antithesis of democracy itself. Though an act of terrorism may seem isolated, a singular act threatens representative governmental bodies everywhere. However, despite this imminent danger to the free-thinking world, the war on terrorism is a battle often left un-fought, being that lack of government resolve is widely common.

Alberto Nisman was a prosecution attorney who investigated the 1994 bombing of the Jewish center in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. The bombing resulted in 85 deaths and remains the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history. After taking over the case as lead investigator in 2004, Nisman fervently followed the facts and eventually concluded that the bombing was initiated by the Iranian government and carried out by the militant group, Hezbolla.

Though two decades have passed since the heinous terrorist attack, little has been accomplished. No one has officially been charged for the crimes nor does there seem to be any progress in doing so. This lack of participation from the Argentinian government is what had led Nisman into conducting an entirely new investigation altogether.

Though his investigation was progressing, Nisman was found dead in his apartment on January 18, 2015. Days before his death, Nisman presented a criminal report against the current Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, in regards to their alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing. Utilizing evidence such as wiretaps and other intelligence, Nisman accused the officials of conspiring with Iran. Supposedly, they discussed clearing the bombing charges in return for Iranian oil.

Nisman understood the gravity of these allegations and at times even feared for his own safety. He received several death threats, one of which was sent to his home address. Refusing to trust his bodyguards, he borrowed a pistol from a friend, Diego Lagomarsino, for peace of mind.

Nisman was scheduled to testify in Congress about the allegations on Monday, January 19, 2015. However, he was found dead in his apartment the day before in a pool of blood with the borrowed gun near him. Argentine citizens have rallied together in protest against the corruption, as many took to social media and used the hashtag #yosoynisman (I am Nisman). Though at first ruled a “suicide,” the death of Alberto Nisman is now under speculation.

So What?:

The terrorist attack in question in Latin America could be compared to America’s 9/11. Unlike the United States government, however, the Argentina government has disregarded these deaths and has even allegedly profited from them. When a brave man finally questions this corruption, his body is found days later.

This violation of basic humanity has shaken the Argentine people but has been deemed as insignificant to the international community. Though the international news sources streamed the French people’s response to the Charlie Hebdo bombing, in which 12 journalist were gunned down for satirically depicting Iran’s prophet Muhammad, there is no such mutual respect for the people of Argentina.

Ultimately, the death of prosecution attorney, Alberto Nisman, symbolizes a bleak return to political violence. Unfortunately for the people of Argentina, the message is clear: “do not question authority, for not even the international community cares.” We should. 

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