Friday, July 24, 2009
What happened at the archives yesterday? Well, I took 1200mg of Ibuprofen (accidentally on an empty stomach) to take care of a suspect back ache. About an hour into my research things started to become strange. The somewhat creepy, but entirely charming archivist, Herr Jakobi, approached me requesting with urgency that I give him two documents dealing with Chile in late 1972, right before the coup. The files had nothing too outlandish in it, but some details of CIA contacts with the right wing opposition. Unfortunately, I was working on one of them. Jakobi explained that a gentleman needed to see them right away and pointed in the direction of a young guy sitting by the computers. Fire red hair, muscular, with a sarcastic facial expression that was all, 'I'm not your average historian'. At this point, frantic and unnecessary questions began to monopolize my thoughts. 'Why did he need to see these files so urgently? Surely Historians are never in a rush?', 'What's in this file?'... and so on.
I daydream a lot, but yesterday was different. My drug induced imagination began to run wild. Here's how it went:
Firebox, (ie. the man who wanted the files), came and sat down beside me, browsing the internet on his laptop, while pretending to look through some documents. His phone was constantly vibrating, and he would leave the reading room, stand behind the glass door and stare at me. When he returned, I politely asked when he needed the document by, and he replied impatiently that as long as I was there on Monday, all would be well. Why Monday? I then imagined that he was from the CIA, and that he was trying to prevent me from uncovering some dirty dirty secret about America's role in the Pinochet coup. Recent literature on the subject has come to the conclusion that what happened in those fateful years in Chile, unlike Guatemala, was mostly a result of economic mismanagement and extremely polarised political forces, fighting for supremacy. The US role, despite Kissinger's famous words, "I don't see why we have to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people," was in fact not so important in the downfall of Allende's government. But what if there was something more we didn't know? It's not like it would change anything, it would just further solidify the arguments of those who believe America is a pure Empire (such as myself). But truth is justice for so many people in the world. Reconciliation also has to come from the US side.
My mind started spinning. I imagined that on my bike ride home from the archives I was followed by a black unmarked car that I stealthily got away from on a dirt path. Before going back to the house, I decided to hide behind the fence near the train tracks, and sure enough, there was Firebox at the door, snooping around. Somehow I procure a gun, approach him, and tell him that he better confess. I order him to give me any weapons he has, immediately. And then, just like Jack Bauer, I make some empty threats: "Tell me what you know!"
At this point, Firebox leans over to me in the archives and introduces himself. He's a student, with the army, and he wants to use the document for his dissertation, just like me. He then proceeds to tell me that I look pretty pale, and should probably go get some fresh air. Anyways, the moral of the story is, I am Lois Lane, especially when I take too many pain killers.