A few people have asked me if I’m OK. They’ve seen headlines of Chile at war, of lootings, shoot outs and burglaries. Yes, that has happened in some areas, but that’s not everything. The news focuses on the worst parts of the city, but that’s not everything happening here.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the news…
A little update
Chile recently raised the metro fare, which for many young people in Santiago was the final drop in a bucket full of discontent about wider social inequality. The protests grew across the country and in some cases turned violent.
I originally drafted a post about what was going on, but there has been so much hysteria, so much false information and so much scaremongering, that I’m cautious about giving the wrong impression. Chile has become an echo chamber of Chinese whispers.
A photo of a long queue in a supermarket meant to warn others about the dangers of panic buying has inspired panic, alas.
I’m not from Chile and I couldn’t possibly claim to fully understand the social, political and cultural context here.
No happily ever after
For sure, the poor have been hit really, really hard. As I write this, at least 18 people have died. I’m sure the poor will continue to suffer long after whatever political changes are implemented. I don’t see a quick fix.
But it’s not all bad news
But there are also heartwarming stories of people offering up their homes, giving away food to the needy and lending support. There has even been humour – a man dressed up as Batman fighting crime is doing the rounds on social media.
It’s wrong to say we’ve all been suffering.
The only change my kids have experienced is a few days off school, Mummy checking her phone more often and a scarcity of their favourite breakfast cereal.
As for us, we’re all OK. And we still love Chile.