Thursday, 19 February 2015

Walk in the Rain

Wednesday 18 February - Avenida Callao - it is starting to rain.

I have just left Cuatro Corazones at Callao 257 3A clutching new tango clothes, and exited from the marble hall through glass doors into an overcast street. Ahead, passing in waves and streams, walk porteños - families with small children, elderly couples, teenagers and individuals - some chatting together with animation; others silently - as if caught in pensive, reflective moments of time.

I am witnessing the early stage of the silent protest to remember Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who died of a single bullet to the head just hours before he was to give evidence to inculpate the President in a political cover-up, shielding Iranian officials from the AMIA Jewish-Argentine charity federation bombing.

The tides of porteños become blocks of silent, walking humanity, and the first few drops of rain catch my arm. I dart for the cover of overhanging eves and one of the avenida's few trees just as the droplets become a downpour, and streams of water gush along the deep concrete drains. In an instant, the scene becomes a moving sea of umbrellas - a complex design of circles and octagons of all colours, between which flutter the blue and white of Argentine flags.

What is so remarkable about the scene is the maturity of the crowd. Here stands a tall, middle aged doctor from Belgrano, his navy blazer contrasting with sharp-creased cream trousers, his hand-made shoes soaking up the rivulets of rain. Nearby, a family group of a dozen shelter under six umbrellas, their raincoats flapping in the warm breeze. Only the street dwellers and those that care not about governments are missing. Otherwise, we have the whole spread of Argentine society standing silently together for one cause.

The crowd moves forwards. The rain now is so intense that the presence of an umbrella is quite academic - for the cover provided ignores the fact that streams of rain are pouring from those alongside.

My tango purchases seem now an irrelevance. The moment arrives when you give into the rain - allowing it to wash the tears of Nisman.