While you were sipping lattes at the local Starbucks and discussing the latest episode of Breaking Bad, the city of Neuquén was a battlefield on Wednesday, as environmentalists, students and unions demonstrated in front of the provincial legislature, condemning the vote of an agreement between state-owned oil firm YPF and US oil giant Chevron to extract oil and gas in the Vaca Muerta area.
As thousands of protesters gathered outside the Legislature and tried to bring down the fences surrounding the building, the police began a process of brutal repression and responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, leaving 28 people injured.
But amid the yelling, the crying, the gunshots and the smokey air, one protester decided to strike back with the sound of music. Defiant, he stood a few meters away from the police officers, who stared at him in silence, and began playing his violin, bringing a moment of awkward peace to the mayhem that was unfolding around him. It’s visual poetry. On one side, the savage beat behind bars. On the other, a man with no face using a most-sophisticated weapon – a violin, no less – to soothe them. We don’t know who he is or where he’s from. Whoever you are, kind and idealist stranger, you’ve done a pretty good job.
Yeah, I know we’re a cynical website. But even sometimes we find ways to be amazed – albeit momentarily – and remember that you can still find beauty in the world.
This is one of those times.