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As sudden rains wash through London today, I share the cover of a Plane tree with a Deliveroo driver, an older man with a cane, and a couple of young people playing hookie from school. We form an unlikely bunch, me crouching over my laptop to protect it from stray drops and angling my antenna to the East, and the others either on their phones or sneaking glances at me and at the sky to assess when the rain will stop. We don't speak. In the relative silence, my thoughts continue to be jarred by news of events in Argentina, received in part through Democracy Now, and in part through intermittent texts and updates from two of my close collaborators (on a community air-sensing project) in Buenos Aires. The news media (specifically the Guardian) reports in characteristic language that "Argentina’s Senate narrowly voted to approve the first set of harsh austerity measures proposed by President Javier Miliei... Police used pepper spray, water cannon and teargas against the huge crowds while demonstrators set two overturned cars ablaze and threw molotov cocktails". I think about the generic-ness of this reporting, how little it actually says about the events occurring. Or, conversely, how much it says about how often similar events are occurring. A think tank in Oslo has just released a report that states that there were more armed conflicts in 2023 than in any year since World War II. From Buenos Aires, J writes a text explaining Milei's proposed legislation, that follows months of violent executive orders: "They're changing the retirement age for women and getting rid of a retirement pensions moratorium, making it impossible for informal workers to retire. Plus, they're giving foreign extractive companies the right to litigate in foreign tribunals. These companies get access to natural resources over everyone else, even the indigenous people of Argentina, who have lived in harmony with nature long before the nation state existed. It's really tough, especially in the middle of a years-long recession and economic crisis, with poverty rising to a staggering 55%". D shares that some students from her university have been unfairly imprisoned last night, not far from her house. She tells of an audio message from the mother of one of the students who has been allowed to visit the prison, and it reveals that seven women are on the floor [of the cell] since yesterday, including the students'. 'A form of torture' D adds. All of this as Milei prepares to travel to the G7 summit, a guest of Giorgia Meloni. All of this as 50,000 new fires have been reported in Argentina the past several days, despite the winter season. I spend the rest of my day thinking about Aya Nassar's question: "we hold our breath. Where do we go from here?" (2024: 3).

Date

14 June 2024 12:14:18

Location

Hackney Downs, London

Country or Territory

United Kingdom

Name

Sasha Engelmann

Satellite

NOAA-18

Radio Callsign

M6IOR

Latitute / Longitude

51.554501, -0.060272