The Cost of Death

An Argentine submarine that was lost in the Atlantic Ocean one year ago, along with 44 crew members, has been found—but many are devastated to hear that the government does not have the technological means to recover it.

One year ago, an Argentine submarine was lost 430 kilometers off the coast of Argentina. The ocean-mapping company Ocean Infinity found the submarine sunk deep under the sea a year later, on November 16, 2018. This discovery of what was believed to be lost forever has led to a re-ignition of discussion and controversy regarding the submarine—and more importantly, of the government’s recent announcement of its inability to retrieve it.

The submarine, named the San Juan, malfunctioned during particularly stormy weather while at sea. It consequently exploded, taking 44 sailors with it as it spiraled down into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. At the time, many fingers were pointed at the Argentine government and its inadequate military maintenance as to the cause of the tragedy. After the government supposed the sailors that were aboard the San Juan were dead, their grieved and outraged families admonished the carelessness of the government in the management of their military equipment, causing the international community to condemn it as well. However, after one year, the glaring spotlight of blame on the government had somewhat abated.

The recent discovery has brought it back full force.

When the sunken submarine was discovered only a few days ago, the Argentine government announced that there was no way that, with the current technology that the government possessed, that the submarine could be retrieved. This caused a torrent of protests concerning the government’s role to provide sufficient closure of the incident to its citizens, especially to the families who had lost their loved ones in the accident. Yolanda Mendiola, a mother of one of the missing sailors, Leandro Cisneros, expressed her frustration and anger at the government’s announcement. “They are going to show us the photos… We are destroyed here,” she said. “If we don’t see it [the submarine], we can’t have closure.”

The families have demanded numerous actions from the government, including an independent investigation focusing on salvaging the remains of the San Juan. These demands were only intensified when an anonymous naval officer leaked that: “Raising the submarine to the surface is not impossible, but it is a very complex operation, and therefore very expensive.” Many people are starting to question whether the government was right in declaring a situation hopeless so early into the re-invigorated investigation. Thankfully, officials stated that they would release a report next week regarding more of the technical details of what happened to the submarine and its 44 passengers.

Regardless of whether the submarine will be recovered or not, the discovery has had its emotional toll on the grieving families. Contrary to those who still feel an emptiness in their hearts that, they claim, can only be filled by seeing the remains of the sunken submarine with their own eyes, there are those who believe that the discovery of the San Juan nearly 830 meters underneath the sea has finalized the deaths of their loved ones and has brought closure enough. María Itatí Leguizamón, the 33-year-old wife of a radio operator who was aboard the San Juan, said, “There was a part of me that kept holding on to the hope that he could still be alive. But now I know for sure and I can mourn.”

All eyes are on the families and the Argentine government as they struggle to find a compromise between a clash of overwhelming emotions and practicality. But no matter what the outcome, the fate of the San Juan and its 44 sailors will haunt the international community for decades to come as a reminder of the suddenness and unpredictability of death, all contingent upon a single malfunctioning wire.

– Lauren Cho (’22)

Featured Image: Getty Images

Christmas Movies and Chill

Not in that Christmas spirit yet? Try watching these movies!

Warm up the hot chocolate and huddle around the crackling fire – Christmas is coming soon and so is the perfect occasion for movie night! It’s everyone’s favorite holiday, hands down, due to three big reasons: delicious snacks, good music, and most of all, the most heartwarming selection of movies. So start watching Christmas movies now and be ready to be smug in the knowledge that you’re not missing out on any celebration time. Thankfully, there are enough Christmas movies out there that you could watch one every day from now through December 25 and still not run out of options, but here are the top five that everyone channels into every year.


  1. Home Alone

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Ah, one can never go wrong with the classics – this one being the absolute golden oldie. Home Alone always has one of the most viewings any time of the year, as it takes on a special significance at Christmas time being with your family. After all, it is the most favorable time to be indulge yourself with some freshly-popped popcorn and Kevin McAllister, as he tries to defend his house against a pair of foolish burglars, and the antics he pulls will definitely crack you up.


  1. Elf


Year after year, this movie just never gets old, as it is a classic feel-good Christmas movie you can’t help but love. Buddy the Elf is, along with Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell’s finest comedy creations, and he’s listed to be one of the most adorable movie characters in Christmas movie history. Unless you’re a cotton-headed ninnymuggin, there’s nothing about this movie not to love.


  1. The Holiday


A British hottie to swoon over should be a must for every holiday movie. Not only that, but also the shining cast which includes Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Jack Black gives this movie the perfect mix of touching and hilarious. The Holiday is a story about about Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) who decide to swap houses for Christmas in order to get away from their normal lives. Of course, along the way, they get to conveniently encounter Graham Simpkins (Jude Law) and Miles (Jack Black) respectively. Grab a nice, fluffy blanket to put around you, and get ready to indulge yourself in a cozy romance movie you can get away with watching just because it’s Christmas time.


  1. Love Actually


Yet another classic. Love Actually focuses on nine intersecting love stories mixed with another amazing cast that brings you on either a bundle of extreme mushiness or a festive heart-warmer. You’ll laugh, cry, and feel all sorts of intense feelings of sentimentality inside as the movie dawns to an end. When pushy holiday shoppers and noisy little children running around the department store start getting to you, it’s good to remember that “love, actually, is all around us.”


  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas


Animations certainly cannot be forgotten when it comes to serving a good ol’ holiday cheer. Like The Snowman, this production was made for TV, yet that hasn’t hindered it from winning a place in our hearts for over 50 consistent years. Sometimes getting caught up in the materialism of the holidays is tempting, but Charlie, Linus, Lucy, and a little fir tree help us remind the true meaning of  Christmas.


Alas, the festive period is now well and truly upon us. And to get into the spirit of the season, these family flicks will get you in the holiday mood, year after year. So grab a cup of warm eggnog, cuddle up near the fireplace, and soak up some holiday cheer with the best Christmas movies of all time.


– Ashley Kim (’18)

Featured Image: Miracle on 34th Street