Nearly three thousand people murdered - or was it more than three thousand? On a day whose very numbers are now a mark of moral infamy in the civilized consciousness of our species. And not once but twice. On this day:
When Joan Jara went to identify the body of her husband, Victor, she found it riddled with 44 bullets and dumped among a pile of corpses in the Santiago morgue. The poet's wrists and neck were broken and twisted. Where his belly ought to have been was a gory, gaping void.
The memory of that grim scene soon after the Chilean coup - on 11 September 1973 - is still painful for Jara, but it is not the only cause of her grief. The prime suspect in the killing, a former lieutenant in the Chilean army, is still alive and at liberty in the US, where he has citizenship through marriage.
Now the campaign to extradite him to his homeland has taken a step forward after Pedro Barrientos Nuñez, who lives in Florida, was served notice of a lawsuit in the US accusing him of torture, extrajudicial killing and crimes against humanity.
It is not the only quest for justice in Chile that dates back to the dark days, weeks and years following General Augusto Pinochet's ousting of socialist president Salvador Allende. Thousands were executed or made to disappear, and thousands more tortured after the CIA-backed military takeover.
Then, 28 years later, another horror, an act of mass murder that shocked the world, signifying as it did the absence of all limits on the will and in the calculations of the enemies of humankind. We know such events today as crimes against humanity, and not until the world learns how effectively to prevent or punish them - yesterday Chile, and New York and Washington, yesterday Auschwitz, Cambodia, Rwanda, today the children of Syria - will we be able to be satisfied that a global rule of law truly prevails.