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17 enero 2008
Ithaka
What I'm Proud Of

Mirta Vidal was dearly loved by us all, of course — she was a magnificent person, and we have impeccable taste.

We refers to our social and professional network centered around interpreting, this thing we call community. Even in the context of this community of ours, which has a number of people with remarkable human qualities, Mirta Vidal stood out.

I think it's not my place to sermonize for too long about what a fine human being she was, it's been said already and everyone here already knows it. Indeed, some know it far better than I do, because they had the good fortune her longer and better than I did. So I'll keep it short. Besides, my words could never do her justice no matter long I talk.

The very mention of her name carried a certain power and weight:  Mirta Vidal. She was regarded with immense admiration and respect in the community. She was indefatigable in her devotion to the mission she set herself of improving the standards of court interpreting, where a lesser person could easily grow tired of the struggle and burn out. Her integrity and commitment to her principles were unsurpassed.

And she was a marvelously talented interpreter with a brilliant technique. It was always a great pleasure to work with her and learn.

Your happiness meter would register an uptick whenever she entered the room. She was a joy to be with, a skillful and delightful conversationalist, a good listener. Her responses were frequently not predictable yet (almost invariably) superbly rational. And she had all the wonderful human qualities that have already been amply mentioned — intelligence, decency, compassion, warmth, kindness, a wonderful sense of humor.

At a time like this it seems a grotesque understatement to say that life is unfair. Mirta was intensely political and I doubt that she would have objected to what I am about to say. The world is breathtakingly unfair in which someone like Donald Rumsfeld can live a vigorous and active life well into his 70s, busily devoting himself to his life's work — inflicting incalculable misery and suffering on countless thousands for the benefit of the ruling rich — while Mirta Vidal has to suffer and die at 55.

I'm sorry that I am unable to come up with anything cheerful or comforting to say. This is a painful loss.

David Mintz