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Para Nunca Olvidar / "Never Forget"

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  • Glenn Welker
    Dear Friends: I highly recommend you listen to this page. It is exactly what I heard recently at the UN, from a Mayan representative from Guatemala who spoke
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2000
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      Dear Friends:

      I highly recommend you listen to this page. It is exactly what I
      recently at the UN, from a Mayan representative from Guatemala who
      spoke of these very events. It is heart-wrenching to say the least.

      Thanks for listening.

      Para Nunca Olvidar / "Never Forget"

      The impoverished Mayan-Indian population of

      The mental scars of torture,
      and incredible violations of the
      most basic

      human rights, are etched in
      which for security reasons
      revealed. The Mayans leave it at

      the tears and the pain into
      words. Names

      and identities remain as
      anonymous as
      their faces.

      Listen to the interviews
      on The Testimonials page requires:

      Approximately four years ago a peace
      agreement was signed. At that time the
      country had officially been at civil war for
      36 years. But according to the Indians it
      all started 508 years ago - when Columbus
      discovered America in 1492. Although the
      war is over and the peace agreement in is
      place, the atrocities on the civil
      population continue, according to
      several of the interviewed in "Para Nunca
      Olvidar". However the worst part took place in the
      80', from which
      most of them retrieve their memories of the

      The war took its worst toll on
      poorest - Guatemala's farmers and
      Indians. Massacres,
      disappearances, rape
      and torture have left the
      survivors and
      witnesses with deep scars of
      mistrust and
      sorrow. They hardly ever talk
      about their
      personal experiences with
      yet, words and openness are the
      means to healing and to
      confidence. To make the
      farmers and Indians talk about their emotional
      traumas, the Danish
      Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture
      together with the
      human rights office of the Catholic Church in
      Guatemala have
      initiated a psycho-social rehabilitation project.
      rehabilitation of
      the victims themselves is currently not the
      focus, since
      few victims survive their torture. Instead the
      project is aimed at
      aiding the surviving relatives.

      Guatemala and the rest of the world for
      the first time ever will hear the
      accounts of the suffering from the
      Indian victims themselves. In 16
      moving and very personal accounts the
      Mayan-Indians recount the atrocities, still
      being concealed by their own country. In
      both form and content the radio programs
      are completely extraordinary for
      Guatemala. Under the slogan
      "democratizando la palabra" (democratization of the
      word) they will be broadcast there on FGER's
      (Federation of
      Educational Radio in Guatemala) local stations in
      both Spanish and
      in a number of Indian languages.

      The essence of the project is a
      never to forget what happened in
      Guatemala. To hope for a less
      future and to show respect to
      population for a media, which
      they have
      always considered their most
      important -
      the spoken word. That which
      continues to
      be the most important media in a
      with over 50% illiteracy.
      interviewed is Mayan-Indian, and
      recordings took place around the country in the
      Indian villages.
      Anyone interested may purchase the collection of
      their accounts
      on audio CD on the web site of "Para Nunca Olvidar".
      are available upon request.

      Behind the project:

      Para Nunca Olvidar is produced by
      the Danish radio journalist Lotte
      Holmen. She has worked for Danish
      Radio in Copenhagen for many years.
      During an internship in 1997 at Radio
      Cabal in El Salvador she worked on
      initial stages of the project, Para Nunca
      Olvidar, which were broadcast locally.
      During the subsequent meetings with the
      now former general secretary for la
      Comisión para Esclarecimiento Historico
      (the UN Truth Commission), the
      Spaniard Fernando Castañón, the idea of
      continuing the project in Guatemala
      arose. From October 1999-February
      2000, the Danish radio journalist visited a
      number of Indian communities in
      Guatemala. Here she recorded over 30
      testimonials - accounts of the cruel
      atrocities that had been committed against the
      farmers and
      Indians throughout the 36 year civil war in the
      beautiful Central
      American country.

      Lotte Holmen has selected 16 of "the testimonies",
      which are
      available on CD in edited versions of 15-30 minutes
      which will
      be broadcast on FGER (Federacion Guatemalteca Escuela
      Radiofonica). Los Testimonios will be translated
      in a number of
      Indian languages and broadcast. Thereby giving the
      Indians, who
      speak only their own language - and who are in many
      illiterate - a first time access to their own
      traumatic history.
      Lotte Holmen

      Danish radio-journalist

      If you would like to hear all my "truth commission"-interviews with
      the Mayans, I would love to send you a complete set of 6 CDs.

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