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Publication Date: 1995-07-01
TESTIMONY: DEATH OF A GUATEMALAN VILLAGE is an eyewitness account by a Guatemalan primary school teacher detailing one instance of violent conflict between the indigenous Maya people and the army. An accidental clash between the village's "civil patrol" and a Guatemalan army troop leads to the execution or imprisonment of many villagers. Written in clear, direct prose, this account reads like an adventure story while conveying an historical reality. This vital and essential record captures how Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which reached its most violent peak in the 1980s, ripped the traditional fabric of Guatemalan society.
Publication Date: 1999-09-01
"As a church, we collectively and responsibly assumed the task of breaking the silence that thousands of war victims have kept for years. We opened up the possibility for them to talk, to have their say, to tell their stories of suffering and pain, so they might feel liberated from the burden that has been weighing down on them for so many years."
The Blood of Guatemala by
Publication Date: 2000-03-15
Over the latter half of the twentieth century, the Guatemalan state slaughtered more than two hundred thousand of its citizens. In the wake of this violence, a vibrant pan-Mayan movement has emerged, one that is challenging Ladino (non-indigenous) notions of citizenship and national identity. In The Blood of Guatemala Greg Grandin locates the origins of this ethnic resurgence within the social processes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century state formation rather than in the ruins of the national project of recent decades. Focusing on Mayan elites in the community of Quetzaltenango, Grandin shows how their efforts to maintain authority over the indigenous population and secure political power in relation to non-Indians played a crucial role in the formation of the Guatemalan nation. To explore the close connection between nationalism, state power, ethnic identity, and political violence, Grandin draws on sources as diverse as photographs, public rituals, oral testimony, literature, and a collection of previously untapped documents written during the nineteenth century. He explains how the cultural anxiety brought about by Guatemala's transition to coffee capitalism during this period led Mayan patriarchs to develop understandings of race and nation that were contrary to Ladino notions of assimilation and progress. This alternative national vision, however, could not take hold in a country plagued by class and ethnic divisions. In the years prior to the 1954 coup, class conflict became impossible to contain as the elites violently opposed land claims made by indigenous peasants. This "history of power" reconsiders the way scholars understand the history of Guatemala and will be relevant to those studying nation building and indigenous communities across Latin America.
Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit by
Publication Date: 2011-10-01
"Waging a counterinsurgency war and justified by claims of 'an agreement between Guatemala and God,' Guatemala's Evangelical Protestant military dictator General R#65533;os Montt incited a Mayan holocaust: over just 17 months, some 86,000 mostly Mayan civilians were murdered. Virginia Garrard-Burnett dives into the horrifying, bewildering murk of this episode, the Western hemisphere's worst twentieth-century human rights atrocity. She has delivered the most lucid historical account and analysis we yet possess of what happened and how, of the cultural complexities, personalities, and local and international politics that made this tragedy. Garrard-Burnett asks the hard questions and never flinches from the least comforting answers. Beautifully, movingly, and clearly written and argued, this is a necessary and indispensable book." -- Francisco Goldman, author of The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop? "Virginia Garrard-Burnett's Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit is impressively researched and argued, providing the first full examination of the religious dimensions of la violencia - a period of extreme political repression that overwhelmed Guatemala in the 1980s. Garrard-Burnett excavates the myriad ways Christian evangelical imagery and ideals saturated political and ethical discourse that scholars usually treat as secular. This book is one of the finest contributions to our understanding of the violence of the late Cold War period, not just in Guatemala but throughout Latin America." --Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University Drawing on newly-available primary sources including guerrilla documents, evangelical pamphlets, speech transcripts, and declassified US government records, Virginia Garrard-Burnett provides aa fine-grained picture of what happened during the rule of Guatelaman president-by-coup Efra#65533;n R#65533;os Montt. She suggests that three decades of war engendered an ideology of violence that cut not only vertically, but also horizontally, across class, cultures, communities, religions, and even families. The book examines the causality and effects of the ideology of violence, but it also explores the long dur#65533;e of Guatemalan history between 1954 and the late 1970s that made such an ideology possible. More significantly, she contends that self-interest, willful ignorance, and distraction permitted the human rights tragedies within Guatemala to take place without challenge from the outside world.
Silence on the Mountain by
Publication Date: 2004-08-20
new in paperback Silence on the Mountain is a virtuoso work of reporting and a masterfully plotted narrative tracing the history of Guatemala's thirty-six-year internal war, a conflict that claimed the lives of some 200,000 people, the vast majority of whom died (or were "disappeared") at the hands of the U.S.-backed military government. Written by Daniel Wilkinson, a young human rights worker, the story begins in 1993, when the author decides to investigate the arson of a coffee plantation's manor house by a band of guerrillas. The questions surrounding this incident soon broaden into a complex mystery whose solution requires Wilkinson to dig up the largely unwritten history of the country's recent civil war, following its roots back to a land reform movement that was derailed by a U.S.-sponsored military coup in 1954 and to the origins of a plantation system that put Guatemala's Mayan Indians to work picking coffee beans for the American and European markets. Decades of terror-inspired fear have led the Guatemalans to adopt a survival strategy of silence so complete that it verges on collective amnesia. The author's great triumph is that he finds a way for people to tell their stories, and it is through these stories--dramatic, intimate, heartbreaking--that we are shown the anatomy of a thwarted revolution that has relevance not only to Guatemala but also to countless places around the world where terror has been used as a political tool.
Buried Secrets by
Publication Date: 2003-05-02
Between the late 1970s and the mid 1980s, Guatemala was torn by a civil war which came to be known as La Violencia. During this time of mass terror and extreme violence, more than 600 massacres occurred in villages destroyed by the army, one and a half million people were displaced, and more than 200,000 civilians murdered. 83% of the victims were Maya, the indigenous people of Guatemala. Buried Secrets brings these chilling statistics to life as it chronicles the journey of Mayan survivors seeking truth, justice, and community healing and demonstrates that the Guatemalan army carried out a systematic and intentional genocide against the Maya. Victoria Sanford provides us with an insider's look at the workings of the Commission for Historical Clarification through the exhumation of clandestine cemeteries. The book is based on exhaustive research, including more than 400 testimonies from massacre survivors, interviews with members of the forensic team, human rights leaders, high-ranking military officers, guerrilla combatants, and government officials. Buried Secrets traces truth-telling and political change from isolated Maya villages to national political events, and provides a unique look into the experiences of Maya survivors as they struggle to rebuild their communities and lives.
Memory of Silence by
Publication Date: 2012-04-03
This edited, one-volume version presents the first ever English translation of the report of The Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH), a truth commission that exposed the details of 'la violenca,' during which hundreds of massacres were committed in a scorched-earth campaign that displaced approximately one million people.
Paradise in Ashes by
Publication Date: 2005-08-10
Paradise in Ashes is a deeply engaged and moving account of the violence and repression that defined the murderous Guatemalan civil war of the 1980s. In this compelling book, Beatriz Manz?an anthropologist who spent over two decades studying the Mayan highlands and remote rain forests of Guatemala?tells the story of the village of Santa Mar??a Tzej??, near the border with Mexico. Manz writes eloquently about Guatemala's tortured history and shows how the story of this village?its birth, destruction, and rebirth?embodies the forces and conflicts that define the country today. Drawing on interviews with peasants, community leaders, guerrillas, and paramilitary forces, Manz creates a richly detailed political portrait of Santa Mar??a Tzej??, where highland Maya peasants seeking land settled in the 1970s. Manz describes these villagers' plight as their isolated, lush, but deceptive paradise became one of the centers of the war convulsing the entire country. After their village was viciously sacked in 1982, desperate survivors fled into the surrounding rain forest and eventually to Mexico, and some even further, to the United States, while others stayed behind and fell into the military's hands. With great insight and compassion, Manz follows their flight and eventual return to Santa Mar??a Tzej??, where they sought to rebuild their village and their lives. ]
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