March for civil war "desaparecidos" in Guatemala: photos

Snip from independent photojournalist James Rodriguez' first-person account of a demonstration that took place in Guatemala City on June 30:

The March for Remembrance, organized by H.I.J.O.S. (Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice Against Forgetfulness and Silence) [ Ed.: in Spanish, "hijos" means "children," as in "sons and daughters" ] , brought a number of activists and families of victims from the civil war together with the goal of halting the parade which commemorated the 136th annual Military Day.

The demonstration congregated in Jocotenango Park, formerly Morazan Park, in Zone 2 of the Capital City. Those drawn on the sheets represent only a small fraction of the more than 200,000 victims killed during the 36 year internal conflict.

A member of H.I.J.O.S. waves a flag depicting the image of one of the many victims killed by Guatemalan security forces during the civil war. In many cases, the person represented on the flag is the flag-waver's own father or mother.

(…) Meanwhile, the military parade continued just a block behind the anti-riot forces.

Today is not for celebrating
It's for struggling and protesting
Because forgiving is not enough
Those who carried on genocide must pay (…)

Who kidnaps, tortures and assassinates?
The Genocidal Army.
Children of the motherland, Children of the Quetzal,
Which son of a bitch took my father?

A demonstrator, while still recovering from the effects of tear gas, adjusts a homemade gas mask in case of a second skirmish.

Link 1, Link 2 (English), Versión en español aquí.

James Rodriguez has many, many photosets on Flickr, including 11+ from Guatemala (where he's based). You might just want to start at the top of the stream and scroll back, tons of absolutely incredible photography in here. Here's his portfolio site. (Gracias, Margarita).

Snip from an advisory about "HIJOS," dated 2000, from Amnesty International:

HIJOS is a new human rights group, made up of young people, many of them students, who were children when their parents were "disappeared", killed or massacred and have joined together recently, some of them returning from exile, to try and establish what happened to their parents and who was responsible for it. They also want to help educate the new generation in Guatemala about what happened during the years of repression. Amnesty International shares their view, that understanding what happened, who was responsible and who allowed it to happen are vital in efforts to make sure that no such future violations will be either repeated or tolerated.

HIJOS work to discover the fate of their family members who were victims of the civil conflict which raged in Guatemala over a period of more than 30 years. Before the conflict was formally ended with the signing of the final Peace Accords in 1996, it is estimated that some 200,000 people were extrajudicially executed or "disappeared" at the hands of the Guatemalan security services or the civil patrols and so-called "death squads" acting under their command. The number of cases where the perpetrators have been identified and brought to justice can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

  • Previous BoingBoing posts about Guatemala: Link.