Tuesday, February 06, 2007

re-visiting bad times

i didn´t want to get too crazy with the vacation entries back when i posted all the entries about my trip to guatemala, honduras and my sailing trip, so i refrained from posting about my trip to perquín, morazán. morazán is an eastern department right here in el salvador and i (along with antonio) made the long trip out there after dropping my parents off at the airport back in december. the reason for visiting morazán (other than just wanting to see more of el salvador - which is such a beautiful country, despite what people think) was to see the museo de la revolución salvadoreña located in perquín. perquín was the central location for the guerillas at the time of the war, and this was where the effects of the civil war were deadliest (as most of the serious battles were waged here and in the rest of morazán). the museum remembers the civil war as the ex-guerrillas remembered and documented it. it was so emotional being there, looking at all the photos of the people who died, as well as reading stories as to why the war started in the first place.

perquín is a small, beautiful pueblo located in the pine-covered mountains of morazán and it is amazing to think that just 20 years ago, the place was being bombed regularly. it was a long trip up there - an hour and a half pickup ride from san francisco gotera (after we had already been on a bus for three and a half hours from san salvador) left me exhausted by the time we actually arrived in perquín. but the following day we spent at the museum and then hiked up to cerro de perquín. it was strange to think, though, that after climbing the mountains into the pueblo and then hiking up to the top of the cerro, we still weren´t as high as apaneca. sometimes i forget that i´m at such a high altitude here in apaneca - well, that is, until the wind rolls in. anyway, we only had time to visit perquín, although i would have liked to see el mozote which was the site of one of the worst massacres of the civil war. about 1,000 men, women and children were slaughtered there by american-trained salvadoran army. i think i told you all about the day back during my training when we got to hear rufina amaya speak. she was the sole survivor of the massacre and witnessed the murder of her entire family, as well as her friends and neighbors. what´s also very sad about all this is the fact that the people living in the small cantones, like el mozote, weren´t actually even supporting the guerillas as the military accused them of doing. they were just trying to remain non-partisan and live their lives in peace. so many of them were murdered for supposedly supporting the fmln. war sucks. here´s an article if you care to read anything about el mozote and the war. it´s sad, and the article´s long, but it´s very informative and if you are interested at all in the history of the country i´m currently living, it is very descriptive.

ok, well, on to the photos then. i hope there´s never a war here again.....or anywhere else.

before and after mural painted by kids in the central park in perquín.

entrance sign to the museum

remains of monterrosa´s (the commander of the battalion responsible for the el mozote massacre and others in the area) helicopter....he was shot down and killed in the crash (obviously).

mural painted by kids on the back walls of the museum....there were a bunch of them and they were all environment-related

painted wall advertising ¨radio venceremos¨ - the fmln guerrilla radio that kept sympathizers up to speed on the latest happenings during the war

wall mural depicting the monument that´s located in el mozote

view of perquín from the top of cerro de perquín

view from the top of cerro de perquín

view of volcán san miguel (chapparistique) from the top of cerro de perquín

remains of guerrilla hideout in the forest above perquín

volcán san miguel (this was on the ride back to san salvador)

volcán san vicente (chichontepec) - also on the ride home....this is the volcano i climbed back during training!