Revenge Strategy, Wasting the power of your hate on the guiltless (XXXVII): In Memoriam for the Jesuit Fathers.
Good morning. Before posting my last publication about the Genetically Modified Food, I would like to share a personal experience of my life. As all of you know, I studied at a Jesuit Highschool in El Salvador. Of course, later, it was a natural rite of passage to study my undergraduate studies at Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), also led by the Jesuits. In 1989, during my second year (as a sophomore student), I endured how some of the Jesuit Fathers who were leading and teaching different courses, were assassinated at their residence, next to the University. That experience touched my heart so deeply, that still to these days, once my memory goes to that point in time, I feel overwhelmed.
Considering that I was an Engineering student, my technical academic curriculum did not have courses with the Jesuit Priests who were shot. Nevertheless, we were entitled to choose some electives from other disciplines. That is how I had the chance to receive an economy course with Father Montes S.J., and a class of “History of the Land in El Salvador” with Father Martín-Baró S.J. As the academic workload was enormous for us in Engineering, I tried to keep the balance with my hobbies, and, I decided to be part of a group of musicians and the UCA Choir. We were always rehearsing behind the UCA Chapel, next to the access to the Jesuit Fathers´home. That is how we got to identify and salute the Jesuit Fathers every other day. They always stopped before their residence´s entrance, to listen to our rehearsals. With time, they asked us to help them to sing in their Saturday masses, and that is how we ended singing religious songs which they asked us to perform. At that time I was 19 years old. I was not involved in politics of any kind at all. We were simple students who loved to sing. I never imagined, that later, we were going to be invited to sing in the Jesuits´fathers Memorial Liturgies after their death. Subsequent November 16th, 1989; we sang at several liturgies, for various days. Each requiem mass was offered on specifically scheduled days for the repose of the Jesuits Martyrs and 2 of their employees´ souls.
This is the list of the people who were assassinated on November 16th, 1989:
Ignacio Ellacuria Beascoechea, S.J., the rector of the UCA university;
Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., vice-rector of the UCA University, a leading expert on Salvadoran public opinion;
Segundo Montes, S.J., dean of the UCA department of social sciences;
Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J.; Scholar and Theologian;
Joaquín López y López, S.J.; Fe y Alegría Ministry Representative
Amando López, S.J.; Theology and Philosophy Professor
Elba Ramos, their housekeeper; and
Celina Ramos, her sixteen-year-old daughter.
If you wish to know what happened, who were they, where, how and why were they killed? Please click the sources of news that I have associated with the murder below. In addition, you can visit innumerable public webpages about this incident in El Salvador. It is not my aim to remember the sadness, the cruelty of their murder or the painful feelings we tasted as students at that time. We can´t change the past. But we can remember them in our present, to never support or allow others to make those mistakes again in the future in any place on this earth. Our history has proven these priests´ assassination, put El Salvador on the world´s spotlight with such a terrible disaster. And El Salvador’s situation got worst, particularly in terms of violence and lack of reconciliation. During the last 30 years, we have lived terrible moments as a society. My aim is to revive the Jesuit fathers “alive” through this post. All I can do is to recall them when they were celebrating the liturgies where we were accompanying them with our music. And that is how I wish to retain them in my memories.
Some months ago, I decided to paint a canvas in memoriam to them. I participated in the annual poster contest that the UCA organizes every year. The magnolia petals represent each of the martyrs. I did not win the contest. Another digital proposal from a younger girl who works in Washington D.C. was chosen, but the painting I created was a personal beautiful experience to overcome the fear that was inside my heart since 1989. The anxiety that El Salvador killed innocent people who were not involved in anything wrong, stayed for so long inside… Believe me, I run away from UCA University after my graduation in 1994. I did not want to remember what happened in November 1989. And I did not want to return too.
I thought if in my country, people as these priests were annihilated, anyone could be exterminated in town. I was afraid of subsisting here, and desperately I thought of finding a job in foreign countries. I promised myself to never come back. Life turned differently to me. And here I am living in San Salvador city again. By painting this canvas, I was released from the horror of observing what happened on November 16th, 1989. During this week the university has prepared a lot of activities to celebrate their life. Yesterday I met another artist, Renacho Melgar, who has been orchestrating a beautiful collective mural that will be adorning tomorrow´s liturgy.
Conclusively, thirty years have passed since then. We must remember them happy and smiling, as when they were alive. Their presence has enkindled so much brightness to all of us who had the chance to meet them in person. Their spirit ignites the light of hope in our history. Amen.
Some bibliography about November 16th, 1989
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