“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Jonathan Moller
It was the worst massacre since the times of the Conquest in the 16th century. It happened just twenty years ago, but the world, blinded by racism, never knew.This book recovers that recent history. In words and images, it narrates the death and resurrection of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala. - Eduardo Galeano
Damian Bird’sThe Oldest
Domingo poses with his radio, one of his families’ only non-essential possessions, and virtually their only link to the outside world. One night in 1980, when he was only three years old, the soldiers came to his house and dragged away his older brother and sister. They were never seen again. His mother and father gathered Domingo and his two young brothers and fled that same night. “Many people were killed that night in our village, and the soldiers started burning all the houses. Those who were not killed or burned alive fled into the mountains.” Communities of Population in Resistance (CPR) of the Sierra, Quiché Department, Guatemala,1993.
Today is Monday, November 15th, 1993. We must have good food in order to grow, so that our family is healthy. The CPR of the Sierra produces its own food. It is essential that all workers unite to struggle for our rights as indigenous people and as Guatemalans. That’s why the CPR struggles against all injustice suffered by indigenous Guatemalans. Cabá, Communities of Population in Resistance (CPR) of the Sierra, Quiché, Guatemala,1993.
In the late morning, Maria makes fresh corn tortillas. Some days the family eats only tortillas and perhaps some wild greens. Cabá, Communities of Population in Resistance (CPR) of the Sierra, Quiché, Guatemala,1993.
Juan and María’s wedding. Tzucuna, Cabá, Communities of Population in Resistance (CPR) of the Sierra, Quiché, Guatemala,1993.
A community health promoter examines an infant in the clinic. Xecuxap, settlement, Cabá, Communities of Population in Resistance (CPR) of the Sierra, Quiché, 1993.
Susana, Hugo and Juanito were all born in hiding in the jungle. Cuarto Pueblo 1 settlement, Communities of Population in Resistance (CPR) of the Ixcán, Quiché, Guatemala,1994.
In the afternoon Daniel returns from working one of the small, hidden plots of corn that are cultivated collectively by the community between Albeño and Fajardo settlements. Popular Communities in Resistance (CPR) of the Petén, Guatemala, 1995.
Hugo regresa al asentamiento con hojas secas de palma para ponerle techo a su ranchito. Asentamiento Albeño, Popular Communities in Resistance (CPR) of the Petén, Guatemala, 1995.
Rudi washes clothes in the Esmeralda River. Popular Communities in Resistance (CPR) of the Petén, Guatemala, 1995.
Peace Accords to Be Signed Today. Guatemala City, December 29, 1996.
After bathing, Juliana checks her son’s hair for lice. Primavera del Ixcán, Quiché, Guatemala, 2000.
These boats transport people to other communities or ferry them across the river so they can work their land on the other side. Primavera del Ixcán, Quiché, Guatemala, 2000.
Two sisters watch the exhumation of the remains of their mother and four small siblings. The sisters were present that day in August of 1982 when soldiers shot their relatives, but they managed to escape. They spent fourteen years in hiding in the mountains with the CPR of the Sierra, before resettling in a new community and later requesting the exhumation. Near the village of San Francisco Javier, Nebaj, Quiché, Guatemala, 2000.
During an exhumation, doña Clara holds a photograph of her husband whose remains are being unearthed. He was fifty years old when soldiers shot him in 1982. Nebaj, Quiché, Guatemala, 2000.
Three women, survivors of the violence, watch as the remains of relatives and friends who were killed in the early 1980s are exhumed. Nebaj, Quiché, Guatemala, 2000.
The trajectory of a bullet through the skull. These remains were exhumed from the grounds of a convent in Joyabaj, Quiché, that was occupied by the Guatemalan Army in the 1980s and used as a garrison, torture center, and clandestine cemetery. Santa Cruz del Quiché, Guatemala, 2000.
A few days before the reburial, the remains are returned to the families. Each family prepares the coffins, carefully laying the bones out with new clothes, textiles, and other objects in the simple pine boxes. With love and with great respect, they prepare the remains of their loved ones for the mass, wake, and burial. Nebaj, Quiché, Guatemala, 2001.
Coffins containing the remains of victims of massacres from the 1980s wait to be carried to the church in Nebaj for the memorial Mass. Quiché, Guatemala, 2001.
Mourners honor the remains and memories of 120 people at a church Mass in Nebaj. The remains were exhumed from more than fifty clandestine cemeteries over the course of a year and a half in twenty-two villages of the municipality of Santa María Nebaj. Quiché, Guatemala, 2001.
With a mixture of grief, joy, and relief, villagers prepare to bury the remains of fifteen people in the cemetery of Janlay. Nebaj, Quiché, Guatemala, 2001.