I’m back in the USA, driving a truck. I listen to the radio quite a bit while driving.
I listen to a broadcast when I work on Sunday entitled “This American Life”. Hosted by Ira Glass, he pick’s one topic and usually has 4 segments of people’s experience with that topic.
This particular night, the topic was the Dos Erres massacre, focused on one person, who is an illegal alien in the USA. It was an hour-long program, located here. I highly urge you to listen to the podcast – it is worth the time
It entails many things – it’s a heart wrenching story, it shows how evil mankind can be, it shows what happens when you rely on the government to “protect you”, it shows how inept the US Government is concerning foreign policy and for me, the top of the list is it shows that one person can make a difference.
The Dos Erres massacre wiped the town of Dos Erres, in the Peten region of Guatemala, off the map.
Government troops killed over 150 civilians. Brutally.
So, if you have a weak stomach for atrocities, you’re warned. But, listen to it anyways!
Oscar is an illegal alien living in the USA.
He’s tracked down by a prosecutor in Guatemala – she contacts him by phone.
She asks if he has any memory of the massacre in Dos Erres, Guatemala.
The prosecutor is a 60 something woman who’s been working on the case of the Dos Erres massacre for over 10 years. Every time she gets a witness, or some one with some knowledge of the massacre, they’re killed.
She literally puts her life on the line for 10 years to get to the facts of the massacre.
She is now 72 yrs. old, and still working on the case.
3 officers have been given 6,000 years for their participation in the massacre.
The USA had knowledge of the massacre, but kept the information classified.
From the Guatemala government over the 10 year period, from the prosecutor and from any human rights organizations – the US government kept hidden, the information that it had about the massacre.
I think one of the reasons they did this was that the USA supplied the guns and ammunition to the Guatemala government that was in power at that time.
Heaven forbid that the USA gets egg on its face for supporting a regime that massacres its own citizens.
The men who took part in the rape of the women and the killing of 99% of the village had kept quiet over this 10 year period. Until a cook in the unit responsible for the atrocities, contacts the prosecutor to share what he saw during the killing spree.
Oscar is apparently one of 3 survivors of the massacre – tracked down by this prosecutor after 10 years of investigation.
Why do I write about this?
I liked Guatemala a lot. If I had not traveled there, I would not have been the least interested in this podcast, and probably would have turned it off. But, because I knew people there, knew some of the history of the country, it caught my attention.
This is what travel does – it gives you more of an interest it what goes on in other parts of the world.
The story also has bearing on what is going on in today’s world.
Clinton and Obama are outraged about what is going on in Syria – but the massacre at Dos Erres did not seem to bother the US Government at all.
Government killing civilians – is it only acceptable to do that when the US Government is supporting those in the government and wrong for everyone else?
Is it only acceptable if it is an unmanned droned, and the civilians are “collateral” damage?
Americans find it difficult to understand why people in other countries hate us. The massacre in Dos Erres is a good example of why someone would despise the USA.
Oscar, who’s 30 something, finds out that his whole family’s been killed by his government.
Who supplied his government with the weapons to do this?
The American Government.
Maybe he could have found out years ago about his family, but who helped cover up the details about the massacre?
The American Government.
I don’t know about you, by I would feel some animosity towards the American Government that supplied the weapons and hid the details of the massacre for over 30 years. Maybe it’s just me and my silly way of looking at things.
Figure all the Pakistani’s, the Egyptians, the people in Saudi Arabia and other places where the US has supported a corrupt government that killed their own people.
Kind of get an idea of how people could be angry at us? (Iran, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, etc. All have received US aid and killed their own people.)
Think of this when you are about to say that you think there should be more government interference in your life. The more government, the more apt you are to lose your freedoms and very likely be killed just like Oscar’s family was.
Just get outside the “mainstream”.
Talk to those that were around in Germany during Hitlers time.
Talk the French who lived through the days when their own countrymen sided with Hitler and betrayed France.
Talk to the people of the middle and lower class that were around when the US supported the Shah of Iran when he was in power. He killed his own people, and the US government continued supporting him for decades.
Man in inherently evil – the one thing you do not have to teach a child is how to lie or steal. The child usually learns that all by him/herself.
You have to teach honesty, integrity and morals. Maybe that’s why we have so many people who have very few, if any, morals these days – we turned the teaching of children over to the state.
Talk about a gift to the government for an opportunity to brain wash its citizens! (I’ve said enough on this one!)
The prosecutor of Guatemala made it clear that one person can make a difference. I met people in my travel like that – one person doing something that affects a range of people. Pretty inspiring stuff.
So – to sum up what I gathered from this story:
1) One person trying to change the focus of a country, can do that.
2) What I think is reality may not be. (Remember, Oscar thought the people who raised him were his real mother and father, though they were not)
3) Never rely solely on your government to protect you – always insure that checks and balances are in place and enforced.
4) My government, the US Government, will lie to me when it is convenient for them to do so.
5) Always question those in power to see if they are truly doing what is best for the citizens of the country. If you do that consistently, you will usually find out that they (Elected or appointed officials) are doing everything under the sun, but very little that is good for the citizens.
6) The most important thing – look at facts, not what I am hearing from the radio, TV or a speech. I could have a field day with this one, but I’ll just state the concept one more time – look at facts, not what you (or I ) are hearing.
So, after reading this article, if you’re interested in hearing about the Dos Erres massacre, the podcast is here – The Dos Erres Massacre.
I hope you find it interesting.
Travel safely and play nice!