Date: Sat, 30 Mar 1996 07:59:52 -0600
> S * IN ACTIV-L
Testimony to Massacres Deemed Dangerous by Education Minister
Cerigua Weekly Briefs, No.13, 27 March 1996
Guatemala City, March 27. A book which captures an ugly piece of Guatemalan history is too dangerous to be read by students, claims Education Minister Arabella Castro de Comparini.
Castro says Masacres de la Selva (Massacres in the Jungle), published in 1992 by San Carlos University, will inspire violence in public schools. The book consists of graphic eyewitness testimonies describing massacres by the army between 1975 and 1982 in the Ixcn region of northern Quiche and Huehuetenango provinces. The massacres were carried out under a series of military governments.
The testimonies were gathered by anthropologist and priest Ricardo Falla, who explains in the introduction that the book was written as "a humble homage to the indigenous people in particular and to the Guatemalan people in general." Falla says the book is not about death but rather an affirmation of life -- the lives of those who survived to give their testimony.
Falla agrees that the book could be dangerous -- because its contents call out for an investigation of these acts, and because it focuses on the dirty war in Guatemala in the early 1980s.
Under the constitution, the education minister cannot prohibit the book outright. Instead, Castro is asking parents to talk to teachers about the book and what she sees as its possible repercussions. Her attempts at censorship were criticized by Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) legislator Aura Marina Orzoy.
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