How can the Salvadoran community rescue historical memory when there is such a divide in national/political identity? Focusing on how historical memory post civil war has affected the post-war generation, one begins to realize there has not been a clear practice to create historical memory in El Salvador.
The governing party that held power after the civil war ended, ARENA, made neither an effort to preserve the memory of the civil war, nor have a dialogue about what occurred during that time. Since the left-wing FMLN party came into power with the election of Mauricio Funes in 2009, the same issues have remained. The government has failed to integrate education about the war into school nation-wide, and teachers are not required to discuss in the classroom what happened during the civil war. However, there is a program in which the government provides transportation for students throughout the country to visit museums, whether regarding the civil war or not, in order to promote historical memory.
On one of my visits to La Sofía Cartonera, a cardboard publisher at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina, I took this picture that shows cardboard book covers that have just been painted and are still wet. The man in the picture is Emiliano Luna, an undergraduate student who told me about the routine they have at La Sofía. Each one of them have shifts throughout the week and different tasks they need to complete each day.
In my first few weeks of interviews with activists to document the history of the LGBT movement in El Salvador, several things have become apparent:
- It is more accurate to say LGBT “movements.” The way that organization has broken down over time so far seems to be: gay men, transgender women, transgender men, lesbians, and feminist-lesbians. There has been some, but not much, collaboration between these groups. It does seem however, that transgender women first organized within gay men’s groups, and that feminist-lesbian organization came mostly from demobilized women guerrillas from the Salvadoran Civil War.
- I have only concentrated on the feminist-lesbian bloc so far. It has been interesting to hear the same dates come up in the interviews with activists from various generations. For instance, everyone has so far cited an international feminist conference held in El Salvador in 1993 as the starting point for the public feminist-lesbian movement in the country. Being able to start to draw a timeline from these women’s memories—to start to etch out the movement’s history—is thrilling.
LGBT activists flank the former Ombudsman for Human Rights, Oscar Luna, at a press conference in El Salvador on May 17, 2013.
I arrived to Córdoba, Argentina in June to write about La Sofía Cartonera (La Sofia Cardboard Publishing House), part of a project from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, that works with AMMAR (Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices), a female sex workers union that advocates for regulations and rights to protect women who engage in this work.
Out my window
Although most people that I’ve talked to who are not Brazilianists have been jealous about my ability to do research in Brazil this summer, I have, from day one, been quite unenthused about the prospect of being here for the World Cup. This is not because I am uninterested in futebol, but rather, because of the many practical difficulties that it arouses for getting around and getting things done. Roads are congested, lanes are closed, bus and metro workers around the country are striking over their working conditions (when public money is going to stadiums and the like), and many public institutions have special holiday hours.
Greetings from the humid and very welcoming city of Atlanta! I have decided to conduct research and devote the next ten weeks working as an intern at the Carter Center’s Americas Program.
The Carter Center focuses on giving a new angle towards what Humanitarianism and Development look like. As their mission statements says, “[The Carter Center is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.” As such, the Center does not try to duplicate work; rather, it tries to reach and analyze new issues affecting various regions of the world. The Center has done a stellar job trying to partner with different organizations, political and social groups, so it has nonpartisan approach.