About 1000 Shipibos live in Cantagallo, a shanty-town in the Rimac district of Lima, Peru. The Shipibo-Conibo are an indigenous group that live near the Ucayali river in the Amazon region of Peru. They make up about 10-15% of Cantagallo, the rest being populations that migrated from other areas in Peru, particularly the Andean regions. Although Cantagallo began being populated in the 1970s, the Shipibos began arriving there in the year 2000.
I started my first week of living with a family in Cantagallo on June 14. I arrived close to 5:00 and tecnocumbia music was already blaring. A male voice announced father’s day celebrations on a loudspeaker that the whole community could hear. He spoke in Shipibo, with only a few words of Spanish seeping through.
On July 18th, 1994, the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) was struck by a van loaded with explosives, resulting in 85 casualties and over 300 injuries. July 18th marks the 20th anniversary of this attack, a date made all the more resonant due to the fact that no one has ever been convicted for the crime.
This date was planted firmly in my mind when I planned my research trip. I knew I wanted to be in Buenos Aires to attend the commemoration, but I had not anticipated that multiple remembrances that would take place. This change of events serves to reiterate what CLACS has informed us throughout the planning process for our research trips; things change once you’re on the ground. Continue reading
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.