As Memory Fades into History in Rural Guatemala: Creating Space for Reconciliation and Peace Among Ex-Combatants

Paige Alexandra Myers

Abstract


This work is the continuation of four weeks of original data collection and extensive research on the use of a historical narrative as the vehicle to social action and reconciliation with the past within a small socialist community in northern Guatemala in 2015. The goal of this research is to further expand on my prior research with an emphasis on the internal challenges this community faces. These challenges stem from the lack of reconciliation that took place in Guatemala following the 36-year civil war between the Guatemalan government and the guerilla forces of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). This research asks, how has this community created space for healing and reconciling with the memory of the conflict as a means to development and continuing the struggle? This research is supported through four weeks of ethnographic research in the same community in January 2016 by the author. Reconciliation occurs through the invented means of creative thinking of ex-combatant leaders in the community. Themes of solidarity, sustainability, and continuing the fight, sin armas (without arms), are integral to the continued development of the community. This research also explores the conflict among sub-groups based on gender, age, and community status that hinder development and reconciliation processes.


Keywords


Memory; Reconciliation; Finding Peace

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