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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Theme of Peace -- Alex Orantes reflects on the public celebration of the Peace Accords in El Salvador

On January 16th, the people of El Salvador marked the 15th Anniversary of the Peace Accords signed in 1992 at the end of the war. We recently received this reflection in an email from Alex with his perspective on the current climate in El Salvador:

The theme of peace is very much in vogue in El Salvador, and it seems that it will be an issue to exploit politically in the remaining time until the next elections. The mass media, so prejudicial to the people and so aligned with the government, tear their clothes talking about the necessity of cultivating a culture of peace. But in principle you shouldn’t have to trouble yourself to make the theme of peace the center of the news and publicity. The problem is that they want to pretend to achieve it by way of slogans, cooperative agreements among the mass media providers. But in the reality of the people and their everyday lives, all this publicity represents no more than a new ideological manipulation.

While the people continue to suffer from hunger and poverty because of neoliberal politics implemented by the government, there will be no peace. While we have a significant percentage of Salvadorans illiterate, there will be no peace. While there is unemployment, while the employed earn unjust wages, and while there is no justice for those who were victims of the repression and state violence in the war years, there will be no space for peace. As a result, the government, private business, and the churches aligned with their interests change peace into a political tool, an ideology to manipulate the people and their common sense, in order to pacify them anew so that they seek internal peace only, their “peace with God,” and more important still encourage their indifference, acceptance, and harmony with the existing order.

BP translation

Alex Orantes
Shalom Baptist Church

Atiquizaya, El Salvador
January 2007