February 19, 2015. A reflection by Nicole Einbinder, a student participant in the International Studies “Task Force” supporting the Salvadoran human rights organization Asociación Pro-Busqueda:
“This whole quarter, I have focused on researching the La Quesera massacre. I dug through human rights documents and radio and newspaper clippings, tracked down important dates, and learned in general about an event that took hundreds of innocent lives as the army unleashed its horror on the people. Today, however, I went to La Quesera; I went to Usulután, saw the Lempa River where a bridge attack by guerrillas served as a catalyst for the army’s brutality against the people, and met with a family personally affected by an atrocity I could never even begin to comprehend.”
“Our group met with the family of Doña Milagro, a woman with unparalleled courage and grit despite the underlying fact that her own children, her flesh and blood, were taken from her in 1981 and she has never seen them since. Despite my limited Spanish, I felt the strength when I embraced her for a hug; I saw it in her eyes. During the interview process, I played and interacted with children in her family, and especially enjoyed playing a pick-up soccer game with them that I think truly shows the power of the game to bring people together even with language barriers. They live in absolute poverty, but they are such smart kids, such adorable kids who deserve a bright future. And as I gave them goodbye hugs and departed from their home, all I could think about was that I wish I could know they will have positive futures where their dreams can come true. They deserve it.”
“My experience in El Salvador has certainly been intense thus far; the country is known for violence and gangs but as of now I have been taken aback by the warmness of the people who completely embrace us even though we are foreigners. They have experienced so much devastation and yet are so positive, so driven, I cannot even begin to accurately sum it up in words. Their voices deserve to be heard, they must be heard, to ensure the past will never be forgotten as we hopefully can contribute to their healing process.”
Learn more about Task Force and CHR’s collaboration with Pro-Busqueda by clicking here.
(Photo: Mural in La Quesera)