June 1987. Ronald Reagan, safe behind a wall of Secret Service agents, challenged the leader of the Soviet Union to tear down the Berlin Wall. The worshippers of Saint Ronnie oooohed and awed and swooned over the courage of “Great Communicator.” (excuse me while I go throw up)
1987. The civil war in Guatamala had been going on since the seventies. The main targets anybody supporting labor unions, teachers, preachers, supporters of land reform and especially the natives of the country. There were whole sections where the religious leaders had been driven out and lay people took their lives in their hands smuggling the means of celebrating communion in sacks of corn or beans. Being discovered meant death. If you were lucky they didn’t torture you first and mutilate your body afterwards.
1987. The civil war in El Salvador had been going on since the late seventies. Foreign church workers had been deported. Local priests had been murdered. Archbishop Romero probably signed his own death warrant in a homily given two weeks before his assassination. It concluded with “In the name of God, then, in the name of the suffering people, whose cries rise to the heavens, every day more tumultuously, I ask you, I beg, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression!”
That was 1980. Later that year four American church women were brutally murdered. El Mozote, other villages, nameless refugees. Villagers driven from their homes, fleeing on foot, often for days or weeks. The old, the weak and the young dying on the side of the trail. This went on for over ten long, murderous years.
Honduras. No civil war but lots of refugee camps. These are the countries the children are trying to escape from, Countries with minimal governments but lots of gangs. These kids are just trying to survive. At least some of them may have relatives in this country who came as refugees a generation ago. These are the countries we broke. We’ve never faced it. We’ve never admitted it
We didn’t hear the voices that just might have cried out Mr. Reagan stop sending the gun ships. Mr. Reagan, stop sending the bullets, mortars, guns and weapons that are killing us. Mr. Reagan, stop training the soldiers that are killing us. Mr. Reagan, let us live. Let us choose how we want to live. Give us the chance to raise our children, not bury them.
Oh God/dess this is too much. I pray my nephews and their children won’t be called on to answer for our sins.