Thursday, March 01, 2012

Historians discuss El Salvador's civil war

Mike Allison,whose Central America Politics blog I regularly refer to, has an article on the Al Jazeera website titled El Salvador's brutal civil war: What we still don't know.  He summarizes the discussions from a gatherings of historians in San Salvador who came together to discuss the historical record of El Salvador's 12 year civil war.   The seminar was sponsored by the Unit of Investigations About the Salvadoran Civil War of the University of El Salvador.

Allison explains why such a discussion was important:

Most postwar discourse has been driven by elites who participated in the conflict either on the part of the guerrillas or the government. It's not that these individuals' perspectives are wrong; it is just healthier if they are challenged or supplemented by outside views. Those could come from more objective academics or from non-elite testimonies...
Another reason why the conference was important was that El Salvador's Armed Forces participated. Those in attendance sincerely hoped that the military's participation marked the beginning of a greater openness towards its participation in the war. Colonel Adalberto Ernesto Garcia Rivera explained to the audience what material of theirs was available to the public and to academics for their personal and scholarly use. Remarkably, he was sitting next to the director of the Museum of the Word and Image, Carlos Enrique Consalvi, who was the voice of the FMLN's wartime radio station, Radio Venceremos. The two men even joked about the possibility of collaborating at some future date.
You can read Mike Allison's discussion of what he views as the unanswered questions of the civil war here.

For more discussion looking back at this history of the civil war, watch this half hour video on Al Jazeera featuring former US Ambassador Robert White and El Salvador's current ambassador to the US, Francisco Altschul.

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