The magnitude of the effects of the current violence compels us all to seek immediate solutions, most of which cause us to forget that violence in El Salvador is a problem that is rooted in a past that, has either been ignored or concealed, or reported in a one-sided fashion, corresponding to the interests of those relating it and forgetting that only “the truth will set you free” (cf. Jn 8:32). As a result, we see the persistence of violence, not as a response to a stimulus that the physical or social environment casts on individuals, but as a mystery of iniquity where it appears as a structural and institutionalized sin. Fr. Ignacio Ellacuría, SJ explained in 1973 that: “violence is a symptomatic fact that demands reflection.”
In the introduction to the A History of Violence, Óscar Martínez answer the question why a North American audience should read these essays showing some of the darkest sides of Central America:
Because I believe knowing is different from not knowing. I believe that knowing, especially with people like yours, who know how to wield politics, is the beginning of a solution, I believe...that knowing is what moves the waves. You can be one of the waves.