Special thanks to Scotland’s human rights journalist Billy Briggs for his article in yesterday’s Sunday Mail – Scotland’s largest selling Sunday paper, about Recovery Action and the trial of Rios Montt.
The article covered the project in some detail and was a great way to raise awareness of Guatemala’s genocide and the ongoing quest for peace and justice.
There was one error which I should mention – which I am sure was a Sunday Mail editing mistake. From the extensive evidence available, the Mayan Ixil people did not, generally, support the small group of left-wing guerrillas who were active in their area of the country. This was a claim used by the military junta, led by Rios Montt, to try and justify the genocide they carried out. It had little base in fact.
One anecdotal example I know of is Antonio, a Mayan Ixil survivor I spoke to in 2001. He was adamant that he and his family had never even heard the word ‘communism’ before his village was wiped out.
I first met Billy Briggs at a meal organised by then Amnesty International Scotland Director John Watson the day after Scotland’s first SNP Government was elected in 2007. Everyone was a bit bleary-eyed having stayed up all night watching the election result coming in. However, I did remember speaking to Billy about the time he had spent in Guatemala in 2006 with human rights photojournalist Angela Catlin. They did some powerful reporting on Guatemala’s femicide epidemic.
Billy has been very supportive of Recovery Action since we first contacted him in March. He immediately committed to try and publicise our work to as wide an audience as possible.
He has certainly delivered on his promise as the Sunday Mail is Scotland’s largest Sunday paper with a circulation of 885,000. We couldn’t have hoped for a better way to raise awareness in Scotland of the genocide issue and publicise the Recovery Action project.
So thanks to Billy Briggs, Lourdes Penados, Roddy Brett, Recovery Action’s volunteers and all of you for making the launch of the project a success.
Now the real work starts.
We are looking forward to the fundraising stage of Recovery Action. We will be raising funds for more exhumations of massacre graves by CAFCA Guatemala. CAFCA are an internationally-respected group of forensic anthropologists who have worked tirelessly since 1997 to unearth the truth of Guatemala’s genocide.