Se empieza cediendo con las palabras. —Esperanza, mi esposa
We begin to yield with words. —Esperanza, my wife
Psychology 101: we begin the desensitization process the moment we incorporate into our daily vocabulary words and comments, jokes or phrases that belittle women; even if the remarks or phrases seemed insignificant. The same applies for the intolerance towards other people who are different than us. We begin to yield with words to negative thoughts and sentiments. That’s where violence and intolerance begins; bigoted and discriminatory words as seeds.
Guatemala is a very sick country. Guatemala began its desensitization with the civil war sparked by a coup orchestrated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état. Guatemala was forced to assimilate ultra violence as normality. Nowadays, there are more violent acts than during the civil war years. We are so desensitized now that we see all kinds of weapons everyday, everywhere, and we see them as normal; as part of the scenery, part of the landscape. No wonder that not too long ago Prensa Libre reported that Guatemala was the fourth most violent country in Latin America.
As I write these words, I hear shotguns go off in our colonia, residential neighborhood, as part of “safety” procedures. Every night the shotguns are fired; bullet the blue sky. Who came up with this absurd idea that we will be safer by firing shots in the middle of the night, in the middle of our neighborhood, in the middle of our dreams, in the middle of our hearts. Who? I want to know! I demand to know. How did we get here?
I do not want to hear gun shots as normal. I refuse to take violent acts as normal. I do not want to be desensitized towards all the manifestations of violence. I do not want to see naked guns on the streets; at the entrance of banks; with every delivery truck; at shops and every tiendita in the country.
I do not want to be part of the problem. I will not yield to words that belittle women or other people. I will not. I want to be part of the solution.
I have been invited to participate in a blogging campaign under the name of Únete para poner fin a la violencia contra las mujeres (Unite to put an end to the violence against women). We at AntiguaDailyPhoto are happy to be part of this campaign.
At AntiguaDailyPhoto I shared with you about the documentary Killer’s Paradise by Director Giselle Portenier on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 2006. I also mentioned the No más campaign by Amnesty International to stop the killings of women in Guatemala; again in 2006.
This is a fragment of what I wrote then:
To me, it is unacceptable that the government and the police forces do so little or nothing to protect women. Last year  over 665 women were killed and there was not a single arrest for them. I support the NO MÁS (no more) campaign and the new law project now in the Guatemalan Congress to protect women’s safety and integrity.
In 2009, there will be a major campaign to eliminate the violence against women the world over. This campaign begins tomorrow in Guatemala City. I will be bringing you campaign program updates and links to blogs with information and supporting this campaign.
18 de noviembre
Círculo de Reflexión con Columnistas, en el marco de la Campaña.
Expositoras: Doctora Nadine Gasman, directora Fondo de Población de Naciones Unidas.
Doctora Ana Silvia Monzón, del movimiento social de mujeres en Guatemala. 7:30 a.m.
22 de noviembre.
Festival por la Vida de las Mujeres en el Parque Central, frente a la puerta principal del Palacio Nacional. 14:00 p.m. en adelante. Organiza independientemente del Lanzamiento la Coordinadora 25 de Noviembre.