Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Los Sandinistas y Los Contras

By Amanda Glynn

Hola to all who are reading this blog.

Thank you for taking the time to follow our journey in Nicaragua. It is day two and already the experience is proving to be as rewarding as I had hoped. There are many aspects of the Nicaraguan experience that we will have the opportunity to learn about and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to listen to our first speakers who were former members of the Sandinista army and the Contra revolution; two groups representing opposing political views that led to war between the Nicaraguan people.

Hearing their stories was truly enlightening because it brought out my own personal debate about different modes of activism and one that is always challenging to think about is the question of whether or not violent revolution can be necessary or even justified to people who typically consider themselves peaceful. When people are resisting against great oppression, sometimes, it can seem that violence against their oppressors is the only means of change; but after hearing these speakers I am comfortable challenging this reaction and I challenge you to think about this as well.

In a women and gender studies class I learned about a theory in which the oppressed becomes the oppressor and I am going to take it out of context a little because it is the same idea here: something that these men spoke of is the way in which training for war stripped them of their humanity to the point where they could not even be a CIVILIAN anymore, it was no longer a function that they could perform after becoming military men. I put emphasis on the word civilian because something I think American’s specifically (because the majority of us are often separated from the reality of war) forget that wars get fought to protect CIVILIANS. If we are going to send people to fight wars and strip them of their humanity to the point where they are not even able to relate to the original cause then is that really an effective manner in which to create change, or are we setting ourselves up to repeat a cycle of constant non- peace? Does anyone ever win if there are no peaceful measures taken to ensure reconciliation or do we just spend our lives counter attacking?

I know that it is a hard topic to think about especially when you are not experiencing the same thing as I am right now, but please do some research on your own if you are interested in pondering these questions; there are plenty of examples of non- violent ideology for change and plenty of revolutionary examples as well. While you take the time to think about this or even just to look up some information on the internet to complete your own thought process keep in mind what I am about to share that I consider to be a very profound statement made by one of our speakers… “It’s a human right not to have war”, I think anyone could agree with this statement if they have thought about what humanity means to them.

These special men are living proof of the strength of humanity and how peace can exist for people who do not agree on the means to get to the same goal and yet are working together to get there peacefully one common goal at a time.

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