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Insensitez (Senseless) (English language translation)
By Horacio Castellanos Moya
From WINGS: Focusing again on the events and aftermath of the civil war, this novella tells the story of a profoundly unsympathetic protagonist who is given the task of collating the testimonies collected by the church from victims of the genocide. As he continues with his work, he becomes increasingly paranoid and unsure of his own sanity. The novella is formatted to reflect both the testimonies themselves and the deteriorating state of mind of the main character: there are no paragraph breaks and almost no punctation. It is a challenging read, but it was well received. Castellanos Moya was awarded the North California Book Award for the novella.
I, Rigoberta Menchu
By Rigoberta Menchú
From WINGS: The autobiography of Rigoberta Menchú, an indigenous activist who lived through the civil war. In the book she graphically describes the injustices suffered by her community and her journey towards becoming a political activist. The book has been the center of some controversy but has nonetheless been recognized as a crucial text in Guatemalan literature. Since the war, she has campaigned for indigenous rights in Guatemala and justice following the genocide. In 1992, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
Men with Guns
From WINGS: A deeply moving film about a doctor searching for his students who have left the city to practice in the countryside among indigenous communities. On his travels he discovers what the realities of the civil war and genocide have done to his country. As a wealthy city dweller, these realities have until now completely passed him by. Director John Sayles also seems acutely aware that the conflicts in Central America have also largely passed the world by and the film places the viewer in the same shoes as the doctor discovering the atrocities alongside the main character. Sayles even goes as far as juxtaposing two completely oblivious American tourists with his haunted protagonists to bring his point home.
From WINGS: – Jayro Bustamante soared to fame with the success of his film Ixcanul (Volcano). The film is in Kaqchikel Maya and features an indigenous cast with little or no previous acting experience. The film tells the story of an unmarried young woman who discovers she is pregnant. With a relatively simple premise, the director examines the beauty of Maya traditions, the oppression inherent in some of those traditions, machismo and the Guatemalan adoption scandal. It is an arrestingly beautiful film that has collected numerous accolades including various best film awards at a host of international film festivals.
From WINGS: The most well know Guatemalan musician to date, and one of the most famous Latin American artists, his music covers a huge range of genres including Latino pop, Rock, Ballads, Acapella and Norteño music.
From WINGS: A relatively new artist on the Guatemalan music scene, Rebeca Lane is making waves. Her music is primarily the very popular, but not normally highly regarded, rap and regueton genre. However, in an unusual reclaiming of the genre, her songs rail against corruption in government and oppression of women and indigenous communities. She recently won an award in a contest for musicians looking to promote the right to freedom of speech with her song Cumbia de Memoria, a cumbia/rap about the crimes perpetrated during the civil war and genocide.