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Miquel Dewever-Plana
Guatemala, the silent genocide (II)

Guatemala is the Latin American country with the highest number of « forced disappearances » : 45000 people are said to be missing, including a majority of Indians.
Most of these disappearances happened at the beginning of the 80 ‘s, at the time of the dictatorship of General Lucas Garcia and General Efrain Rios Montt, but still today, the reality of this aspect of the war is often being questioned. Trials are rare in this country where impunity reigns.
After more of 20 years of suffering and misunderstanding, the exhumations allowed the families to go into mourning.
Apart from the association members and anthropologists, we mainly met the families and collected their testimonies during exhumations and burials in the Quiché.
A book on this work has been released by Parenthèses Publishing, and a special version in Spanish has been printed in 5000 copies and given to the families of the victims at the beginning of 2007.
More over, an exhibition of 65 prints was presented at the centre of the village, and a DVD, summarizing the book, was shown in front of the whole community. The goal was to allow the Maya people (the main victims) to understand better this genocide and to give them the opportunity to talk, for the first time, about their personal experience. This investigation was more than necessary in this country, which had made the choice of oblivion and impunity.
This work is also a reflection on photography. How can we use photography and what are its limits ? Why and for whom are we taking pictures ?…
The return of this material within these communities is an answer of the author to his involvement as a photographer.
The report shows the books distributions, the exhibitions and the DVD screenings in the Pa’al and Tzalbal communities, two Maya communities victims of the genocide.

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