We have been turning over in our minds the following reflection from an interview with U.S. linguist and activist Noam Chomsky (1996):
Closer to the explanation is your observation that they [Eastern European dissidents] were supported by the US and the Vatican, unlike dissidents elsewhere, who were supported by no one with any power or influence. But that is a great understatement: they [Eastern European dissidents] were given massive support and attention by the entire Western world, quite unprecedented support, vastly greater than the support given to people within Western domains who were suffering far worse oppression and were defending freedom and justice with far greater courage. The disparity is so extraordinary that the very word “dissident” in Western languages refers to East Europeans; no one, except those few who have extricated themselves from the Western propaganda system, even uses the word “dissident” for people like the Central American Jesuit intellectuals who were assassinated in November 1989 by elite forces armed and trained by the US. And while every word of East European dissidents is widely publicized, hailed, and treasured, try to find even a reference to the very important and courageous writings of Fr. Ellacuría and his associates, or other Central American dissidents who had to flee from slaughter or were simply tortured and killed by US-run forces.
Accordingly, we invite you to join us in reading the “very important and courageous writings” of the Salvadoran intellectuals and martyrs. For starters, we suggest reading Ignacio Ellacuría’s essay, “Utopia and Prophecy in Latin America,” which is in the collection Toward a Society That Serves Its People (Georgetown University Press). For those interested, let’s meet to discuss it on Sunday 8 June at Café Ventana from 2:00-3:15 or so.
If you know anyone who would be would like to be a part of this reading group devoted to the Jesuit martyrs and Oscar Romero, please forward this information to them. For those outside of St. Louis, perhaps we could make good use of technology like Skype.
Lindsay Noesen and Mark Chmiel