Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Were Wrong to Try and Kill You

Journalist Vets in El Salvador crossed the Torola River on a bridge this time, a much different experience from crossing in the 1980s. Once, Jon Lee Anderson’s orange car filled with water in the middle of the shallow river, and with Jon and Nancy McGirr, I waded to the far ( ERP guerrilla-held) shore. Army mortars began to fall behind us, then eerily stopped. We tried to make our way back across, but came under a rain of bullets from them mid-river. Never made it that day.

"You were wrong to try to cross the river," said the Salvadoran commander in San Miguel. But he made an admission too. "And we were wrong to try and kill you."

So this would be Nancy and my first experience of Perquin. I’d call it Kafka-esque.The museum is not to be missed. Here is an ex-combatant in front of the remains of the plane in which Domingo Monterroso was cradling what he thought was the Radio Venceremos transmitter. Just as we pulled up a tour bus carrying about 40 middle-age Salvadorans was leaving after their visit. We skipped the guerrilla camp. Guides, wounded ex-combatants, said they get an average of 60-70 visitors a day.