In November 1988, my parents left El Salvador and came to Canada, uncertain of what would become of their future. That didn’t matter: sure, Canada’s winter was tough, but the war in El Salvador was tougher.
They came searching for peace. They found it, and as a result, were able to start a family and have their kids graduate from college and university (yours truly went on to finish his graduate degree).
The cruelties of war were ones my parents and their generation experienced firsthand; ones which I have been fortunate enough to miss out. Even as someone who reads and writes about Latin American issues, I find it hard to imagine or understand them. Here in Canada, we’re fortunate to live in a country that has never gone through a civil war.
As you read this, thousands of kilometers away, real people—activists—are on the ground in Latin America doing real work in hopes of making their countries better: in El Salvador trying to keep kids out of gangs, in Venezuela fighting to restore democratic rights, or in Colombia trying to restore peace after half a century of fighting between the government and FARC. The list is endless.
And unfortunately, it’s a struggle. Activists often put their lives in danger. Living under the constant danger of death threats is part of the job. They’re aware of the risks. They accept them for the love of humanity.
So, to the children of my parents’ generation: we haven’t lived through violent struggles, but let’s not forget that these struggles exist. I’m lucky enough to share my thoughts behind the safety of a computer screen.
Others aren’t afforded that luxury.
The views expressed in this blog post are mine alone. They do not represent the views of any entities I am affiliated with in the past, present, or future.