Saturday, September 1, 2012

Community radio and indigenous rights, part II

There are about 50 people present, mostly from radio stations in San Marcos, Huehuetenango, and Quetzaltenango. I am the only person from Quiché, so to speak, and there is someone from Santiago Atitlán (Sololá). There is a mix of people from religious radio stations, other small local stations, and about five people from the stations that belong to the community radio movement (as I define it). Several people from the CPO, a few from AMARC, which is an international association of community radio stations (as I understand, the AMARC-Guatemala has had some differences with the Cultural Survival/Mujb'ab Lyol/community radio movement folks).

The representative from the CPO is continuing to expound about taking up the microphone as a tool in the struggle. "We are the council of the Maya peoples of the west and we look for unity in diversity. Oh, heart of the fire, heart of the wind, heart of the heavens and of the earthy. One, two, three and four times we give you thanks." They just changed the slide so I can't reproduce the rest of it. 

"Who are we? We are the owners. Before the structure that now governs came here, we were here, we were connected to the air, to the earth, and we were part of the chain of life, and also part of the chain of the world. We talk about a territory of our own, that we have to defend. Our grandparents didn't say that we should give our land to the Europeans, to the Canadians, so that they can do mining."

He is going on to talk about the Maya being only one people, even though different languages, different religions.  "We have ancestral traditions of making decisions. So put the idea of the community radio in front of the local council. And so the radio will talk about what is going on with the land, with the water, with gold mining, in the lives of the communicators" (in Guatemala, people talk about "comunicadores sociales" -- social communicators -- as an umbrella term for journalists, I guess. It doesn't really have an English equivalent -- people who do social communication. It would include bloggers, twitterers, Facebookers, print journalists and broadcasters).

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