MAYA PERSPECTIVES Educational Documentary Series

 

(THE AUDIO-VISUAL LIBRARY IN THE UGL NOW HAS THIS SERIES; CHECK THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THESE 20 FILMS BELOW; YOU CAN WATCH THESE VIDEOS IN THE AUDIO-VISUAL LIBRARY)

 

About the Mayan people  Yesterday and Today

 

The Pre-Classical and Classic Maya who flourished between approximately

(2000 B.C-250 A.D) in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, perfected the most

elaborate writing system in the hemisphere, mastered mathematics, created

astronomy based calendars of astonishing accuracy, and built massive

pyramids all over southeastern Meso-America. Today there are some twenty

eight different Mayan languages still spoken by descendants of the ancient

Maya. Mayans of all language groups were systematically subjugated by the

Spaniards at the time of the conquest in the early 16th century. Indians

who were not killed in battle or felled by European diseases were forced

to work on colonial plantations, often as slaves.

 

 

Socioeconomic Conditions

 

Guatemala has a population of over 10 million people. Eighty-seven percent

of indigenous households are living below the poverty line. Forty-one

percent of Mayan children are malnourished. Fifty percent of Mayan children

die before the age of five. Eighty-seven percent of indigenous families

have no potable water, while over two million have no access to proper

sanitation, and seventy percent have no electricity.

 

 

 

War and Peace

 

According to the Commission of Historical Clarification created as part of

the peace accords,"Guatemala's government allowed the military to carry out

policy of genocide against Mayan people during the bloodiest era of the

nation's 36-year-war where more than 200,000 people died before the

conflict ended with a peace agreement in December of 1996. The Mayan of

Guatemala have suffered five centuries of exploitation and repression. They

have been massacred, enslaved, dispossessed of communal lands, and

discouraged from practicing their cultural traditions. They continue to be

exploited through a system of land tenure inherited from the Spanish

conquest.

 

 

 

Healing and Reconstruction

 

Now that the war has ended a tremendous reconstruction of the country has

begun. On December 29, 1998, at the second anniversary of the signing of

the peace accords the president of the Republic of Guatemala, President

Alvaro Arzϊ, asked pardon from the Guatemalan people on behalf of the state

for the massacres and torture carried out by the military and security

forces during the internal armed conflict. This gesture of reconciliation

has opened the doors of communication for the Mayans granting them the

political space needed to develop their own medias of mass communications.

 

 

 

About Maya Perspectives

 

Maya Perspectives is an award winning educational series which documents the

lives and struggles of the Mayan people. Patricia Moore is the "Maya

Perspectives" series  creator, producer and primary videographer. Moore is

a photojournalists and videographer specializing in Mayan indigenous rights

issues. She has been a contributing photographer for the Texas Observer for

the past eight years and has produced three nationally touring photographic

exhibits on the Mayan people of Guatemala and Chiapas.

 

She first visited Guatemala in 1993 as a documentary photographer, invited

by a human rights delegation, organized by the Guatemala Support Network

and the Dominican Sisters of Houston, Texas. The war in Guatemala

heightened the dangers of the fact finding expedition. "At first glance,

the beauty of the land and the colorful clothing of the Mayan people

disguises the tyranny the people suffer," says Moore.

 

While seeking a degree in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin,

Moore studied the ancient history  and traditional customs of the Mayan

people.  During summer and semester breaks she continued to return to

Guatemala, sometimes venturing into Chiapas, Mexico with her backpack and

Sony camcorder. Climbing 10,000 foot mountain ranges and trekking through

jungles to get to isolated Mayan villages was hard on a Texan who lived

most of her life at sea-level altitudes. As the years progressed she

learned more about the realities of the Mayan people. Most importantly, she

was accepted into their communities and families as a friend.

 

 

 

MAYA PERSPECTIVES Documentary  Video Series

 

(1)  "The  Return of ARDIGUA"   ( one hour)

This is a documentary about the return of the dispersed refugees who had

fled the war in Guatemala during the early 1980s and settled in Chiapas

along the border of Guatemala. These refugees did not live in the Mexican

refugee camps because they did not leave Guatemala in large groups from

areas where the Guatemalan massacres took place.  Most of the dispersed

refugees where community leaders and their family members who had suffered

selective repression by the Guatemalan military. Many left with out their

identification documents with hopes of one day returning to Guatemala.

 

Under the October 8th peace agreement representatives from the refugee

camps had negotiated with the Guatemalan government to return to their

country and purchase large tracts of land on credit.  The refugee not

living in camps decided to organize themselves to petition the government

for their return. ARDIGUA, the Organization of Dispersed Guatemalan Refugee

negotiated with the Guatemalan government for six years and finally won the

right to return to the southern coast , where the richest farmland is

located in the heart of the coffee growing regions. Rich landholders in the

region tried to stop the purchase of plantation land to the returning

farmers.

 

During their six years of struggle to be recognized as documented refugees

by the government, ARDIGUA refugees prepared themselves in the hopes of

establishing a cooperative coffee plantation where workers owned their own

homes and shared in the work and profits of the plantation. Credit was

finally extended to ARDIGUA in November of 1998 to purchase the first of

four coffee plantations ARDIGUA would acquire. Profits from the sale of

plantation coffee are used to repay their debt..

 

Filmed by Patricia Moore, edited by Vicki Hartin and Patricia Moore,

narrated by Marco Fregoso,translated by Genie Johnson and Marco Fregoso.

 

Maya Perspectives Documentary Series

 

(2&3)  Low Intensity War and NeoLiberalism:part 1 & 2 ( two thirty minute

shows)

On January 1, 1994, the Zapatista Army of Liberation declared war on the

Mexican government and occupied one third of the state of Chiapas, Mexico

as a response to the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement and

abuse of indigenous rights issues. This program tells the story of

campesino and human rights organizations struggle during the height of this

conflict.

 

Filmed and edited by Patricia Moore

 

(3&4) Two Rituals of the Mayan Highlands  ( two 30 minutes)

Mayan ritual of thanksgiving and a healing ritual.

 

Filmed and edited by Dr. Geoff Grimes

 

(5) Laguna 16   (30 minutes)

The community of Laguna 16 have occupied federal land and are petitioning

the government for land ownership.  A near by estate owner is trying to

block the sale of the lands. The conditions the farmers are living in  and

their struggle to obtain land  is a story repeated throughout Guatemala.

CONIC, a national indigenous farmers organization visits the community and

assists

them during their fight for the land. Two months later, CONIC returns with

health care workers from the Coatepeques Hospital, a Doctor of the PIES

association and members from the Workers Union of Quetzaltenango who have

helped them to organize this visit  to bring medicine to the community.

After the children receive their vaccinations a pinata game is played.

 

Filmed by Patricia Moore, edited by Vicki Hartin and Patricia Moore,

narrated by Marco Fregoso,translated by Genie Johnson and Marco Fregoso.

 

 

(6) La Blanca Ocos  (30 minutes)

On September 25, 1996, 426 people were violently evicted from the community

of La Blanca in Ocos, San Marcos, Guatemala. In February of that year

campesinos had established an urban compound on land set aside for urban

development for the poor. Since this time four people have been

assassinated and the communities homes have been destroyed and rebuilt

three times.

Maya Perspectives visits the village to gain a Mayan perspective on what

has occurred.

 

Filmed and edited by Patricia Moore

 

 

(7) The Michael Devine Case  (30 minutes)

At the fourth annual conference of the Guatemalan Support Network of Texas

a researcher and law student form St. Mary's University San Antonio, gives

an analysis of declassified CIA and State Department documents and other

information surrounding the murder of Michael Devine, a US

citizen who was living in Guatemala. PrimeTime news cast on Michael Devine

is shown with the permission of the news service.

 

Filmed and edited by Patricia Moore.

 

(8) Jennifer Harbury and Alice Zackman stories  (30 minutes)

Jennifer Harbury relates her story of the quest to find her husband, a

Commander in the URNG ORPA guerrilla army.  Alice Zackman tells the story

how  she founded the Guatemalan Human  Rights Commission USA in Washington

D.C.

 

Filmed and edited by Dr. Geoff Grimes.

Maya Perspectives Documentary Series

 

 

(9) Seminal   (30 minutes)

In Guatemala on December 29, 1996, peace accords were signed between the

Guatemalan government, the military and the URNG which ended 36 years of

war. The body of Carlos Vidal, a community religious leader (catechist) is

exhumed from an unmarked grave 15 years after the military took him into

the mountains and tortured him. Testimony by his father and wife are given.

The town of Seminal gather to pay respects to his memory.

 

Filmed by Patricia Moore, edited by Vicki Hartin and Patricia Moore,

narrated by Marco Fregoso, translated by Genie Johnson and Marco Fregoso.

 

(10) The Weavers of Guatemala   (thirty minutes)

The history of weaving in Guatemala and the different types of weaving are

explained as well as identity and traditional design.

 

Filmed and edited by Dr. Geoff Grimes.

 

 

(11) Tuxauc Exhumation  and Panzos Exhumation (one hour)

After 18 years the Ixil Mayan return to their small farming village to give

proper burial to their dead and rebuild their homes. Village testimony

reveals eighty percent of the population of the community of Tuxauc were

massacred by the Guatemalan military in 1981 and 1982. Included is the

short video on the Panzos massacre exhumation and Mayan burial ceremony.

 

Filmed by Patricia Moore, edited by Vicki Hartin and Patricia Moore,

narrated by Marco Fregoso,translated by Genie Johnson and Marco Fregoso.

 

(12) Joseph Kennedy speech: Shut Down the School of the Americas (30 minutes)

Congressman Joe Kennedy comes to Austin, Texas and speaks on his

legislature to close the School of the Americas.

 

Filmed and edited by Patricia Moore

 

(13) The Movement of Tzuk Kim-pop (30 minutes)

The Movement, TZUK KIM POP, (TKP)  is comprised of a diverse spectrum of

Mayan and non-governmental organizations. TKP works in the Western

Highlands of Guatemala,  an area comprised of 80 municipalities that are

situated 2,200 meters above sea level.  In this region political,

socioeconomic and environmental data reveal a critical level of poverty,

especially amongst the rural indigenous populations. Guatemala's Western

Highlands are inhabited by approximately 2.5 million people. This is a

concentration of 25 percent of Guatemala's total population in 8 percent of

the nation's territory.  Eighty percent of this population are Mayan who

belong to the major linguistic communities of Tzutuhil, Kakchikel, Kiche

and Mam. For these reasons, Tzuk kim-pop focus of work is in this area.

Filmed and edited by Patricia Moore

 

(14&15) Land struggles in Guatemala and the work of UTESP part 1&2 ( 30

minutes.) Carlos Mejia, director of  Union of State Workers and Popular

Sectors (UTESP), talks about the work of UTESP and the struggle for land

during the Guatemalan war. Atanasio Tzul: Guatemala Support Network

conference in Texas 1996.

 

Filmed and edited by Patricia Moore

 

 

Maya Perspectives Documentary Series

 

(16&17) Guatemalans United in Dallas:Voz del Pueblo  part 1&2 (30 minutes)

 Guatemaltecos Unidos en Dallas organization give testimony to why members

fled to the United States for political asylum and a plea for Amnesty is

given.

 

Filmed by Marco Fregoso, Dan Darling, and Moke Neeley, edited by Vicki

Hartin and Patricia Moore, translated by Genie Johnson and George St.

Clair. .Song by Pete Sears copyright granted

 

 

(18-19-20) San Isidro Plantation (30 minutes per tape)

Guatemalan campesinos (farmers) organize themselves into a Coffee produce

workers union on the San Isidro plantation. They are fired from their jobs

and black listed by the owner of the plantation  and because of this unable

to obtain work at other coffee plantations. On the night of December 25th

at a Christmas celebration in Santa Anita, the small home town of the

plantation workers, which happens to be located in the middle of the San

Isidro plantation, security guards disrupt the festival by ambushing the

workers with machetes, knives and firearms. Four people from Santa Anita

are wounded during the attempted massacre.

 

This documentary follows the farmers in their pursuit of justice and

reinstatement of their jobs which has been court ordered by the presiding

judge of the Labor Justice Department and whose court authority and orders

have been ignored by the plantation owner.

 

Filmed by Patricia Moore, edited by Vicki Hartin, Marco Fregoso and

Patricia Moore, translated by Marco Fregoso and Genie Johnson.

 

 

22 videocassettes : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. + 1 guide (5 leaves ; 28 cm.) Contents

[V. 1] The return of ARDIGUA –

[v. 2] Low intensity war and neoliberalism : part 1&2 –

[v. 3] Two rituals of the Mayan Highlands –

[v. 4] Laguna 16 -- [v. 5] La Blanca Ocos –

[v. 6] The Michael Devine case –

[v. 7] Jennifer Harbury and Alice Zackman stories –

[v. 8] Seminal -- [v. 9] The weavers of Guatemala –

[v. 10] Tuxauc exhumation and Panzos exhumation –

[v. 11] Joseph Kennedy speech : shut down the School of the Americas –

[v. 12] The movement of Tzuk Kim-pop –

[v. 13] Land struggles in Guatemala and the work of UTESP : part 1&2 –

[v. 14] Guatemalans United in Dallas : Voz del Pueblo pt. 1&2 –

[v. 15] San Isidro Plantation : Part 1-3 –

[v. 16] Pueblo to people.

 

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12/21/2008

 

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