I just arrived to Guatemala last week, and will be here for 2 months doing preliminary research for my dissertation. I am studying at the PLQ language school in Xela to brush up my Spanish and learn a bit of K’iche (an indigenous Mayan language).
I walked through the doors of PLQ and immediately felt at home with the posters and pictures promoting “Paz” “justicia” “derechos humanos” y “la lucha contra la impunidad” (peace, justice, human rights, and the fight against impunity).
One of my favorites, a mural painted by one of the former students, is a rendition of a famous photograph by American photographer Jean-Marie Simon, one of the few North Americans to document the violence in Guatemala in the early 1980s. The photograph is part of a larger collection, printed as a photo essay in her book Guatemala: Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny, recently published in Spanish as Guatemala: Eterna Primavera, Eterna Tirania, and made available for free to schools in Guatemala through a kick-starter project.
The painting features a quote by Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda:
“Podrán cortar las flores, pero no podrán detener la primavera.”
Which translates to: “They can cut the flowers, but they can not prevent spring.”