Salvadorans in Canada revived the stories of the war with "The Battle of the Volcano"

Oscar Vigil

Toronto, Glen. Thirty years are definitely not enough to heal the political wounds, It is producing social and psychological war, and that was demonstrated over the weekend in Toronto during the screening of the documentary "The Battle of the Volcano", which revives the Salvadoran armed conflict makes more than three decades you.

No tears stopped rolling, Luckily the darkness of the cinema hall to save the hidden shame, a shame misunderstood because more than a weakness were actually a catharsis trauma undiagnosed or recognized. Trauma which certainly has always had the idea that there, but it has been kept in the corner more remote memories.

What was hard to hide itself were the sobs, those cries drowned the force, However, They forced more than one to leave the room at half projection before the impotence of silence them completely.

The silence was actually almost complete, only interrupted by the sounds of shrapnel, pumps and dialogues trying to give context to a conflict that lasted a whole 12 years and left a balance of 70 thousand dead, thousands injured and more than one million refugees, many of them now living in Canada.

"The Battle of the Volcano" is a documentary of the Salvadoran-based filmmaker Mexico, Julio López, which it was released two months ago in El Salvador and recounts the biggest offensive by the guerrillas then the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) the 11 November 1989 in the capital of the Central American country, and in its maximum intensity it lasted about 20 days.

The production includes historical images of those days and interspersed with dialogues of the protagonists on both sides almost 30 years later, who roam the precise places where they fought each other, both in the poorest neighborhoods as well as in the wealthiest of San Salvador.

fierce fighting, massive destruction, ruthless murders and runaways were terrified constant of the three weeks of fighting between the Salvadoran army supported by the United States and then the FMLN guerrillas, which in the end they made it clear that neither side could defeat the other and that therefore the armed struggle was no longer an option.

that battle, the guerrillas called "Final Offensive To Top", It was ultimately the catalyst that was a process of dialogue and negotiation that lasted three years and ended with peace agreements that marked the end of the armed conflict in January 1992.

Speaking to the audience in Toronto, Skype, Julio Lopez said it took six years to make the documentary, three years of research and three production, and that this spoke with about a hundred people who had fought in that battle, which chose 40 stories told by 30 people, which they are those that appear in the story.

"The important thing was to make a general picture of the whole battle told a lot of voices", he explained, adding that "it is a very important research work because he had never told the story of this battle, and because the aim of the film is to be a space for the memory of the Civil War and a space for dialogue among Salvadorans ".

"I think it's the first time you talk honestly of war, and that has been the most important, because people on all sides and of all ages are able to connect with the film and generate these processes of dialogue within their own homes. It has generated an important dialogue wounds are still open ", he said.

Toronto seems that time has not yet gone through those wounds, and that they are more fresh and open it as they are in the Central American country, probably because here the healing process never started.

"I go in the movie", said a Salvadoran audience, explaining what image appeared as part of the guerrilla forces attacked in Mejicanos, Peripheral capital city.

Another approached to count the impression he had on seeing her husband also in action, time to others remembered their experiences and those of their families, friends and acquaintances, a kind of collective catharsis to the end of the projection.

The documentary was presented by the Latin American Film Festival of Toronto (LATAFF for its acronym in English) with the support of the Consulate General of El Salvador in this Canadian city.

Roberto Martin, Salvadoran visual artist who left El Salvador precisely because of the armed conflict, said the documentary brought a huge amount of memory and is a reflection of the visions that both sides had during the conflict and the approach that a finalized once the war has occurred. "Those are the feelings within Salvadoran society in El Salvador and within the communities of Salvadorans abroad", he explained.

Meanwhile Oakland Ross, renowned Canadian writer and journalist who covered the Salvadoran armed conflict for newspapers The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star, He said he felt very moved by the story of that great battle, and particularly the counts made almost three decades later by the actors themselves of the conflict.

The exhibition was certainly a day of burden, but also of resilience for many Salvadorans in Toronto, a space for reflection on a difficult past and, as the filmmaker Lopez says, "An opportunity to find answers to the wounds of war".