March 16, 2000
MEMORY AND TRUTH AFTER GENOCIDE IN GUATEMALA
Panel Discussion at U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
WASHINGTON, D.C. — How do societies come to terms with the consequences of genocide? The case study of Guatemala will be addressed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday, March 21st at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To reserve seating, call tickets.com at (800) 400-9373. Tickets.com service fees apply.
Last year, a UN-sponsored truth commission held the Guatemalan state responsible for acts of genocide committed against the Mayan community during that country’s civil war, which ended in 1996. The Commission was established as part of the peace accord that ended the conflict. It was charged with investigating human rights abuses committed by Guatemalan military forces during the 36-year-long civil war that claimed over 200,000 lives, mostly Mayan.
“The panel will look at the difficult question of whether a society that has suffered the physical and moral devastation of genocide can achieve reconciliation and lasting peace,” said Jerry Fowler, staff director of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience. “This is the central question facing Guatemala and also is relevant to other societies that are trying to reconstruct themselves.”
Panelists include Christian Tomuschat, a German law professor who headed the truth commission, as well as two Guatemalans deeply involved in facing the challenge of social reconstruction: Rosalina Tuyuc, who founded and leads an organization of Mayan women widowed by political violence, and Roberto Cabrera, a physician who leads the Catholic Church’s Recovery of Historical Memory Project, which aims to use memory as a tool of reconciliation. Joining them will be Neil Kritz, whose work at the United States Institute of Peace includes ongoing research, writing and consultation on how societies deal with a legacy of past abuses. The discussion will be moderated by Kate Doyle, director of the Guatemala Documentation Project at the National Security Archive.
The discussion is cosponsored by the Museum’s Committee on Conscience and Office of Public Programs in cooperation with the Due Process of Law Foundation and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights. The Committee on Conscience was established to alert the national conscience, influence policy makers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity.
A unique public-private partnership, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has welcomed more than 13.5 million visitors since it opened in April 1993. This May, it will mark two decades of its founders’ visionary leadership with the opening of its newest exhibition, Flight and Rescue; the national Days of Remembrance ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, and an evening honoring the work of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust and its successor, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
For more information regarding the panel discussion, or to arrange for interviews with participants, please contact the Media Relations Department at the Holocaust Memorial Museum: Andy Hollinger (202) 488-6133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.