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Volume 16, Number 7
June 9, 2010

opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Mandatory conflict of interest; The oil spill; and Israeli thugs
Endara, Thirty-nine years after they took Father Gallego away
Beluche, The crisis within Martinelli's coalition
Bendib, The rule of law on the high seas
Human Rights Watch, For a real investigation of the flotilla killings
Nasser, Israel is fueling anti-Americanism among US allies
Avnery, Kill a Turk and rest
Blossier, The US-Brazilian cotton dispute before the WTO
Lloyd, China and Brazil
Boscov-Ellen, Drug policy and violence in Mexico
Collins, Remember Prohibition?
Reporters Without Borders, Colombian intelligence services targetted the media
Amnesty International, Worldwide human rights report
Frederick, Trinidad & Tabago government ousted over corruption
Han Shan, Chevron's attempted revenge for documentary about abuses in Ecuador stalls
Weisbrot, Europe's economic woes are self-inflicted
Greenpeace, Prosecution of whaling whistleblowers a test for Japan's new prime minister
Bernal, The International Criminal court and the Inter-American Human Rights Court
Jackson, Trashing Panama in the name of nationalism
Leis, Héctor Gallego's cause
Letters to the editor

Don't look for me,
keep up the fight
by Raúl Leis R.

One day like today 39 years ago, they disappeared Father Héctor Gallego. Among the things he left behind he wrote the following statement: "If I disappear don't look for me, keep up the fight." The truth is that many of us have disobeyed and are still searching, but the more difficult thing is following the second part, keeping up the fight for which he gave his life in the fields of Santa Fe, Veraguas.

What was his fight? For that I go back today to look at the pieces of paper on which I took some notes on the conclusions of a seminar held in the mountains of Veraguas, a few weeks before the kidnapping. With blue ink and hasty notes I wrote down some of the ideas that the campesinos and Father Héctor Gallego discussed. And I quote: "The objective of our struggle is to raise a person's consciousness so that person recognizes his or her rights. We must be conscious to thus help others to be so. We must use dialogue to raise consciousness, and thus change the situation and mentality of men and women."

What was the reason for proposing this consciousness raising? "Because we feel the needs in how we live. To make change in society, and so that people can live like human beings. Because we have considered the problems and we see the need to end the abuses, to lend a hand so that we can develop as human beings. Men and women are people, not instruments, and the present society doesn't allow us to fully develop ourselves. Why change this mentality? To get to a social order that considers people to be human for what they are and not for what they have, one in which money is a means and not an end. We need to recognize our rights and fight against injustices, so that our values and equality among mankind are recognized."

For the campesinos and for Héctor, what was money to that day's society? "It is an end. The God of money is used to enslave, humiliate and subjugate us. What should money be? A means to develop us ourselves as people, not to exploit us, a means to live properly."

How do we make people aware, in which ways? "By talking at every moment when the opportunity is presented, so that our rights are recognized. By knowing and analyzing the current situation and its causes. By seeing how we want to be. By seeking a commitment. By making a plan of action. By evaluating our actions."

Is there something false in these ideas? Or are they not, better stated, the application of the evangelical message, the universal statement of human rights, of all the advances in human dignity that have been made in the face of the campesinos' harsh realities?

Hector Gallego was the bearer of a humanizing proposal of Christian, social, humanist and inclusive inspiration, not only viable through the deep commitment to the poor people in the fields, but  also for other excluded social actors. It touched me to accompany him in his final trip to the capital, in the search of this idea's articulation among the workers, students and urban communities.

His commitment cost him his life, as it was seen as a danger for the great established political and economic interests. But the message that he embodied lives in many ideas, proposals and commitments, as nearly 40 years later Panama continues to be a country of enormous inequalities and endless injustices.


Also in this section:
Editorials: Mandatory conflict of interest; The oil spill; and Israeli thugs
Endara, Thirty-nine years after they took Father Gallego away
Beluche, The crisis within Martinelli's coalition
Bendib, The rule of law on the high seas
Human Rights Watch, For a real investigation of the flotilla killings
Nasser, Israel is fueling anti-Americanism among US allies
Avnery, Kill a Turk and rest
Blossier, The US-Brazilian cotton dispute before the WTO
Lloyd, China and Brazil
Boscov-Ellen, Drug policy and violence in Mexico
Collins, Remember Prohibition?
Reporters Without Borders, Colombian intelligence services targetted the media
Amnesty International, Worldwide human rights report
Frederick, Trinidad & Tabago government ousted over corruption
Han Shan, Chevron's attempted revenge for documentary about abuses in Ecuador stalls
Weisbrot, Europe's economic woes are self-inflicted
Greenpeace, Prosecution of whaling whistleblowers a test for Japan's new prime minister
Bernal, The International Criminal court and the Inter-American Human Rights Court
Jackson, Trashing Panama in the name of nationalism
Leis, Héctor Gallego's cause
Letters to the editor


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