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Chasquis at Capac Ñam: Reconciliation

Chasquis at Capac Ñam: Reconciliation

By Vanessa Verastegui

The preparation and delivery of the 9 volumes of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission does not mean that we have achieved reconciliation, but that this process has just begun, judging many culprits who remain in the spotlight, and, most importantly , raising awareness of a culture of peace and rights in Peru.

Chasquis en Capac Ñam: First Steps for Reconciliation

The preparation and delivery of the 9 volumes of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission does not mean that we have achieved reconciliation in the country, but that this process has only just begun, since the PIR / Comprehensive Reparations Plan remains on the agenda, Suggested in the report, trying many culprits who remain in the spotlight, and, most importantly, raising awareness of a culture of peace and rights in Peru.


Faced with the danger that reigning indifference persists, as happened at the time of the armed conflict, various institutions aware of the need to build historical memory have organized a series of events. At the moment, for example, a group of chasquis is crossing the Inca routes, among whom is Felipe Varela, a member of civil society and two representatives of relatives and / or affected by political violence. In Tawantisuyo times, these trails communicated all the regions of the Inca empire, from Ecuador in the north to Chile in the south and northwest of Argentina. Through the Walk for Peace and Solidarity, it is intended to symbolically represent national reconciliation as the desire and task of all Peruvians, victims or not of war. The walkers already began their journey on May 1 and will continue their journey for four months, walking 15 hours on average. Finally they will have traveled 2200 km. from Piura to Puno. This initiative is promoted by the citizen movement, made up of civilians, organizations and activists in the defense of human rights, as well as the Ombudsman's Office and the Roundtable for the Fight against Poverty.

Phrases like "The end justifies the means", the people's war ”, used by Sendero Luminoso, and "Righteous pay for sinners" -a subversive was equivalent to the disappearance of five innocent peasants - by paramilitary forces and the State, they have left us a balance of orphaned children, destroyed families, many disappeared and destroyed villages and towns, how many rapes and psychological damages against Peruvian women and men , so the social debt is daunting. The frustration, marginalization and discrimination of the majorities exercised by elitist sectors in the country since historical times has generated fundamentalist ideologies such as that of the Shining Path and that of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. Today we face the ethnocacerista movement, an unusual mix of fascism, indigenousism and nationalism. These messianic movements in the name of "Gonzalo Thought" and the return to "Tahuantisuyo" seek out proselytes among the youth of the city and mainly of the countryside, since all resentment and social violence are channeled into them.

The Shining Path ideology was born in the university cloisters of the city of Ayacucho. Teachers and students, generally descendants of peasant families and uprooted from their rural and cultural environment, came to form a new social circle of provincial intellectuals. In this sense, the anthropologist Carlos Iván Degregori refers that it is, in this area, where the Senderista indoctrination fitted in with the student body, accustomed to the figure of the authoritarian teacher.

Rodrigo Montoya points out that the educational system is a channel for social mobilization with possibilities of economic access, power and status. It also refers to the "contemporary myth of the school" [1] like the one where people without eyes "mananawiyug" wake up and open their eyes "nawinkunatakichanakupaq". In this way, the figure of the indigenous person - tired of so much suffering and exclusion - renounces his cultural identity of “ quechua rune" to become " misti”. However, reality teaches us that this promise of progress through the Western school is far from being fulfilled, which is why it has caused only frustrations within the collective consciousness. This would explain the decisions of young people to exercise militancy within these organizations, previously mentioned.

Montoya in this regard refers:

“Because we are Quechua, because we speak our language and live according to our customs and we don't know how to read, we live in the world of the night. We have no eyes and we are helpless like the blind. On the other hand, those who can read and write live in the world of the day, they have eyes. It makes no sense to stay in the world of the day because we must progress to be like those who go to school and have eyes. Going to school we open our eyes, we wake up " [2]


It should also be added that education in Peru has always been inefficient and coercive and its student body accustomed to memorism and uncritical learning, which contributed to this social resentment and an identity crisis. Carlos Iván Degregori writes: “They are young people who find themselves in a no man's land located between two worlds: the traditional Andean world of their parents, whose myths and rituals and custom, at least partially, they no longer share; and the Western world, or more precisely urban-Creole, which rejects them as provincial, mestizo, and Quechua-speaking " [3]. It is in this context that the citizen movement So that it is not repeated, under the international auspices of the United Nations disarmament department, Hague Appeal for Peace, and the Ministry of Education organized the International Seminar on Education for Peace, and Development. February 28, March 1 and 2 of this year, aimed mainly at the teaching sector. Representatives from various countries with histories of internal wars similar to ours attended, who made their educational projects for peace known in the schools of their countries. Part of this is the renewal of the educational curriculum, implementing new subjects such as the study of human rights, campaigns against the use of firearms within the schools themselves and the training of young volunteer leaders to promote peace actions, among others. young schoolchildren.

On August 21, the chasquis will have arrived in the city of Puno, the date on which the second anniversary of the delivery of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be commemorated. With the Quipu of Memory that is intended to be developed, each of the victims will be represented by the 69,280 knots so that they are not forgotten. Many of these victims were undocumented people with no one to claim them.

[1] Rodrigo Montoya has collected the perception of the common Andean man about Western domination during field work in Puquio, Bolivia and Ecuador.
[2] Version of the Myth of the School. In: For a bilingual education in Peru. Reflections on culture and socialism. Blue fly publishers. Chapter III: 94, 1990.
[3] Degregori quote (1987: 17). In: “School is progress? Anthropology and Education in Peru ”In: There is no more diverse country. Compendium of Peruvian Anthropology, 2001: 370

* Vanessa Verastegui
Archaeologist from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos


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