Easter Sunday, March 29th, 1991, Rio Lempa, El Salvador
Miguel Angel was our contact in the repopulated village, deep in rebel territory. I had my guitar and we spent a lot of time singing, especially songs from the Liberation Theology hymnal, which made Jesus out to be some kind of rebel, fighting on the side of the poor and disenfranchised.
It was my birthday, a full moon and Easter Sunday, something which doesn’t happen every year of course. Gravity must have had an especially strong pull on the village dogs, because they were all barking incessantly at one another in the pitch black night.
On this first trip to El Salvador, this one while the 12 year civil war was in full swing, we spent a lot of time listening to people’s stories, or testimonies as we called them, of how they had to flee the army. On this special Sunday, a woman explained how she had accidentally suffocated her own child to keep her quiet while they were hiding from the death squads. Others told similar stories, often in gruesome detail, knowing we would bear witness and tell the good people of the USA that this had to stop.
Miguel Angel started to give his testimony of how he had been captured, beaten and tortured for three months in an army barracks nearby. He showed the scars left on his stomach and back from the electric shocks he underwent and the cigarette burns left by young coked up American army officers, showing their Salvadoran counterparts how its done.
I was overcome with emotion, on the brink of tears and decided to save myself from the embarrassment by walking outside into the open air. There was the full moon, silent and bright, hanging above the charred out hills. I felt that I needed to do something, maybe someone needed to say a prayer. I looked up at the full moon, got down on my knees and said three or four times out loud oh mother moon please protect these people and bring peace to El Salvador. Just as I finished my short prayer, I noticed the dogs had suddenly become silent, the whole village became instantly quiet. For five minutes I kneeled, looking up at the moon through wet eyes, thinking that my prayer had been heard. A psychic friend told me later that maybe someone just needed to create that opening, punch through that hole and let the light shine in.