Last night, around dusk, a crowd began to gather at the Obelisco, a well-trafficked area of Guatemala City ; the main hub leading to zones 9,10,13, and 14. The event: a candlelight march for peace and justice. Prior to beginning, the organizers were approached by the press, but also by the police wanting to know what was going on and how long it would last. It was a well-considered place for such an event. The Obelisco is the home of Guatemala’s Monument to Independence, the base of which displays Guatemala’s Declaration of Independence as well as this statement:
“Guatemalan: This flame symbolizes our supreme desire for liberty and justice. Venerate it, respect, and never permit it to be extinguished.”
The flame, however, has long ago been allowed to burn out.
Prior to marching, the crowd sang the National Anthem. Independently. A capella.
As the darkness of the evening settled, everyone lit their candles and began walking the heavily-traveled circle around the Obelisco. The crowd, though not large, was able to completely encircle the area with light and continued marching around and around. I was reminded of the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho.
I don’t remember how many times we circled, but everyone: parents, kids, grandparents…all were content to do so peacefully as many times as we were allowed.
At one point during the march, the President’s motorcade rushed past, presumably taking him to meet with the president of Thailand who is in country right now. We were only blocks from the hotel where he is staying, and as a precaution, the police continuously circled us circling the Obelisco. Interestingly, at one point, from one of the police trucks parked along our route, came a horn blast of support. The numerous killings of police that happen here go just as unpunished as the killings of “regular” people do.
When the marching was over, people were asked to leave their candles in front of where Guatemala’s eternal flame should be burning.
Justice makes no sense to the evilminded; those who seek God know it inside and out. Proverbs 28:5