Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6 - Ignacio Ellacuria and Companions, Enemies of the State

Ignacio was rarely alone since moving to El Salvador. As a Jesuit, he understood the power and importance of community in his life. As he crouched in the building at the college, he wasn't alone. He had five of his Jesuit colleagues with him and two women who had sought refuge from the gunfire outside. Little did they know that they were running toward the reason for the assault by the soldiers. As the soldiers swept through the campus with guns ready to murder any who would resist them, Ignacio huddled with his peers and colleagues and reflected back upon a life focused on liberation--a life that constantly pushed him closer and closer to this place and these executioners.

Ignacio had received a stellar education and ended up in El Salvador because of his commitments to the Jesuits and their passion for education and mission work. Ignacio was a professor of theology and philosophy--a high honor among the Jesuits who had a high regard for and prioritized education. While in El Salvador, he began teaching at the "Universidad Centroamericana 'José Simeón Cañas.'" He was known for teaching Central American Liberation theology. This course of study gathered the attention of those who stood to lose something if release was truly granted to captives and sight was truly given to the blind.

Consequently, the elite soldiers had been given orders to take care of a communist sympathizer and organizer named Ignacio who taught at the University. Along with him there were the five other Jesuit sympathizers. They had likely received their training from the American CIA and were well prepared to crush those who could be labeled communists. Of course, the tricky part was labeling Ignacio a communist but with enough time and enough insistence, Ignacio went from being a professor of theology to being one of the much feared communist agents. The soldiers crept onto the campus and people scattered in front of them. It was clear that the soldiers had death in mind for somebody. A housekeeper and her daughter fled to a nearby building for safety and soon found themselves among those slated for death.

When the soldiers found Ignacio and his companions, they dragged them from the building and forced them to lie on the ground. Ignacio and his Jesuit colleagues had made the error of making the State their enemy.They had proclaimed a story that undermined the story of the powers and would now not even be given an opportunity to explain themselves. While they were prostrate on the ground, they were shot in the head and body at close range with submachine guns. All eight died as martyrs for a story and message that made them enemies of the State.

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