Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Resources for SEMILLA Class

In January 2011 I took Peace and Justice: Latin American Perspectives at Semilla, an Anabaptist Seminary in Guatemala City. Here is a description of the class from the syllabus and following are links I compiled throughout the experience.

This course is an approach to the Anabaptist-Mennonite understanding and practice of peace from a Latin American perspective. It explores the main conflicts, situations, and challenges of Central America. It examines the basic theological and spiritual convictions related to peace and justice that sustain the Church mission and testimony in these lands. It also provides an overview of how the Anabaptists have spent trying to follow Jesus Christ and to preach and live his message of peace in the midst of the challenging situations and struggles of this context. This course is offered at the Latin American Anabaptist Seminary (SEMILLA) in Guatemala.



  • Recycled Life -- Documentary about the city dump in Guatemala City that we visited.
  • Return to El Salvador -- The website has the trailer and the first 7 minutes, along with a short film (Marcelo) on a related topic. It’s by the same director (Jamie Moffett) who made The Ordinary Radicals.
  • El Norte -- “Two indigenous youths…flee Guatemala in the early 1980s due to ethnic and political persecution. They head north and travel through Mexico to the United States, arriving in Los Angeles, California, after an arduous journey.” Trailer
  • Romero
  • Sin Nombre -- Trailer
  • The Corporation -- Companies behaving badly.
  • 180° South -- Less related to our studies than the other films. It’s more for those interested in adventure sports and ecological conservation.
Food films: Andre recommends:


Joon recommends:


o "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

o "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

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