By Magdalena Bauhofer/ Guatemala 2017
It ́s Wednesday night. The 8th of March, women ́s day. The day we celebrate and manifest because we are women and we want more right’s and we demand more power in this society. This society which is leaded by men, in Guatemala more then anything I have seen before.
It ́s Wednesday night, as we start walking to a school. It ́s a school where they have relocated 147 children from a children ́s home. As we enter the room, we see abut 70 boys of all ages. Almost all of them have some disability. They have no shoes. They have dirty clothes. They have scarves in there faces and scratched arms.
There eyes tell you that they have seen burned bodies, that they don ́t understand what happened, that they are processing, why they are here, processing screams that where choked in flames. They are angry and you can feel the tense energy that captures the room.
It ́s Wednesday night and I can ́t believe what happened. It appears that 15 girls have burned in a children ́s home out of the capital. They were all in a very small room, the door was closed, they couldn ́t escape. The police only came 40 minutes after they were called. The firefighters coudn ́t enter the room, because they wouldn ́t let them. The girls screamed for 40 minutes. Nobody came to help them. Nobody came to open them the door. Nobody wanted to listen to there screams. There screams in the fire. They burned alive.
It ́s Wednesday night and in the room with about 50 girls, one of them shows me her `tattoo ́ – she hurt herself and has big scarves left of what she did because of how she was and how they treated her. One of them appears to be pregnant. Some of them lay on the mattresses and cry, talk to them self ́s or just look into the big nothing, trying to process what has happened.
On Wednesday night, the state sent food-boxes and mattresses and carpets. It happened so fast, and I was there to help and we where 30 people to unpack the given stuff. The state sent the things, but in the children’s home, which was as well from the state, they didn ́t even got to eat regularly, they didn ́t have clean clothes, they had no shoes. I was so angry, that suddenly everybody cares about those children. But why didn ́t everybody care before?
When I got home I had to drink a beer to stop shaking. I had to order my thoughts, I had to get there faces out of my head, because it was hurting me so much. Those kids are coming from violent families, have the down-syndrome or had trouble with the law, and they put them into this children ́s house, where the workers are raping them, beating them up and not caring at all about what they do the whole day. I can ́t believe this is really happening. I can not believe.
A few days later, people started going on the street, screaming that they have no president, that they want justice for all of the murdered girls. It ́s not anymore about an accident they say, it ́s about murder. The state was scared about what the girls will say in a process this week and so they were killed. Killed because they wanted to talk, about who abused them. Killed because they wanted to revel the truth. The people cry because of there anger and sadness. There are artists and teachers and activists – they are all standing there together in front of the president ́s house and scream: “No fue un accidente fue un ejecución“.
Today I am tired, I have to rest, I have to realize what happened. I just can ́t forget there faces, there wounds, there smells and there naked feets. I can’t forget the anger in their eyes and the pictures they drew-fullofblood and children who are dying. I can ́t forget how a kid screamed for three hours while holding the hands at his ears to not listen to whatever he was hearing.
Today I know more then ever, that for everything in life there is a reason. And I hope that this tragedy who costed 42 girls their life ́s, will change something in this country. I hope that people start questioning and protesting and that they demand the truth about what happened in the „hogar seguro“. This 42 life ́s where not wasted and everyone of them deserves justice, every single one.
It was a screaming fire. A fire who screamed for justice. A fire who demands that people talk about what is going on in this country.