In the Garden of the Innocents, by Osman Servin

As soon as we landed in San Salvador, I was nervous that my heart was going to be broken. As Marcos Gonzalez, S.J. told us in one of our lunchtime meetings, “Be prepared to get your hearts broken so that the whole world could fall in.”

When we visited El Mozote, home to one of the largest massacres in the history of Latin America, I found out what he meant. My arms ran with goosebumps. While I felt sad, I also felt enraged. How could nobody in power have done anything to prevent the massacre?

What really forced me to encounter injustice was the Jardin de los Inocentes: The Garden of the Innocent. This serves as a memorial for all the children who were killed in the massacre. As I stood there, I began to think about my little brother and all the kids that I met at Junquillo and La Hacienda.

These kids filled my with joy and a happiness that I had never before experienced in my life. I remembered how I was laughing with Isaac, Wendy, Rigo, and Mario, crying tears of joy.

Then, I saw the wall. The enormous wall on the side of the church was decorated with a pop-out mosaic of children playing, surrounded by butterflies. Painted with bright and vivid colors, this wall immediately reminded of all the kids I had met. The wall represented the joyfulness of the kids that had been killed, raped, and tortured during the massacre and now were buried in front of the wall.

I couldn’t even look up at the wall because I would start to tear up. In my throat, I could feel how I was holding back my emotions. I never want to hold back my emotions like that again. As I approached the wall, I could see myself and all the kids that I had started to love in the broken mirrors on the butterflies and I broke down.

I don’t know how to explain my feelings at the moment, but they moved my heart. Realizing that all of these atrocities could have happened to my siblings and the kids that I met, made me ask myself: how can I help prevent things like this from ever happening again? Personally, whenever I see an injustice, my heart aches to fix it and THIS was the biggest injustice that I have ever seen. We can’t afford not to act. “El Mozote Nunca Más!”


5 thoughts on “In the Garden of the Innocents, by Osman Servin

  1. This is beautiful. Gives us only a sense of what these people have been through and how our boys have been impacted by this experience. Now I have cried for this injustice as well.

  2. Osman,
    You feel all of this so deeply because you know the feeling of jumping in joy and knowing you are valued in your humanity. Thank you for having the courage to feel compassion.
    I loved seeing you in action on the soccer pitch once again – brings back great Academy Soccer Championship memories!

  3. Oh, Osman. Thanks for sharing…this is beautifully written and powerful to read. Thanks for sharing – I can’t wait to hear more when you return. Proud of you. As always.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Osman. Your presence there and reflection here do much to commemorate those lives you speak of. Thanks for bearing witness.

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Your words were powerful and a reminder to us all that we must act whenever we see injustice.

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