Yanira’s Story, by Michael Reyes

A lot of the stories we’ve heard seem different at times but are still related. Listening to Capirio’s story one would immediately realize that he is pro-FMLN from his red star FMLN Baret. His story that followed of course was consistent with his values. I did like hearing his story since he spoke honestly and humbly. It was not some political ad that was trying to get us to support the FMLN party today. It wasn’t a speech full of hate although he had many reasons to hate. However, when I heard Yanira Muñoz there was a different tone to her speech.

Her story is one that all the civilians, who suffered from the war the most, shared in. In her town of Tenancingo, the guerrillas encountered the army after the guerrillas had taken the town a second time in 1983. What followed was a loss for the army, but the commander of the platoons was called in an airstrike and claimed that there were no civilians, only guerillas. This was a lie.

Yanira, at 7 years old, had to run away from bombs and bullets from planes and helicopters. Her story is an escape from death, which I think is the story that holds more weight than any side that claims they were right. These civilians were the ones who suffered tremendously more than either of the sides who were fighting the war. Furthermore, she found a hero who was able to help out the victims of war: Madre Yvonne.

Yvonne Degroot was a missionary from Belgium who was helping the citizens of Tenancingo and other towns. She helped get food for them, and kept them safe by providing some refuge. She even was able to get Tenancingo repopulated after contact with the guerillas and the army commanders, even reproaching them for not upholding their agreements with her to disarm Tenancingo.

Personally, hearing Yanira’s story reminded me of my values and even gave me a role model. Madre Yvonne helped in the best manner; she was neutral and very active. Yanira’s story is important to me and I think it is important for people to be reminded of who suffers from war.

2 thoughts on “Yanira’s Story, by Michael Reyes

  1. Michael, these powerful stories are the Gospel of El Salvador. Within tragedy and even from it comes hope, love, and the challenge of mercy. Thank you for receiving these stories with you heart wide open.
    Love seeing you playing guitar for your friends and Salvadoran family. Music plays a big part in the embrace of all people.

  2. Michael, what a lovely tribute to a brave woman. We are so proud of the young man you have become!

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