Religion can motivate people to violence. But religion also represents a powerful force for reconciliation. However, effective peacemaking demands risky engagement with the issues and genuine dialogue with those who differ. Guatemala, as Martin Marty points out in his introductory comments, is an ideal case study of how these complex and controversial issues can play out when religion and politics interact.
A documentary, “Precarious Peace” explores the role religion played in Guatemala’s 36-year civil war and the peace process that brought it to an end. Story-driven, the film focuses first on the war, seen through the eyes of a Mayan family in the rural highlands, then on today’s more insidious levels of violence—economic, racial, and religious marginalization. Woven through these stories is frank commentary from a wide variety of perspectives, including a former military officer, a Roman Catholic bishop who faces constant death threats, a Mennonite educator, an internationally known poet-activist, and a Lutheran clergyman who was instrumental in getting the warring parties into dialogue. Featured at the heart of the documentary is an authentic Mayan fire ritual.
A superb video production. It provides viewers with images and text to understand more profoundly the religious and secular situation in Guatemala.
Edward L. Cleary, O.P.
Director of Latin American Studies, Providence College
Precarious Peace is an extraordinary documentary that fulfills film’s potential as a forum for meaningful exchanges of opinion and as an educational tool. The complex history, religion, multicultural, and political economy of Guatemala is discussed from a range of disciplines and perspectives. The diversity of voices translates into wide classroom use.
Christopher C. Robinson
School of Arts and Sciences, Clarkson University
With remarkable skill, the film raises crucial questions about the relationships between faith and power.
Chaplain to the College, Williams College