"The Tattooed Soldier":The War Continues In LA.

Essay by mirkavUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2005

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"No more! Close the school of the assassins!" was the first thing that came to my mind reading "The Tattooed Soldier". My thoughts and prayers are with the activists in Georgia more than ever this and in the following week. They are fighting for something that should have been done years ago; prevention of more US backed atrocities in Latin America. How ironic are the words of Héctor Tobar, "The American training is simply the best, isn't it? These gringos know what they are doing."

Tobar's novel made me wonder many times about dates and places. But soon I realized that he purposely avoids the concrete facts and is using Longoria and Antonio as representatives of many Central Americans in Los Angeles. His careful description of the downtown LA, McArthur Park, streets, alleys and people does not leave any room for doubt that the action takes place in the biggest Central American community in California.

The drama of Guillermo and Bernal's lives is not unique; it reflects the destiny of many Guatemalan men who were victims of the civil war. I consider Guillermo a victim just as much as Antonio. He was forcefully taken into the army, brainwashed and turned into a murderer for ideas that he had to believe in order to survive. I do not justify him killing dozens, may be hundreds of innocent men, women and children. Now I have a better understanding of how one is capable of committing such horrifying crimes as long as one believes that it is done for an important cause. Such incidents as massacre of forty Muslim worshippers in the mosque in Jerusalem by Dr. Goldstein is a good example of a humble intelligent person committing a horrendous crime for his beliefs. The idea that Guatemalan soldiers were massacring...