by Jim Manly
“Manuel Saquic’s body had thirty-three stab wounds. He had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered on June 23, 1995.
On June 34, a peasant farmer in the village of Parramos, Guatemala, going to work in his corn field, discovered Manuel Saquic’s half-buried body. On June 26th, the authorities buried the body in the Chimaltenango Cemetery in a grave marked ‘XX’- name unknown” -from the author’s Preface.
The Wounds of Manuel Saquic takes its title from the torture and death of a pastor a human rights worker in Guatemala. Each of the thirty-three reflections begins with a Bible passage and ends with a brief prayer. Each one established links between our situation in North America and that of our brothers and sisters in Guatemala, touching on issues of poverty, justice, solidarity and liberation theology. Reflection is a continuous process so this book opens doors for readers to explore beyond themselves, rather than locking them into the author’s own understanding. Each selection can be read by itself but the work as a whole weaves them all together into a tapestry of timeless issues and timeless beauty.
Jim Manly is a retired United Church minister. In the 1980s he became a New Democratic Party Member of Parliament. As such he took his first trip to Guatemala in 1985 to help present a human rights award to GAM, the Group for Mutual Support for Families of the Disappeared. His second trip was in 1988 as a member of the Canadian Delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Conference. In 1995 Jim made his third trip to Guatemala this time to accompany his partner, Eva Manly. As a result of her work the previous year with Guatemalan refugees returning from Mexico, she was asked by the Division of World Outreach of the United Church of Canada to go to Guatemala to provide international accompaniment for one of Manuel Saquic’s colleagues, Pastor Lucio Martinez, who had received death threats. Eva Manly’s photos are included in the book. Eva also produced a video, A People Called to Speak. The book and video complement each other.