Monday, 18 August 2008

Guatemala: Photos of Femicide

Argentine photographer Walter Astrada has documented violence against women in Guatemala.

Guatemala, a small central American nation with 13 million inhabitants (slightly smaller than Tennessee, the CIA World Factbook informs me), holds the dubious position of the country with the second-highest rate of female murder victims in the world (the first is Russia).

Just the bare statistics of the legacy of Guatemala's brutal civil war are horrifying: 200 000 dead, 50 000 disappeared, and 1 million internally displaced - let me repeat that this is a country with just 13 million people. The word 'desaparecido', in its Spanish usage as a person forcibly abducted by state agencies, developed in Guatemala, although it gained notoriety during the military dictatorship in Argentina.

Every year, 500 women are murdered in Guatemala. More than one a day on average. The vast majority of their killers will go unpunished by the overstretched, underpaid, and corrupt criminal justic system.

Walter Astrada's photographs, at time beautiful and at times horrifying, can be viewed on his website here. The World Press Photo profile of the photographer is here. In addition, the article that drew my attention to his work and from which I have taken the above statistics is:

El pais del silencio

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