From 1979–1992, a civil war devastated the country of El Salvador. It was responsible for over 75,000 casualties, with some 10,000 more disappearances. It tore families apart, and changed the country forever.
We believe these atrocities need to be brought to light, and we believe design should bring attention to events not often discussed. In order to commemorate the people killed and help to reunite families after decades of forced separation, we have designed a special edition newspaper called Everyone, El Salvador. Now, we need your help to share it with the world.
For this campaign, we have partnered with the Salvadoran human rights organization, Asociación Pro-Búsqueda, to offer them financial support, spread awareness and promote their cause.
Who we are, what we are doing
In 2015, inspired by the beatification of the Archbishop Oscar Romero on the 35th anniversary of his assassination, we designed and published a newspaper to honour the martyrs of El Salvador’s civil war of 1979 to 1992. For our latest project, we saw an opportunity to have a bigger impact by creating a community around a Kickstarter campaign, and partnering with Pro-Búsqueda. Fidel is originally from El Salvador and continues to be engaged with the country as it struggles with the aftermath of the war.
The newspaper, featuring four original double-sided posters, delves into the details of three massacres and the enforced disappearances. With elegant drawing, three captivating poems, an introduction by Manlio Argueta, historical context and the name of every person known to have been killed at El Mozote, the newspaper transforms horrific details into compelling and powerful art.
Our goal for this campaign is twofold. One, we want to remember the people missing and murdered and decry the inhumanity of the war. And two, we want to help reconnect family members with their loved ones who were disappeared during the country’s civil war through our partnership with Pro-Búsqueda.
Each poster uses poetry, photography, and design to expose a different aspect of the country’s brutal history. We are incredibly grateful that several highly respected international writers and artists have already agreed to join us for this project.
Contributors to the newspaper include El Salvador’s most famous poet Roque Dalton, who was murdered in the 1970s (his family has given permission to translate and include two of his poems); Canadian writer Stuart Ross, who has written a poem specially for the project; Salvadoran artist Augusto Crespín, who has contributed a new custom drawing; Margaret Randall, an American poet and translator who has translated two poems by Dalton specifically for this project; and the esteemed Salvadoran writer Manlio Argueta, who has written the introduction to the newspaper.
Everyone —Roque Dalton
We were all born half dead in 1932
we survived but only half alive
each shouldering the weight of thirty thousand
with growing interest
and today we are enough to coat with death those
yet to be born
half dead half alive
We were all born half dead in 1932
To be Salvadoran is to be half dead that which still moves is the half-life they left us
And since we are all half dead
the assassins not only imagine they are totally
but also immortal
But they too are half dead
and only half alive
Half dead as we are let us come together as a nation
to call ourselves her children in the name of the assassinated ones
let us unite against the assassins of all
against the assassins of the dead and of the half dead
All of us together
possess more death than they do
but all of us together possess
more than their life
The all-powerful union of our half lives
of the half-lives of all who were born half
dead in 1932
—Translated by Margaret Randall
Pro-Búsqueda continues to help parents find children who were stolen from them decades ago. Their work benefits families in the following ways:
• DNA testing – sometimes, this is the only way to uncover long-buried connections. With additional resources, Pro-Búsqueda will be able to take more DNA samples and expand its database, generating more possibilities of successful matches.
• Psychological support – the association helps to prepare and lift the weight off parents and children for their first meeting after years of forced separation.
• Researching and investigating cases – resources allotted to the association allow Pro-Búsqueda to continue spending time working on cases that have proven harder to solve, giving all citizens a fair chance at finding their loved ones.
About El Salvador
El Salvador’s history is punctuated with numerous upheavals, massacres and a civil war that raged from 1979–1992. Over and over again, extreme violence and terror was unleashed on the civilian population. The massacres addressed in our posters are only three of the more than twenty-seven that have occurred in the country.
According to the United Nations, an estimated 75,000 people were killed over the course of the civil war. In addition, more than 10,000 people were “disappeared”: abducted, illegally detained and murdered, with their bodies hidden so as to dispose of any evidence. We believe it's now our duty to bring to light the horrors of this war that have been internationally overlooked for years and years. That is why we are creating this project.
Design: Underline Studio, Toronto
Poetry: Roque Dalton, Stuart Ross
Translations: Edmidlia Guzmán, Anne McLean, Margaret Randall
Text: Manlio Argueta, Elizabeth Brandt
Photography: Aloe plant, Paul Weeks
Full Colour Printed on Premium 35lb 80 bright recycled newsprint paper
Size: Flat 30" x 22.175", Folded 15" x 22.75"
Special Edition Poster Specifications:
Printed with UV inks, Black + Copper Foil Printed on Cougar Smooth 100lb Text Paper
Size: 50cm x 70cm
Limited Edition Posters Specifications:
Printed digitally on an Indigo press, Full colour Printed on Cougar Smooth 100lb Text Paper
Size: 50cm x 70cm
For donating their time and efforts:
Carolina Nolasco and Eduardo García from Asociación Pro-Búsqueda for partnering with us and providing very valuabale information.
Manlio Argueta for the introduction text for the newspaper.
Elizabeth Brandt for her tireless editing and writing.
Augusto Crespín for the drawing for the El Sumpul massacre.
Jorge Dalton for giving us permission to reproduce two of Roque Dalton’s poems.
Edmidlia Guzmán for translating Stuart Ross’ poem.
Anne McLean for translating Manlio Argueta’s text.
Margaret Randall for translating Roque Dalton’s poems.
Ralph Sprenkels for his help with our research and his contribution to the video.
Stuart Ross for the poem “A Memory Escapes”.
Alex Daly and Théo Münch from Vann Alexandra for their invaluable help and expertise with the campaign.
Paul Weeks for his photography for the project and photos for the campaign.
By launching a Kickstarter campaign, we hope to spread knowledge about these events while providing support to Pro-Búsqueda for the remarkable work they do.
All contributions to our campaign tell the families of those lost that we hear their stories, that their loved ones are valued and remembered. And by supporting and sharing this campaign, you provide direct assistance to Salvadorans living with the nightmare of this history.
Together, we can shed light on these atrocities and promote access to truth, knowledge and atonement for disappeared children and their families
Risks and challenges
As this is the second newspaper in the series, and having had success producing multiple high quality publications outside the Kickstarter platform, we are confident we will be able to deliver an excellent final product.
We are working with the highly respected printer WebNews Printing on the production. We will be reviewing hard copy proofs and attending press approvals to ensure the piece meets our expectations of top quality.
As with any printing project, unexpected delays in production may arise, but we will be fully transparent in our communications with backers on any potential changes to delivery.
- (30 days)