Oscar Romero – 30 years
On March 24th 1980, Archbishop of El Salvador, Senor Oscar Arnulfo Romero was shot and killed by government forces. There are many views on the subject and a few unclear events that lead to his assassination, however it is clear that he was a man with many followers, and a man who fought for his fellow people.
Yesterday, March 24th, 2010, I joined some friends here in San Salvador and took part in the annual remembrance celebration of Oscar Romero. There were thousands of participants and of course press from all over the world were present to cover the event. I was surprised at first to see people from all over the world present at the event, representatives from various religious and spiritual groups from Canada, Chile, the US, Europe and more I am sure. “Romero fought for the poor man…” came screeching from loudspeakers everywhere and I felt a real sense of sadness, still, after thirty years, for the loss of such a wonderful sounding man. Cries of questioning echoed through the air, “why would anyone want to kill such a beautiful and peaceful man?!” and of course the rhetorical answer to the question; “because they were scared of him!” Romero was a powerful force in the uprising of the poor in El Salvador at the time, and this was something that some people saw as a threat.
This has happened countless times throughout the world, where someone rises up in a position of power to distribute that power among a larger, less fortunate group of people, only to get murdered by the few who enjoy their way of life a bit too much. Romero was of a man of strict religious belief and devotion, with which I have my qualms, however, it was what he took from religious teachings to use in practice that made him a truly inspirational and adored figure to the people of El Salvador – to the pobre Salvadoreña.