Here, we have transcribed some fragments of the speech which our colleague Alfredo Mires gave during the tribute which the Provincial Municipality of Cajamarca gave us last month:
... a place like Cajamarca, where historically the collision occurred – almost 500 years ago – between two ways of viewing and treating the world, and in which the book was an emblematic protagonist of this debacle. Here not only occurred a genocide, but also what some call a ‘geniocide’, that is, the application of death beyond the physical, trying to eradicate the genius and ingenuity of our peoples; a systematic and permanent aggression to exterminate the souls, the minds, the aspirations and the dreams.
... we are here and it always seems to us that we are just starting. Perhaps that is because it is not only what one does that counts but in the name of what cause one does it, that is, whether you hustle for a today which is synonymous with devastation and plunder, or, you bustle in the name of a tomorrow which is dignified, sovereign and healthy.
... this Network would not have survived if it wasn’t for the contagious daring and dazzling enthusiasm of the integral community members. That extraordinary community school, humble and respectful, brave and jubilant, keeps away the devious individualistic social ambitions and the needy self-indulgencies of the false commitments.
... in the process of introducing books into rural areas and encouraging reading in the communities, it can simply be better to first ask those who do not know how to read and write, rather than those who do. This way we can not only construct coordinated programmes but also identify the endogenous values which allow us to catch on to that which, in reality, can enrich the group, instead of invading and uprooting it.
... the book in itself can also be besieging and colonising, and the libraries can therefore be like museums of falsehood, like cold repositories of foreign and unusable letters.
... because the greatest problem does not lie in not knowing how to read and write, but in not knowing how to decipher nor delineate the attitudes. We can read a lot without understanding anything, just as we can write a lot but falsifying everything. So, it is one thing to be an educated ignoramus, and something very different to be a wise illiterate.
The book, then, can be a prodigious talisman helping to mould the future, but it is not sufficient unless it is accompanied by legitimate processes which respond to the urgencies of each context and by public policies which prioritise the forging of citizens who are learned, incorruptible, committed and completely identified with their culture and their land.
... because it is not possible to satisfy ourselves with a galloping technological growth in parallel to a runaway decrease in ethics. As neither is it plausible to have an apparent pecuniary wellbeing in correlation with the elevated indices of illiteracy, lack of access to education, early school leavers and environmental depredation.