In 1975, using an expression by the poet César Vallejo, John Metcalf – founder of the Network of Rural Libraries of Cajamarca – published “Human Men: the liberating dimension in Peruvian literature”.
The book was dedicated to the community of Llaucán, where he had spent his first years living in the Cajamarcan mountains and in which lives the memory of the massacre suffered by the countrymen in 1914. In 1978 the second edition was published, this time dedicated “To the Martyrs of Huacataz – Massacred 29th December 1977”. By this time, this community had formed part of John’s parish and he accompanied the members of the community from within.
In the introduction he wrote:
We refute the opinion that authentic art exists for the limited circles of intellectuals which reside in the great capitals of the world; we adopt, instead, the position that the majority of master works produced throughout human civilisation have also been destined to serve the great popular masses, motivating them to liberate themselves from the injustices and the servitude particular to their own place and time.
Many years have passed since the publication of that book, and today marks nine years since John’s passing, but his spirit remains present among us. Even more so now, when so many sell their word and scorn their own people, in the name of plundering which feigns sponsorship.
Coherence is an asset which suffers neither decay nor forget.