DOI: 10.5176/2301-3710_JMComm17.40

Authors: Jaclyn M. Ross

Abstract: The course of this research aims to shed light on a rather obscure topic: the civil war in El Salvador that took place from 1980-1992. The armed combat officially took place between the Salvadoran government military – which was supported by the United States – and guerrilla fighters who self organized (some of whom with the aid of Communist powers). There are many layers within this topic, oftentimes with both sides claiming a different reality. However, the reality being examined here deals directly with the words of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who held the position from 1977 until 1980 when he was assassinated. Using the Pentadic rhetorical criticism, I seek to better understand the multi-faceted situation in which Archbishop Romero gave this homily – the last one he gave before his assassination. In addition to utilizing the words of Romero himself, I also include a first hand account of the Rio Sumpul Massacre which took place in 1980. I translated and transcribed the testimony in real time, understanding the qualification that this man could count on one hand how many times he has decided to share what he witnessed that day – the day most of his family and almost 700 other Salvadoran refugees were slaughtered by both Salvadoran and Honduran soldiers. Utilizing the pentadic form of criticism and the lens of dramatism, I am better able to explain the many players within this one scene. Hopefully it will not only illuminate a very dark time in human history, but also honor this brave man’s testimony and the memory of the tens of thousands of innocent Salvadoran victims who lost their lives in the name of “peace.”



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