Monday, March 22, 2010

FACT: The Shining Path terrorists are real!

The Shining Path Terrorist group, El Sendero Illuminado, is mentioned in my book, Tombs of Terror. The group was and is a very real threat in Peru.

I lived in Peru during their heyday. While there they often blew up electrical towers in Lima, plunging parts of the massive city into blackouts and forcing Toca de Quedas (our equivalent of Marshal Law). They also perfected the art of drive-by shootings by standing in the back of pick up trucks and using M-16s to fire randomly into the crowds lining both sides of the streets. Planting bombs in Lima restaurants and blowing up mountain bridges were other tactics they used to terrorize the people, slow military movement, and strain supplies in remote areas.

People ask if I ever encountered them personally while living in Peru and that answer is ‘yes.’

Because I lived and served there for my church, they were respectful of me--which I greatly appreciated--even if they were distrustful of my real purpose and intent. They often voiced their belief that we were there to spy on them and would grow angry if we spoke of the United States. So we respected their feelings without criticism. Instead, we would share time talking of the wonderful things about their country and speaking of our common love for Peru and her people. By this means of positive conversations we were able to form tenuous truces as we lived in tiny mountain villages together, even if we did not support each others beliefs or ideology.

Though not as strong today as they were then, the terrorists are slowly returning and growing in power once again. I still do not know their beliefs or ideology but I would hope, if our paths ever cross again, we would be able to find some common positive ground once more. That is the door to open all channels of communication.

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