Weaving Relationships tells the remarkable, little-known story of a movement that transcends barriers of geography, language, culture, and economic disparity.
The story begins in the early 1980s, when 200,000 Maya men, women, and children crossed the Guatemalan border into Mexico, fleeing genocide by the Guatemalan army and seeking refuge. A decade later, many of the refugees returned to their homeland along with 140 Canadians, members of “Project Accompaniment”. The Canadians were there, by their side, to provide companionship and, more significantly, as an act of solidarity.
Weaving Relationships describes the historical roots of this solidarity focusing on the Maya in Guatemala. It relates the story of “Project Accompaniment” and two of its founders in Canada, the Christian Task Force on Central America and the Maritimes-Guatemala “Breaking the Silence” Network. It reveals solidarity’s impact on the Canadians and Guatemalans whose lives have been changed by the experience of relationships across borders. It presents solidarity not as a work of charity apart from or “for” them but as a bond of mutuality, of friendship and common struggle with those who are marginalized, excluded, and impoverished in this world.
This book speaks of a spirituality based on community and justice, and challenges the church to move beyond its preoccupation with its own survival to solidarity with those who are suffering. It is a book about hope in the face of death and despair.
``Weaving Relationships complements and expands on the academic literature on faith-based and transnational social movements. Anderson's clear, non-jargony writing makes the book suitable for teaching undergraduate and graduate students, for example in courses on social movements or Latin American studies. The book also stands as a rare and salutary history of an ongoing movement by one of its own participants. ...One of the book's major strengths is that, alongside a clear analysis of the structural underpinnings of the movement, it also captures the subjective, philosophical dimensions of the individual participants' experiences. Though Anderson is intensely personally committed to the struggle, this does not prevent her from describing internal tensions, dilemmas and debates that have arisen among the solidarity participants as well as within the communities of Guatemalan returnees. ...Weaving Relationships should be read by all those interested in solidarity activism with popular movements in the south, whether from an activist or academic standpoint. We hope that the book will also find its way into the hands of Canadian clergy. For those who are attuned to global poverty and oppression, we hope that it sparks or reinforces ideas for local churches to become more sensitized to the upheavals of a globalizing world, and to build lasting, mutually enriching connections between people in Canada and in the South who are struggling for a just society. ''- Jennifer Peirce and Lisa Kowalchuk, Studies in Religion, Volume 34/3-4, 2005
``Anderson has written an excellent history of Canada's relationship with the Latin American solidarity movement. ''- Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen, Toronto Journal of Theology, Volume 20/2, Fall 2004, 2004
``Anderson's study of solidarity work between Canada and Guatemala is comprehensive, clearly organized, and extensively researched. Its attempt to reflect the multiple perspectives on relative successes and challenges of various efforts is impressive. ...Anderson's book provides a powerful record, evaluation, and template for solidarity work elsewhere. ''- Dorothy F. Lane, Religious Studies Review, Volume 30, Number 2,3, April-July 2004