Between Two Armies in the Ixil Towns of Guatemala
This book challenges how the human rights movement thinks about a country notorious for rightwing terrorism. David Stoll's reinterpretation of the civil war in Guatemala focuses on the Ixil Mayas of the Western highlands. Based on their testimony, he attributes Ixil support for guerrillas in the early 1980s not to revolutionary impluses but to dual violence -- the coercive pressures of military confrontation which Ixils describe as "living between two fires." As a study of a peasant neutralism under crossfire, Between Two Armies questions whether confrontational forms of human rights organizing reflect the wishes of survivors trying to rebuild civil society, that is, political space to make their own decisions.
Challenging the views of human rights activists, Stoll argues that the Ixils who supported Guatemalan rebels in the early 1980's did so because they were caught in the crossfire between the guerillas and the army, not because revolutionary violence expressed community aspirations.