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The Story

with photo

When We Were Young, There Was a War is a web documentary that follows up on the ten characters from “If the Mango Tree Could Speak.” Through the poignant personal stories of these young adults revisiting their wartime childhoods, viewers learn about the armed conflicts that consumed El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as about the aftermath and the role of the US. As headlines warn of more and more unaccompanied children from Central America crossing into the US, the site helps users delve into the roots of this crisis and connect the dots between US intervention in the region and immigration.

Each character’s story begins with a short video (4-6 minutes) interweaving material from two time periods: archival footage of them as teenagers in wartime and new footage of them as adults (in their mid 30s) in their present day surroundings. Drawn in by these emotionally compelling accounts of the human potential to persevere, the user can then delve into a wealth of additional material, including videos, photographs and text, that provide contextual and historical information about the wars and their aftermaths.