Thursday, April 30, 2009

Breaking Fear, Rompiendo Temor

El articulo en español aparece al final del texto de inglés.


"We are tired of our own discourse, of others, of those who tell us a new society can only come with the eternal silence of the nameless bodies …. We choose the language of the art, we trust in its capacity to touch the most profound fibres of humans and that it will produce the arrival of the necessary words, cause us to question our images and social representations."

We transformed the plaza into a visual living memory of 800 victims. I saw before me, using the strength of my imagination, the lives that might have been, the pain of families and friends. I saw people take timid steps to look at their history, to walk slowly past the tombs reading the narrative, talking quietly with their companion.


I also saw products of fear. People walked past with their head down, or straight ahead, refusing to engage, scared of who might be watching. The organisers of the event spoke to me of peoples fear. Some spoke of fear as though it were some inherent quality in the characteristics of people in this region rather than a very human response to a policy of state terrorism.


Others compared themselves to other places where social movements have overcome fear and refused to be quiet. A new friend spoke to me about his frustration at watching the popular uprising in Greece in December unfold after the murder of just one person by the police and asks why not here? In 2008 alone 175 people were murdered by the army and then presented as guerrilla killed in combat, known as false positives a horrific crime against humanity.

Others speak of the proficiency of the Colombian oligarchy at producing fear and terror. The number of Colombians “disappeared” during Uribe’s first term exceeds the total number of Chileans that vanished during Pinochet’s entire 17-year military dictatorship. And the disappearances continue. In 2008 1015 people were disappeared, four times greater than in 2007. The country’s armed forces are suspects in more than 90% of these cases, according to the Prosecutor’s office.[1]

Everyone wants to know what will it take for people to overcome fear and just say enough.

Today was a simple act. It was inspired by Las Madres del Primero de Mayo who carried out symbolic non-violent actions to bring about public awareness. It was inspired by similar events that have taken place across Colombia in recent months.


Y~ was happily surprised by Sogamoso this day, by their willingness to stop, take time to look, to chat, to participate in the candlelit vigil at dusk. I had taken peoples reactions, stopping to look, as normal, but she had been skeptical during the two months of preparation that people would respond positively; that people would dare to respond. That they have will have deep reverberations in the people of Sogamoso.


Despite their worries, the organisers kept focused on organising the day. I re-realised something yesterday that helped me see why– the importance of outlets for our internal frustrations, pains, anger. A small space appeared for me and suddenly thoughts, frustrations and personal learnings gushed out of me, like water inside a mountain suddenly finding a crack in the rock and pouring out in to the light. The water, carrying the memory of those killed, has begun to flow out to the light, the weight of peoples emotions pushing it out. In Sogamoso they will be back in the plaza with the 800 bricks in July, September and November.


Last night while sat chatting around a fake gas log fire on the rooftop of a swanky bar the desire for peace came up. “What kind of peace do you want?” I asked, knowing how peace is thrown around with as little clarity as the supposedly objective word “development” is in the UK. The question was thrown back at me. Peace is people not having to live in silence and fear but being able to express their torment as they wish. Peace is people receiving answers to their question of why were their loved ones killed, so that the torment of the unknown may transform to grief and acceptance and with time and love, a peace inside.


To see
a photo montage from the day click here

.............................................

Rompiendo Temor, Rompiendo unas Bloques

"Estamos cansados de los discursos, los de nosotros y los de otras y otros, de escuchar a quienes aseguran que una sociedad nueva sólo podrá surgir de la impunidad y del silencio eterno de los sepulcros sin nombre y sin dolientes...Hemos recurrido a los lenguajes del arte, pues confiamos en su capacidad para conmover las fibras más profundas de lo humano para convocar el surgimiento de la palablra vital y para interpelar nuestros imaginarios y representaciones sociales."

Transformamos la plaza en una memoria viva de ochocientos muertos. Ví ante mi, con el poder de la imaginacíon, las vidas que podrían haber existido, el dolor de las familias y amigos. Ví a personas dar pasos timidos para mirar su historia , pasaron por las tumbas, leyendo las narrativas y hablando en voz baja con sus compañeros.


Tambien ví el producto del temor. Personas que pasaron mirando hacia abajo o adelante, se negaron a observar los 800 bloques blancos, asustado de quien podría estar mirarandoles. Los y las organizadores de la jornada me hablaban del temor de la gente. Algunos hablaron de temor como si fuera una cualidad inherente en la caracteristicas de la gente de Boyaca en vez de una respuesta muy humana a la politica del terrorismo del estado.


Otros hicieron compararaciones a otros lugares donde hay movimientos sociales que han logrado superar el miedo, rechazando el silencio. Un nuevo amigo me habló de la frustración al ver desarollar el levantamiento en Grecia en Diciembre despues del asesinato de solo una persona en manos de la policia y pregunta por que no pasa esto acá? En tan solo 2008, 175 personas fueron asesinados por el ejercito y presentados como bajas en la “guerra contra el terrorismo”, un crimen de estado y de lesa humanidad.


Otras hablaron de la habilidad de la oligarquia colombiana en producir temor y terror. El numero de colombianos desaparecidos durante el primer mandato de Uribe supera el total de chilenos que desaparecieron durante los 17 años de la dictadura de Pinochet. Y las desapareciones aun continua. En 2008 fueron desaparecidos 1015 personas, cuatro veces mas que en 2007. Segun la fiscalía, las fuerzas publicas estan siendo investigados en mas que 90% de los casos.[1]


Todos quieren saber que se necesita para que la gente venza el miedo y diga basta.


Hoy fue un acto sencillo.


La gente de Sogamoso le inspiraban las madres del plaza de mayo en argentina que llevaron a cabo acciones no-violentas y simbolicas para generar opinion publica. Les inspiraba actos semejantes que han occurido a través de Colombia en los ultimos meses.

Una compañera fue soprendida por Sogamoso ese día, por la voluntad de la gente a parar y tomar el tiempo de mirar, conversar, participar encendiendo las velas al atardecer. Yo asumí que las reaciones de la gente era normales pero ella había sido esceptica durante las dos meses de preparacíon. Temió que no respondieran positivamente; que no se atrevieran a responder. El hecho de hacerlo, tendrá unas hondas de repercusíones en la gente de Sogamoso y de alrededor.


A pesar de las preocupaciones, los y las organizadores seguían enfocados en organizar la jornada. Volví a darme cuenta de algo ayer que me ayudó a ver por que seguíeron y por que seguimos: la importancía de canalizar nuestras frustraciones, dolores y rabías internas. Un espacio pequeño aparecío ante mi y de pronto pensamientos, frustraciones y aprendizajes personales me salieron a borbotones, como agua dentro de una montaña que encuentra una rendija en la roca y vierte a la luz. El agua, llevando las memorias de los asesinados, corre a la luz expulsado por el peso de los sentimientos de muchas personas. En Sogamoso volverán a la plaza con 800 bloques en Julio y Septiembre.


Anoche, mientas que charlabamos alredador de una chimenea de gas en la terraza de un bar lujoso, el deseo por la paz surgío en la conversacon. “Que tipo de paz quieres?” pregunté, conociendo que la palabra paz que se utilisa con tan poca claridad. Me devolvieron la pregunta. Paz es no tener que vivir en silencio y temor sino poder expresar el tormento sin restriciones. Paz es recibir respuestas a las pregunatas del por que se asesinó su ser querido, para que el tormento de estas preguntas se pase a la aceptacíon de la perdida, y con el tiempo y el amor, una paz interna.

Para ver un video de fotos del dia haga clic aca

[1] Segun Gary Leech, un periodista de EEUU. http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia295.htm




3 comments:

Sara Koopman said...

aw! lovely!
have you been to these monthly actions in plaza bolivar in Bog? same pics on bricks. I think they do it at noon on the 10th of each month. have for years. we used these same papers to do a solidarity action in the plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on a 10th a few years ago. got a good number of passerby asking what was up.

johnwilpers said...

Dear "Colombia" author,

First of all, I apologize for using your comments area to reach out to you but I could not find an e-mail address on the blog.

Second, I want to tell you what you must already know (but it's always nice to hear it from someone else): Your "Colombia" blog is very good. I have spent almost 10 months hunting for 300 of the best blogs in the world in 46 countries and 8 themes, and "Colombia" stands out as one of the most honest, compelling, first-person blogs we've found.

Your posts are thoughtful, provocative, and wide-ranging. Your use of excellent photos adds richness to the experience of reading "Colombia." Your blog is a must-read if you want to stay on top of what's really going on in Colombia beyond the headlines.

Anyway, suffice to say we like "Colombia" and we would like to give your work more exposure here in the United States and around the world.

My name is John Wilpers. I am the Global Blog Coordinator for GlobalPost, a new international news organization that launched on Jan. 12. We were featured in the New York Times last month. We have also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, MSNBC, MediaShift on PBS, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Online Journalism Review, and many more. In barely three months, we have had 250,000 unique visitors and 1.1 million page views. Our readers have come from every country in the world except North Korea, Chad, and Eritrea!

My job is to build a list of blogs that will appear on GlobalPost where we have approximately 65 correspondents in some 46 countries plus high-profile correspondents writing about eight major themes.

We are looking for enlightening, informative posts from bloggers writing (in English) about the countries they live in or care deeply about, and so we were pleased to find "Colombia."

So, I would like to extend an invitation to you to have your most recent post blog included on the Colombia page of GlobalPost.com as part of our “Global Blogs” service.

The way it would work if you accept our invitation is that we would use your RSS full-text feed to place your most recent post on your personal page on GlobalPost.com. We would point back to your actual blog for comments and for archives, hopefully driving lots of traffic to your site. Each time you write a new post, it would replace the older one so only one post would appear on GlobalPost.com at any one time.

By appearing on Global Post’s exciting new international news website, your words, viewpoints, and pictures would gain worldwide exposure.

You do not need to do anything differently. We do request that you point back to us from your blog (we will send out the code for our badge if you accept). We also ask that you use our GlobalPost headlines widget, but that’s not a requirement.

You should know that we have a few guidelines that we observe here at Global Post (but reading your work, these rules don't really apply, but they give you a good sense of our culture):

1) We do not publish racist, sexist, or misogynist comments (unless those comments are the subject of the post).
2) We do not publish obscene language or photos. While we recognize that obscenity can be difficult to define, we know it when we see it and we will let you know if we think you have crossed our line.
3) We do not permit plagiarism. Any work taken from another source must be attributed to that source.
4) We do not publish libelous or slanderous language.
5) We do not tolerate repeated errors of fact or misrepresentations of facts or quotes.
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We hope these guidelines are acceptable to you.

I look forward getting your permission to put your full-text RSS feed on our site. Please respond to: jwilpers@globalpost.com.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

John Wilpers

tanjent said...

can;t find your email address at the moment, but firstly much love to you, and secondly I am at a conference in colombia nd during a gender workshop I thought of you, as the speaker was being far too general and you have been doing stuff right there and then: her name is Dr Maria Evgenia Sanchez 'What is the role of gender change in building non-violent colombia'.

thought it could be interesting and will bring more info to you asap, being quick as I am stealing wireless!!!!

academics SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

much much love to you

xxxx ben