Prayers for Peacemakers 14 April 2021 Colombia

There are millions of victims of violence in the world. There are millions of silenced voices in the attempt to defend the truth and demand justice. But we know that those who struggle do not die, they become legacies of love and we honour them when we relive their memory, when we exalt their fight and pass it on as an inheritance for future generations when we water their seeds and take care of the garden.

COLOMBIA: Commemorating milestones

As a society, we celebrate milestones.  Birthdays, anniversaries and graduations result in a party with our family and friends, or a nice meal with the persons we love.  We give gifts to honour the person who is celebrating this special occasion.  Overall it is usually a joyous moment.   On the other hand, some milestones don’t feel as joyous.  These are moments that, as a society, we prefer to call commemorations rather than celebrations—usually tragic events such as an accident, death or worse. 

Prayers for Peacemakers 20 January 2021 Colombia

Today, we want to exalt and honor those who accompany us in our work of accompanying. Those who accompany us in our day-to-day lives and sustain us with love. Perhaps we have not thanked them enough, perhaps because we take them for granted. But the truth is that we have lacked to say with greater vehemence that to achieve our work of accompanying, as a team, we have been equally accompanied and supported by animals.

Distant stories, similar pain

When a physical structure is destroyed, the intention is to erase all traces of existence, end life, vanish the truth, stop the fight, and fill with fear to drown out hope.  But in the resistance, you realize the real substance is not in the foundations or the concrete. What held that home together in its essence was the struggles that continue, even if all that’s physically left are the keys in the museums. Like museums, stories are not there to create parallel universes, nor to tell distant and foreign realities; they are made to weave lives together, to connect collective memory in a fight against oblivion. To me, these museums preserve the lived memory, the evidence of strength used to fight, and the permanent effort to inherit the legacies.

They are killing us

In our long history of internal armed conflict, we have seen how increasingly mediocre governments appeal to militarism and barbarism to solve the armed conflict. So much so that for 60 years, assassination is a job in Colombia, where protection is synonymous with murder, and murder is synonymous with heroism. This militaristic structure considers those who carry weapons heroes, but it is so disconnected from reality that it does not explain to us how someone who kills his brothers and sisters becomes a hero without understanding why he or she did it. It is as arrogant a structure as those who run and promote it, people so arrogant and violent with poor people and so complacent with powerful people.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Telling the truth

In November 2019, Niyaz Abdullah organized a gathering of Kurdish journalists promoting freedom of the press. The journalists present acknowledged experiencing political oppression for seeking to tell the truth. They called for an end to the government's distortion of the law that allows it to threaten journalists and undermine press freedom. "We are strong," Niyaz Abdullah said, "but we need to be stronger. And we are much stronger together."
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