DIGNITY CANNOT BE BOUGHT
We cannot let the various acts being perpetrated against our community pass without speaking out. We know that this will permit the murderers to one day be judged for the terror that they are generating on a daily basis:
- Today, on November 16, 2008, around 8:30 am, the army entered the hamlet of La Union, a part of our community, and surrounded it. Members of the community approached the troops and asked them why they had come. They responded that they came to provide protection for a government commission that had come to remove families from La Esperanza. The community members told them that there were only families from the community living in La Esperanza, and that they would not be displaced. They then asked them to please leave. The troops relocated to the outlying areas and as they were leaving they said that this “damn community” is full of guerrillas and needs to be done away with no matter what.
A family from La Esperanza arrived in La Union and stated that a government commission had completed a census of the families in La Esperanza. Around 4:00 pm, the commission, headed by Accion Social* and accompanied by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, arrived in La Union. Community members demanded that the commission hand over the census results, and told them that they did not understand their reason for carrying out such a census. An argument ensued, and a representative from UNHCR told them that they had found malnourished children in La Esperanza, and that the community had concealed this fact. The community members responded by asking why they didn’t point out the cause of the malnutrition: the blockades established jointly by the paramilitaries and the army that prevented food from reaching the community, that ruined the harvest and the displaced civilians. This response caused the members of the commission to stop arguing, to hand over the census results, and to leave.
Families of the community remain in La Esperanza while six displaced families have left. Similarly, families of La Hoz and Rodozali have been displaced. It has been said that they have left due to battles between the Army and gangs, but this is incorrect. There have not been any clashes, and the paramilitaries and the armed forces remain in Playa Larga, Nueva Antioquia.
For eleven years we have dealt with malnutrition, assassinations, and displacements. However, we also live with dignity. We have not given into the paramilitary logic, and we are not leaving our lands. During those eleven years, we have created life and alternatives; no member of the community has died as a result of malnutrition, but rather, they have been assassinated by terrorist acts perpetrated by the armed forces, paramilitaries, and guerrillas. The children that have died were killed by the bullets of the army and the paramilitaries. We continue planting our fields and we are not concealing the truth. On the contrary, we have always told the truth and will continue to do so: we will not give in to the blockades or the displacements. These murderers know nothing of dignity, they judge hastily, they threaten us and distort the truth.
The living of life happens every day and, because of this, from San Josesito to la Union, la Esperanza, Mulatos, Resbaloza and Nain, life continues to flourish, and many people who have this sense of dignity continue on the path toward creating a different world.
PEACE COMMUNITY OF SAN JOSE DE APARTADO
November 16, 2008
* A social service organization created by the Office of the Presidency.
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621
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Posted By CSN to CSN News at 11/18/2008 12:50:00 PM