THIRTEEN YEARS OF CONVICTION, BUILDING HOPE
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a CSN volunteer translator)
On this March 23, the Peace Community was 13 years old. Throughout these years, there have been many people from different parts of the world who have witnessed what we have suffered from those who would destroy us. We have suffered every kind of deadly action that has been carried out by the armed actors in this country: the murders, the massacres, tortures, threats, displacements, sexual assaults, every kind of terror.
During the last few years, after the massacre in 2005, an act that was carried out by the Army working with the paramilitaries, the Government has never ceased or spared any effort to look for ways to destroy us. Disparagement, false charges, lies, distortions, aiding the advance of paramilitaries, and murder are some of the most frequent actions in the most recent days and months.
If we look at our 13 years’ journey, its goal was to be able to consummate our hopes, not that hope that is based on the distant future that has no end and never arrives, but that living hope that is revived and rebuilt every day, that hope that springs out of adversity, out of pain, out of absurdity, and that gains strength every day in spite of all hardships.
That is what they are trying to eliminate, the hope that builds community, because that is the hope that makes the impossible possible, that gives us firmness, makes us alive to pain, and makes it possible for us to build a world that is different from our world today.
These 13 years have shown us strong and fundamental steps in our community, essentially the reality of keeping alive our hopes and the consciousness of our convictions. We have built a world that is different and runs counter to many of the values of the society that destroys and that is indifferent to death and pain.
In these 13 years we have been able to create the Luis Eduardo Guerra Peace Village, a place that is the fruit of the community’s labor, of its memories, and of civil resistance. It is a place where we have had intense experiences, where we have relied on an alternative education, on a lifestyle in harmony with nature, and on sustainable agriculture; thus our lifestyle is different from destruction and inequality. We own our land collectively.
Many men and women in different parts of the world are celebrating with us these 13 years of following a different path. Because we are building and living in hope in the midst of death and hardship, we are creating a different kind of community, and that is what our Peace Community is.
Paramilitary organizations are advancing, and committing acts of terror in this area and in our country. Even faced with actions such as the ones during the last few days—they showed up in Tierra Amarilla wearing masks, carrying weapons, making threats and searching cars—we are still sticking with our daily efforts to transform our lives in the midst of death.
Lately we have created the Farmers’ University, where more than 150 people from different parts of the world and from various communities share in a dialog of learning, of convictions, and of efforts toward a different world, through sustainable agriculture, solar energy, alternative medicine, and local culture. We hear voices from different parts of the world in dialog, helping each other and building new knowledge in the service of an alternative global community, in harmony with nature.
It has been the most fervent tribute and the greatest resurrection that we have had for martyrs. We have listened to them once again, speaking to us with their voices of silence. We heard them in reflection and in the community work that bursts forth and believe in that transforming hope in the day to day and not in vain illusions.
We give thanks to all of those who have listened with us in solidarity and hope throughout these years, and we invite you to continue with those daily efforts to build a world full of justice, truth, and transparency, leading to a real peace.
Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado
March 23, 2010
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621