Some weeks ago, Colombian media turned their attention to the most recent advances in the peace negotiations with one of the oldest guerrillas in the world, FARC. The announcement of an agreement regarding transitional justice mechanisms to be applied to FARC members was qualified as the main achievement during the negotiations so far. This sheds a new light on millions of hopes, like mine, who wish to imagine a different country: a Colombia that most of us do not know, a peaceful territory.
And, although imagining Colombia in peace sounds, to say the least, utopic, the possibility to erase the word FARC from our quotidian vocabulary give us the courage to think about a peace that is tangible. Colombian history is painful, and maybe that explains why I choose to write these brief words in English. It allows me to stay apart and write feeling I am an outsider, despite holding a Colombian passport.
The say that “Colombian wealth is also its sentence” is by all misfortune true. The enormous richness of the country, its diversity on ecosystems, cities, and people, seem to have fuelled an extremely complicated war (if I am allowed to use that word) that looked endless for too many years. But today lots of us feel there is a possibility to find a way out. And this, I dare to say, feeds the optimism of lots of Colombians regardless of our political perspective. However, we too are aware of the tremendous challenge that building a peaceful territory implies. Beyond FARC, the country has to deal with the existence of many other illegal groups confronted to control territories and economic power, a perverse inequality, dreadful corruption, and the need to re-build social bonds amongst a tired and knocked society.
Beyond the news about the negotiations process advancements, the media is also filled with atrocious histories that seem to come from a horror movie, shameful but also needed to remind us why a negotiated peace is preferable, notwithstanding adding the “negotiable” adjective to a value is quite debatable. And this debate seems to be endless in Colombia, the negotiations’ opponents carry a discourse charged with hate and terror. However, my purpose here is not to argue against those who condemn the peace negotiations, but to invite the readers to reflect on the society we Colombians have never had, to be aware of what is happening and not to forget that, in northern South America, there is a country struggling to build a peaceful territory, and to start to write a new history.