Colombia, Healing and Living Spirituality
Colombia has lived an open and structural violence for the past fifty years. Colombia remains immersed in a long-term complex internal conflict; with widespread human rights abuses, threats and assassinations directed at the civilian population by reconstituted paramilitary groups, two guerilla organizations, extensive drug trafficking networks and increasingly by State actors who have been cited for a steep increase in extrajudicial killings. Colombia continues to have one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world, with 3-4 million IDPs facing ongoing threats and long term impoverishment. From 1982 to 2007 there have been 2,505 massacres with 14,660 victims documented (according to the Historical Memory Group (GMH) established under the “Justice and Peace” law).
When I was girl, I remember my father all the time protesting against injustice, and hosting poor people in our home, composed by my dear mother, my father and ten brothers and sisters. From my Parish, in the seventies, we used to go, with the Priest, Alfredo, and my older sisters and brothers, every Saturday to a poor neighborhood –La Despensa- in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. Because I was the youngest, all my day was spent dancing, singing, and playing with children of this neighborhood, and it was really fun!
When I was adult, I choose to work in the social arena, to put my cents in supporting people to change their lives. I believe that we change the injustice and exclusion, by changing the way teachers work with their students, in a new and innovative way to access to the knowledge. Working from international NGOs, promoting development projects, assisting people affected by the conflict –displaced, amongst others, and advocating for their rights, I found that apart of the very important big and national peace processes, Colombia has a huge movement of invisible people, working without high profile, accompany (physically and spiritually) people that suffer the rigors of the violence. This is the case of human rights workers, catholic and protestant religious people, social workers, and democrat officials that try to build a nation for everywhere. There is a miracle in there, invisible but working in strengthening a vibrant social fabric that overcomes our history of violence, intolerance, exclusion and injustice.