No war on terror in Obama’s speech

If Barack Obama, the new president of the United States, keeps his word, Felipe Estefan’s wishes will come true. Estefan’s column, Plan Colombia, Obama Style published on CR Monday, pleaded for more emphasis on social matters and human rights in Plan Colombia.

What struck me is that Obama in his inaugural speech only used the word war once and the word terror not even once, leaving the combination of the two, ‘war on terror’, unmentioned as well, which is very refreshing.

The new U.S. President also said “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and
nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from
every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and
segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more
united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday
pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world
grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that
America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

Apply this thought to Colombia. Replace Christians, Muslims, Jews etc by the political left and right and there you have it. It is time that the hatred passes and that the enemies sit to talk. Replace Christians, Muslims, Jews etc by the political left and right
and there it is.

It is time that the hatred passes and that the enemies
sit to talk. It is time to change the empty rhetorics of war with something more constructive, something more uniting.

One example of how in this new era things should be dealt with differently is the case of Bogotá theater director Patricia Ariza. She is being investigated for her alleged FARC-sympathies because of her past as nadaist and hippie and her previous membership of the juvenile communist party Juco. She now does projects with people in poor areas, which is a facade for her work for the FARC, the Prosecution says.

But come on, if they go on like this, they can put the whole political left in Colombia in jail and we will not be emerging “from that dark chapter stronger and more
united.”

At the same time, continuously implying that Álvaro Uribe is a drug trafficker and paramilitary without proof or referring to him as Uribhitler as FARC pet ANNCOL press agency seems to love doing is showing a similar lack of interest in getting closer, despite political disagreement.

Perhaps Obama’s government somehow will be able to help in showing Colombia how it can emerge “from that dark chapter stronger.”

Ojalá, Felipe.

Author Wies Ubags is a Dutch freelance journalist in Bogotá, works for media in her country and has her own weblog. 

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