Having spent most my weekend reporting on the death of “Alfonso Cano,” I am now disgusted and angry about the persistence of both the guerrilla leadership and the government in actively perpetuating their nonsensical war.
When I was a child, my mother taught me to resolve my difference without using violence. According to my mom, violence was below us, and all differences could best be resolved by talking — it was only a matter of give and take, and finding a compromise.
My mother’s Christian teachings mean that I have not hit another child person since I was 12. Since then, I have been able to resolve pretty complicated issues by talking things through, making compromises and all those other things civilized people do when involved in friction, disagreement or conflict.
I thought that it was common sense that peaceful solutions were not only more practical, but also more ethical, than using violence at the expense of others as a means to an end.
Born and raised in a society at peace, I am greatly disturbed by the absence of peace in my new country of residence.
What disturbs me most is that the Colombian state — constitutionally in charge of the well-being of the nation — has shown no desire to grant peace to its citizens. As former President Alvaro Uribe correctly put it; his generation has not lived one day of peace. Not one Colombian born after 1948 has lived in peace inside his or her motherland. For those who have forgotten the meaning of peace after so many years of war, I have included the definition of the term to the right.
Ironically, neither Uribe, nor any of his predecessors, nor his successor have contributed one tiny bit to peace. So far, the state response to the country’s insurgency has been repression and the perpetuation of war. By doing so, the Colombian state has become the main culprit in human rights abuses, which include the killing and raping of their own civilians, causing the misery of millions. Not even the FARC, a terrorist group for Christ’s sake, has been able to so effectively sow terror.
Instead of seeking peace for its people, the government is continuing a war against groups like the FARC and ELN. In fact, it has actively worsened the situation by its ongoing lack of will to find a grown-up, political solution, its collaboration with paramilitary death squads, the extrajudicial execution of some 2,000 of its own citizens, and the ongoing disrespect and disregard of democratic values.
Despite the bad example given by the Colombian state and the illegal armed groups, I have found that the majority of Colombians were raised just like me. Not once has a Colombian hit me and at all times I have found Colombians able to resolve differences peacefully. Only the drunk and the criminal use violence to get what they want, and violate the integrity of their neighbors.
Any person who has celebrated the death of FARC leader Alfonso Cano as a step towards peace has completely lost understanding of what peace means and how peace throughout history has been achieved. A military victory is nothing but a manifestation of violence and has rarely proven a step towards the cessation of violence, especially in Colombia. There is nothing to celebrate about an act of violence that could have been avoided if those involved in the conflict wouldn’t behave like a bunch of uncivilized children.
All involved in the conflict, the state even more than the guerrillas, have committed acts of terror against the Colombian people. While the children of both politicians and guerrilla leaders are enjoying expensive education abroad — Colombian superior education isn’t exactly superior, as both understand — the sons and daughters of average Colombians are killed by army bullets or guerrilla mines.
Nobody in the government has the moral credibility to defend the continued slaughter of its own people. They are both constitutionally and morally obliged to end the war, because, really, what are we fighting again?