COLOMBIA: "No one has greater love than this"

July 25, 2002
COLOMBIA: "No one has greater love than this"

by Lisa Martens

[Note: In the original version of Martens' poem, she included two footnotes
describing the economic blockade of the region in which David lives and the
production of coca. People who wish to see her original may contact the
CPTnet editor at]

He is enchanting, this man, David
dark and tough,
a great dancer,
and we have interesting arguments about theology.

He works for his people who are poor farmers under economic blockade, who
are occupied by two armed groups and threatened by two others.

David IS his people.

He works on housing projects and alternative agriculture projects so that
his people do not have to grow plots of coca in order to support their

The other day, paramilitaries, an extreme, right-wing, illegal armed group
in Colombia, called on the phone to renew David's death threat.

David has never killed anyone and he doesn't carry a gun. Why do they want
to kill him?

There are a number of reasons, including that he is working in an area full
of gold and oil, good ranching land and other valuable resources. The land
that now supports five thousand small farming families could just as easily
support five large foreign companies.

Paramilitaries tend to protect the
interests of the wealthy.

David does not have to stay where he is. He has the resources to disguise
himself and hide, or possibly even leave his country, but he would sooner
live for his people and stay in his place.

Over there in my home place, in Manitoba, Canada, most people do not have
the opportunity to die for their people

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's
friends. " (John 15:13 NRSV)

while here in Colombia, the opportunity is commonplace. In the last week,
I have talked with at least fifteen women and men in basically the same
position as David.

Over there, in the United States and Canada, they make and repair the
weapons that could be used to kill David.

Make it so that he does not have to die for our sins.