COLOMBIA PUBLIC WITNESS REFLECTION: Killing social leaders is massacring hope

17 February 2017
COLOMBIA PUBLIC WITNESS REFLECTION: Killing social leaders is massacring hope

by Salvador Castro 

Colombia is a country of diverse realities and of melancholic complexities, a place where violence has become a daily bread and the claws of criminal death constantly obscure the way. But, as an oasis in the desert, there exist men and women who refresh hopes and revive dignity and ability to smile again. 

These women and men emerge from communities that are tired of suffering, and being strongly and deeply rooted in the territory, they nourish joys and breathe a desire for freedom. These men and women with their strength and solidarity make the empire tremble, an empire that sends its jackals to devour us.

Salvador reading names of Social Leaders who have been killed

We, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), came together from different parts of the world as people of nonviolence to march and stand in act of solidarity and brotherhood with those 123 leaders who had been killed in the last year. With their lives and actions, these social leaders built paths of day-to-day peace. However, their steps were removed from the path, their voices silenced, their roots cut out and their lights extinguished.

But even when hope is weak it is difficult to kill it.

The jackals of death have not realized that their deaths sow seeds of "resilience-resistance-persistence". Our memories keep their ideas alive. The power of their struggle continues to nourish our convictions as men and women of peace. 

Man holding frame at the public action in Bogota

That is why we raise our voice of protest and indignation. To reject the criminal death is the only way towards peace. We demand that the Colombian government and its institutions, in this new context of national reality, provide guarantees and protective measures so that the women and men may flourish in their communities. And then more and more will commit each day to collectively 'seeking in order to build'.

"Peace with Social Justice" #StillHere #TheyArePresent