COLOMBIA: The Peasant Prophets


7 April 2017

COLOMBIA: The Peasant Prophets

by Jhon Henry.

Micah was a peasant farmer born in Moresheth, a quiet village located in Judah, southwest of Jerusalem; This peasant farmer prophesied against greed and cruelty that abounded in his time.

In Micah’s time people were selfish and opportunistic and therefore justice was mismanaged, always seeking self-benefit over truth.

Micah’s strongest words were against the corruption that permeated all areas of society, a society in which those who had power took advantage of it ignoring the call of God to act with justice. Of course in that historical context poor people were not only the result of an unequal society, but also their poverty resulting from corrupt laws and judicial processes that favored only the owners of power. 

One of the options used by Micah to denounce corruption in this context is the following, which refers to the administration of power that fosters inequality:

Micah 2:1-2 
1 Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.  2 They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance.

In biblical contexts such as the one of Micah’s, to be a prophet implies a vocation. The willingness to be called by God to enter into a deep relationship, where God brings to the table the great injustices to which the rich and powerful subjected the poor and humble of his time. The role of the prophet was to receive this divine inspiration and denounce in all spaces, seeking that through this denunciation a change be generated and all seek God.

Women Farmers  

Photo: Caldwell Manners/CPT

Today the peasants have decided to accept the divine gift of prophecy. They have scolded the rich and powerful of our time on the serious social, political and economic injustices that exist in Colombia and especially in the countryside. The government’s response to the peasants’ allegations has been to assassinate, vanquish, torture, displace, threaten, and so on.

These government strategies to silence the voices of the peasant prophets have been like fire in a dry field, as it has generated the birth of new prophets who take the voice of their brothers and sisters to continue the difficult work of being a prophet in Colombia. As a countermeasure the government has decided to prosecute these prophets of the countryside, depriving them of their freedom through false accusations such as conspiracy to commit a crime or support of revolutionary structures such as the Farc-ep or the ELN.

Why take away their freedom? They suppose that with this mechanism they take away the force of the grassroots organizational processes? Or do they try to fill people with fear? Or do they simply want to fill the prisons with innocent people? To criminalize is cheaper than giving land to peasants or hospitals, schools, roads and electricity? We do not know exactly what the reason is, but something we can say is that if one prophet dies another is called. If one loses his/her freedom another continues with his/her work… The voice of God continues to be expressed through the poor and humble of Colombia no matter what the government does… Because where a people demands freedom and justice, God is present and there is nothing to stop them.

I extend a prayer for all those prophets who have lost their lives and their freedom performing the sacred task of denouncing the structures of death and oppression. Their voice is not lost. It goes silent as the wind cooling the fields of Colombia and renewing the strength of those who still wage the hard battle of seeking peace.