Colombia is experiencing a historic moment. After 52 years of fighting between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), both sides have agreed to silence their guns. The citizens of Colombia will have the opportunity to ratify the agreement in a democratic plebiscite on October 2. This plebiscite will decide Colombia’s future. Many people are polarized between the ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’. We are all in a moment full of debates, ideas, hate, fear and hope…
I say yes to the peace agreement between Colombia’s government and the FARC. Why? Because…
I will honour the 11-year-old me that was part of a girls and boys peace movement in the late ‘90s, and dreamed to see a peace agreement signed with the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Now, I can do something to make that dream real.
War has cost our society and our families too much. There are 8,190,451 registered victims of the conflict. I am sure that continuing to fight with the FARC will just cost us more pain and suffering.
I want to live in a place where military presence is the exception, not the norm. Our military spending for the last ten years totals $78,768,100,000 U.S. dollars.
I want to live in a country that can imagine new ways of understanding justice. Justice should not only be seen as a way of punishment, but also as a path for reconstruction, reconciliation and collective memory.
I choose to have difficult conversations without arms. I dream that we can discuss political, moral, ecological, sexual and economical issues in new ways – without shaming the other, nor physically or symbolically eliminating who is different from me. I dream that we can have time to think about the intersectionality of privileges and oppressions that have made us one of the most unequal countries in the world.
I know that the silence of many guns – even though new paramilitary groups and the ELN are still using them – will open possibilities to change our lives as women. We can focus our energy to change structural gender-based violence and inequalities.
I want to have my own voice and agenda, and not continue responding to the war agenda.
I was born with the right to live in peace and free from violence. I will do everything I can to ensure this right is upheld for me and others.
I know that the peace agreement won’t be a magical spell that will wipe all of the problems and violence that impact our lives. However, I believe in people and this is a first step towards change.
Maybe my reasons are idealistic or naïve, but I hope that you can share some of them. I hope that you can support Colombia´s civil society and the women’s movement to face any challenges that occur as a result of the agreement. Implementation of the agreement will be a difficult path but is fundamental to us that the international community support our peace-building process, as much as they have supported us in the worst moments of violence and fear.