Posted by: emilyandnathantocolombia | August 25, 2009

U.S. Military Expansion in Colombia

 

Check out the new post, “U.S. to use Colombia Military Bases” on the Naropa Peace Studies student website: http://naropapax.wordpress.com/!

There you will find links to more information. From our first-hand experience of listening to the voices of Colombian peasants, we stand in solidarity with the people most directly affected and say “no” to U.S. military in Colombia.

Visit the site for more info and write what you think!

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Posted by: emilyandnathantocolombia | August 17, 2009

And here we are!

We are both now in Boulder, CO and even though life would like to swallow us into busy structures of possible distraction we will very soon contribute stories, photos, presentation schedules and current actions to this site.

Until then…

LA PAZ!

Posted by: emilyandnathantocolombia | August 3, 2009

Off to Apartado

And, we´re off to Apartado tomorrow at 10:45 AM. It´ll be a short flight and then a short drive into the Peace Community, where we will stay for a week. It´s likely that we´ll also do a couple of day trips to surounding hamlets. We are excited to begin the process of listening and look forward to updating you all as soon as possible. We´ll be taking our cell phone with us, but likely will not have access to internet until we return to Bogota. A la orden!

Much love to all, Emily and Nathan

Posted by: emilyandnathantocolombia | August 1, 2009

¡LLEGAMOS!

¡Ya llegamos! We arrived!

Hello family and friends! We have arrived safely in Bogota to a warm welcome from Elizabeth´s family. After a very long day of traveling and several days of no sleep, we enjoyed an afternoon of sharing stories, food and laughter with Elizabeth and her family. Now that we are rested, today we are preparing for our trip to the Peace Community San Jose de Apartado (conversing over our questions, making purchases, etc.) Our plan is to leave Tuesday morning for San Jose. First we will take a plane to Medillin, from Medillin to the city of Apartado, and from there drive to San Josesito where we will meet members from the Peace Community.

We are feeling excited, prepared (?), curious and ready to move forward with this trip. Raw, open, and small.

Bogota is lively, fast and busy. While in this city we also have the opportunity to visit with some dear friends and look forward to reuniting and experiencing various tastes of this city.

Our cell phone number while in Colombia is: 011 57 3115914738

We send many blessings to all who may happen upon this post, and that these blessings be carried to those who you meet as well.  We will continue to update this blog as this journey develops, and will soon be able to offer some of the voices from the Comunidad de Paz (Community of Peace). If this is your first time here, please see below for more information about what we are doing.

Love, ¡peace and justice,

Emily and Nathan

Posted by: emilyandnathantocolombia | June 14, 2009

Each little donation helps ($5, $10, $20). It is important these stories are told. But first, they must be heard and they must be seen. Your contribution to this community effort can make a real difference in the lives of those in San José de Apartadó, Colombia. Read more for details.

Where we are going: San José de Apartadó, Colombia, July 30th – August 15th 2009 (map)

What are we doing:

While in San José we will engage directly with community members to listen to their experiences in San José, learn about their particular form of nonviolent resistance, and help in any other ways we can (farming, accompaniment, cooking). One of the basic responsibilities that we have afforded by our privilege and by visiting this community is to help amplify their experiences and messages to the world abroad. This may include reporting on human right abuses, documenting stories, and in general helping to focus international attention on the community by virtue of our presence there and by our sharing once we return; presentations for September 2009 in Boulder, CO already have shape. US citizenship binds us, whether we like it or not, to the violence in Colombia via the destination of our tax dollars. Solidarity with the people of San José de Apartadó, therefore, is not a disconnected entity of innocent compassion but is of recognition and accountability. While the three of us are traveling as a private group, it is not unusual for groups to do similar work in San José de Apartadó. Both Peace Brigades International and Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) have been working with San José de Apartadó for years. In fact, two days after we leave San José a FOR delegation will arrive there.

Background:

Emily and Nathan will travel to San José de Apartadó alongside Dr. Elizabeth Lozano. Dr. Lozano holds a Phd in Philosophy of Communication and specializes in media studies and cultural studies.  She teaches courses in Intercultural Communication, Communication Language and Gender, Media, Theory and Criticism, Global Feminism at Loyola University. Her current post-doctorate research inquires into the theory and practice of nonviolence:  What is the work of solidarity between US and Colombian groups and how does it relate to Buddhist principles and practices of nonviolence? How do violence, nonviolence and gender intersect? After a recent return from Colombia, her country of origin, Dr. Lozano presented her research as a visiting Lenz Scholar at Naropa University. Emily and Nathan were drawn to Dr. Lozano’s dynamic exploration into alternatives to violence in Colombia and elsewhere. As the conversations continued onto the Naropa green, this journey began…

The Community:

Founded in the 60’s and 70’s by peasant farmers committed to communal living and agriculture, San José de Apartadó is located in the northwest of Colombia near the border of Panamá. Wrongfully assumed to be in collaboration with guerrilla activity in the area, the community of San José then became the focus of Colombian military provocation and violence. Most notably in 1996 and 1997 the community suffered several instances of disappearances, threats, murders, and occupation by para-military. Consequently the community of San José declared a stance of radical neutrality to all violence-military, para-military, and guerrilla-naming themselves as “La Communidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó”; the community desired respect and to maintain their relationship with their land. Soon after, continuing violence from the para-military once again threatened the community with displacement. Although violence and intimidation persisted, the community decided to continue the pursuit of peace and self-determination. To date the situation for the people of San José is characterized by continued experience and threat of harm, presence of military resulting in disruption to travel and forced internal displacement to surrounding hamlets and an increase in global attention and accompaniment by foreign internationals

(The following info is reposted from http://www.colombiasupport.net/sanjose/)

The civilian population of San José commits itself :

  • Not to participate in the war in direct or indirect form
  • Not to carry arms
  • Not to manipulate or give information to any of the parties involved in armed conflict
  • Not to ask any of the parties to solve conflicts
  • Each one commits him/herself to search for a peaceful solution and to a dialogue for solving the conflict of the country

This is an alternative of the civilian population to express resistance, autonomy, a dignified life and a peaceful expression of opposition to the status quo. It is a novelty in Colombia because it redefines popular power focusing on exercising fundamental rights as citizens in a democracy and breaks the dynamics of war and injustice, creating a space to survive.

About the name of this page: Multiplicadores is a term coined by a community member of San José de Apartadó to signify what visiting internationals are doing and being by spreading news about the community. Multiplicador comes from the Spanish word multiplicar (to multiply). It’s kind of like terming a person a “multiplier”: someone who takes the message and shares it widely so that in turn others share it, and so multiplies the education. Education is key to any social justice movement. We are all multiplicadores.

Thanks for reading! If you feel inclined to help fund the trip please click here. No amount is too small to help. The price of a meal out, a coffee… each little donation adds up. If you have any questions, please ask!

More to come!

Once in Colombia we will be blogging to keep you updated. We’ll blog here and here.

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