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.
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…
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.