Tag: advocacy

Waiting for Everything

Going to jail is harrowingly boring. The evening before my friend Larisa goes to visit Jorge, I accompany her as she checks off the visiting requirements. Everything must be perfectly contained to get inside. We buy toilet paper, laundry soap, and fried chicken to pack into a transparent plastic container no bigger than four litres.

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May Day in Bogota

International Worker’s Day, or May Day, is a national holiday in Colombia. Across the country, workers and unions march to celebrate workers’ rights, and the long struggle of workers all over the world for dignified working conditions, especially in the late 19th century: “Eight hours to work, eight hours to sleep, eight hours for what

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A Whole Other Colombia

My post-accord Bogota feels pretty much the same as pre-peace accord Bogota. My neighbours all go about their daily routines- grocery store, walk the dog, go to work- and so do I. When I have a conversation with a friend in public, even in English, we still instinctively lean in closer, lower our voices, and

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My Favourite Forest

“This is what the ecosystem achieves: the fullness of life with tens of thousands of species interwoven and interdependent.”- The Hidden Lives of Trees I like trees. I like how tall they are, their branches a constant moving juxtaposition against the sky.  I like the way we lean against their trunks, soaking up shade on

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Variations on a Vocabulary

There are still moments, as I pass families and small groups of friends in the park, that I catch my breath over snatches of conversation. It is all normal chatter: dinner plans, boy problems, family news. The miracle is in my effortless understanding of everyday Spanish: la cena, el tipo, la tía. A new language

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The Year of Mercy

There is a family story sketched inside my head. Details have blurred and faded over the years, yet when I close my eyes, I see a young man walking on railroad tracks, bright blue prairie sky shining overheard. His name, in my mind, is Jacob, and he is stepping forward tie by tie, looking for

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Dear Youth of the Cities

The most powerful words published on this blog have never been mine. Rather, they belong to Colombians and express their desire for peace and justice in the midst of uncertainty and violence. From jail or in the midst of an armed shut-down, Colombian voices speak in defence of love, hope, solidarity, justice, unity and peace.

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Peace in the Street and the Time of Yellow Butterflies

The Justapaz office is adorned with yellow butterflies. On cubicle dividers, windows, walls and doors, they were the first thing I noticed when I walked inside this week, along with quote from the ever famous Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Tell Mauricio Babilonia to let loose the yellow butterflies in Macondo; the war is over.” My heart

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