It isn’t the same as having your land, a safe place in which you can live and be happy, and being forced to move to a dark, dirty, and unsafe place; and also that you didn’t choose, rather it chose you…because you don’t have another option.
How can a farmer learn to be a farmer away from his land? How can he or she be a farmer in the city? Among bullets and mines? Between pain and anguish? Among paramilitaries, the guerrilla, and the army?
In Micoahumado, we encountered a very different reality to “official” reality: a reality of resistence, permanence, and struggle against displacement and death. Today Micoahumado is a community that resists the collateral damage of the war between the guerrillas, the paramilitarities, and the army.
It is unique place, filled with mountains and a beauty and richness that only could be described as incredible. It is a space in construction, a space that builds peace, a place to make friends, have conversations, and rest. It is possible to look out into the distance and see God’s glory among the mountains.
It is a world apart, where the war doesn’t silence the voices, where men and women recognize who they are and see themselves are inheritors of the earth and defenders of life. You can find yourself with farmers, stay at home moms, artisanal miners, laborers, poets, boys, girls, youth, adults, Christians, Pentecostals, Catholics, Atheists… It is a place full of life and a place full of hope.
In Micoahumado, importance is placed on the power of the spoken word, along with the actions that in fact lead to making visible the situation of the region. The people are committed to dialogue, which holds a place of importance in all of the people’s actions. This is only one of the strategies that are used in the region; the spoken word is the representation of a dream shared by men and women in the whole country.
The hatred between military powers and the struggle for territorial control is a consequence of a warlike culture that day by day becomes stronger in our country. Defending political ideals and the war through maintaining power converts regions such as Micoahumado into battlefields where the civil population is a shielf for some to minimize the casualities on their side. Paradoxically, places such as Micoahumado have become a refuge for hope and life, and it is there where peace makes sense.
Small-scale farming is punished by the state, and the consecuence of years of persecution still remain. The economic and political interests in the land becoma landslide that destroys everything in its path – when society drowns you and you become the enemy. This could be one of the motivations why perhaps Micoahumado is a refuge for life but at the same time a dangerous place for it.
The bullets, mines, deaths, displacement, and kidnappings close a dark chapter in the history of Micoahumado, hoping that these previous events serve as memory and reinforcement to a community that continues to resist the same powers with different faces.
Conclusion: When I lived in my house far away from all of this, I wondered “How could I live with them?” Now I think, “How can I be capable of living without them?”
Thanks to God for the experience (Las Pavas, Guayaba, Garzal, y Nueva Esperanza, Mico-Ahumado, La OFP and CAHUCOPANA); thank you for not giving up, thank you for resisting.
JHON HENRY CAMARGO VARELA
(Translated by Amy Eanes)