“There is nothing, absolutely nothing more important for a country in conflict then the capacity to imagine. Because it is the imagination– the moral imagination, as John Paul Lederach would say in is eclectic, brilliant book– that opens the space that gives way to change.” Sergio Jaramillo, High Commission for Peace[i]
Throughout Colombia we find countless peace-building initiatives, all of them a sign of non-surrender, of non-normalization of violence, all of them an obvious example of creativity and dreams, materialized in favor of a utopia called peace.
Over the years, Anabaptist churches and organizations in Colombia have taught us the art of how to build peace in a violent, unjust and unworthy context. We found ourselves with communities that have organized to work on issues like substituting illicit crops for rice, cocoa, cassava, even though the Colombian Government’s strategies seem to go against these agricultural initiatives through aerial spraying, the use of glyphosate and the abandonment of the regions in general. In other regions, we find groups of women who, through the art of weaving tapestry, have developed mechanisms of inner sanity and collective memory. We find young people who have said no to weapons and instead, with art and music, tell their stories. At the same time, in places like Suacha we find educational processes, peace walks, women, children and young people who sing to life, who bet on the transformation of their realities and give us an example of resilience!
Thus, the examples of dreams and work for peace go beyond what we normally hear about Colombia. While unfortunately some have used our Colombian creative capacities for evil, it has not been greater than the creativity capacities that many of us have used to dream in the midst of pain and uncertainty.
A year ago, in Colombia, the peace accords between the government and the FARC, who had been in conflict for 50 years, were signed. But we recognize that although there are already agreements, there are many communities that understand that agreements, governments, nor some of the armed groups create peace. Rather, peace is done through simple acts where we recognize each other, acts where we think not only of ourselves but where we can think of a collective well-being that transforms our reality.
During the following weeks, the Seeders will be sharing those creative stories that are generated in the Colombian territory to build our longed-for peace.