27 September 2022, El Espectador
Beyond political parties, beyond faith or agnosticism, beyond the courage or fear that we carry on our backs, and beyond obsessions with enclosing ourselves between visible and invisible borders, something on which almost all of us agree is that this business of going around killing each other, because we don’t and because we do, cannot be installed as a custom, as a funereal landscape.
We have been told in demonstrations and decrees, in parishes, courts and cemeteries, that life is sacred, that life is the supreme value and that killing is not a game with life.
In Colombia we are wonderful, hard-working, resilient and creative, but it is hard for us to break away from our individual and collective wars, and admit that they are a failure: Puerto Añicos, which no one – in their relative sanity – should want to reach.
On 2 October, the international day of nonviolence, we will carry on our canvases and in our voices, on our walls or on our hands, in our trills and in our words, in our homes, in ten canoes or in a hundred parks, this slogan: #NoMatarás, Colombia united, for life and for peace. The Defend Peace movement (national and international) and different platforms that work for non-violence and the protection of human rights, will tell those who are obstinate in spreading intimidation, lead and pain, that life is respected.
#NoMatarás will be a day of the communities that refuse to endorse fear for their existence; a day of reflection to look at ourselves and understand that we must put an end to violent death; to demand that those who exercise the craft of violence stop their deadly career; that it is infamous, it is irrational, to spend one’s life breaking the bodies and dreams of others.
The Nobodies: #Thou shalt not kill, The Nobodies. Do not torture, do not disappear, do not exercise the cowardice of bullets; do not dress the towns in mourning or the rivers in blood and oil; do not leave more parents orphaned of children, nor more children orphaned of parents.
#NoMatarás. Neither in Ituango nor in Montañitas, nor in Mesetas nor in Mutatá, nor in San José nor in El Tambo, nor in Leticia nor in Saravena. #NoMatarás. Don’t add one more to the list of 128 social leaders and human rights defenders killed from 1 January to 11 September 2022. Don’t add one more to the 34 peace signatories killed in 36 weeks.
#Thou shalt not kill for revenge, to steal a peso or a plot of land, or because you don’t know how to dissent. #You will not kill soldiers or ex-guerrillas, demonstrators or police; you will not kill those who suffer inequality or those who profit from it. #Thou shalt not kill for the coca route, for the emerald haul or the gold and sand dumps. #Thou shalt not kill childhood, trust, the present and the future. #Thou shalt not kill. Full stop. Enough pain with the inevitable catastrophes, lethal diseases and fading grandparents.
If we want to live fully, to feel the instants and the syllables and what it means to have the possibility of welcoming a new day, we need violence to stop suffocating us.
This October 2, 2022 break the spell of October 2, 2016 and stand up for life. Wear white or colourful clothes, cotton or sequins, ring a bell or a drum, make up a song or a prayer and tell Colombia and the world that, to you, life matters. That we are not a country condemned to violence; that in the midst of our chiaroscuros every dead person tells a story, and for him, for her and for everyone, and because it is a duty to say it to the four winds: #NoMatarás.