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There is no fear that FARC will re-arm


There will always be fear, but, when it comes to the war that affected our lives so much, we live more peacefully now.


It was a cold and misty day and she was sat in the patio of her house with some of her children pottering around her, but she had a heart full of pain, and also a little bit of hope. She pauses and asks, “Why is life like this?”. I didn’t understand what she was referring to. Then I remembered all that she had suffered as a result of all the wars, the violence… there was a heavy silence for a moment, then I asked her what had really happened, so she brought me a coffee, put it on the table and began her story.


“We lived well, we didn’t want for anything, we had all the food we needed at least. He was studying like any boy his age, but one day he was recruited, which wasn’t unusual for those times, but that didn’t stop it being very painful.  They recruited my boy and life was not good to him, they almost killed him in those battle and he was with them a long time”.  With that hoarse voice and that mother’s pain, she carried on talking, but I didn’t want to hear any more, I felt how much she hurt, how worn out by life, but she wanted to continue, “It wasn’t enough that he was a boy who had ended up in a place he never wanted to be, but they imprisoned him.  He was there 14 years and you can’t imagine what he suffered, I thought about him so much, I entrusted him to God’s hands.  It’s been more than a year since he was released, but it would have been better if he had stayed in there locked up.  He went to Ituango and there because of his past deeds, they killed my son.  Life hasn’t been easy, there has been a lot of pain inside me, but we’re better now, more peaceful. There is not the same chance that the same things will happen to these little ones”. She said this in reference to her grandchildren who were playing with a ball out front.


A strong woman, but one with a heart full of pain, deeply affected by the war, recalls how her only son was recruited by the guerrillas, before they then imprisoned him for fourteen years, and, in the year he was released, assassinated him in Ituango because of his past. Now, his mother lives a little more peacefully, with painful memories, but consoling herself that there is a less of a chance that the same thing will happen to her grandchildren.

Photography and text by Marly Sorey George Rivera

In 1982, groups like FARC, the UPL and the ELN entered our municipality, and they were often stationed in areas like Camparrusia, La Balsa and San José de Urama. They dedicated themselves to executing anyone and everyone for robbery, drug consumption and alleged collaboration with the army, and in 1997 a paramilitary group appeared in Dabeiba, resulting in armed clashes with the other groups in these areas. Sadly, people who had nothing to do with the conflict were killed and, in my town, all that families experienced was sadness, emptiness and grief; people would fear leaving their houses and never returning, and the streets were empty, save for rubble and dead bodies on every street corner. It was an exhausting time, there were days when all you could hear were explosions, shouting and crying. People had to flee or instead, most of the people of the town were simply alone and cloaked in an immense agony.  Afterwards, with time, the community began to come out and rebuild houses.  There is no longer any fear of going out into the town, into the streets, freely. MY TOWN, which, after so much suffering, was reborn.


All you could hear in my town were explosions, there was no joy, everything here was cloaked in an immense agony, the streets filled with pain, despair everywhere, empty cartridges littering the floor… now, my town is dressed in colour and joy, people aren’t scared of going out and not returning. Now, my town has blossomed again.

Photography and text by Nicolle Paulina Muñoz Sepúlveda

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