Granada, Colombia: Symbol of War Overcome by the Will to Live and to Achieve Peace (S)
During 25 years, the Colombian municipality of Granada, some 370 km from the capital and home to 10,000 inhabitants, suffered the horrors of the war. At the same time, however, residents were able to build spaces of peace and reconciliation, referred to in the book “Granada, Memories of War, Resistance and Destruction”, published by the Center for Historical Memory – an institution created by the Colombian government to document the last 50 years of war and its victims. It states:
The civilian population relied on the strength of arguments and collective identity, and with the firm intention of making Granada a ‘Territory of Peace’, implemented a broad range of collective and individual actions that allowed them to survive, resist and rebuild on the ruins left by the armed confrontation.
Because of its privileged geographical situation in a mountainous region, near the highway Medellín – Bogota, since the middle of the eighties Granada was targeted by armed groups: guerrillas, the paramilitary, and the army. It suffered harassment, massacres, car bombs, displacement, military occupation, kidnappings and extrajudicial executions.
Between 2004 and 2010, every first Friday of the month, Granadians would light candles in their doorsteps or their balconies to remember victims. “Then the initiative grew stronger and people started to overcome fear and use that light to walk toward the Church, making it an act of resistence”.
At the same time a new initiative came into being, “Abriendo trochas por la vida” (Clearing paths for life). It consisted in walking the same paths that victims had walked with their executioners, in an attempt to give a new sense of life. Then, using stones painted with the names of the 128 disappeared in the region a way of the cross was made and the “Park of life” was built where the stones now rest. Global Voices