Why forgive?

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Why forgive? Why if they are criminals? These are some of the questions that Colombians ask themselves when thinking about why peace should be made with the FARC. But why not? Colombia is a country that has suffered for more than 50 years from this senseless war that began with a purpose that has been lost over the years. I am not saying that we should forgive and forget, no, but perhaps it would be better to reach this agreement and start over.

Many times when someone talks about Colombia they do not talk about its beautiful landscapes or its wonderful mountains or simply the kindness of its people. Instead, they refer to issues related to drug trafficking or the guerrillas. Besides, whoever speaks that way usually carries a lot of fear, that’s why he avoids coming here, out of terror of being kidnapped or killed.

My heart aches

At 17, it hurts me a lot to see my country like this. Every day I am more surprised to see how Colombians, instead of helping each other, prefer to see the majority of the population suffer for the benefit of a few. Every moment that passes I see how a great part of the citizens try to forget about the issue of peace in our country, but wouldn’t it be better to start working together and solve the problem?

Clearly there is a war that we hope will soon be over, but for this to happen there has to be a national unity agreement and for now, unfortunately, I do not see this as possible. Instead of being a united country, fighting for the good of all, individual interest takes precedence and we are divided into different opinions: that of former President Alvaro Uribe and that of President Juan Manuel Santos.

Betty Boop © Solkes

The first one is in total disagreement with this idea, he considers that the only way to end the war is to continue fighting in an armed way in the Colombian jungles, but after 50 years, I think we can all see that this is not a solution, but one more problem. The second thinks the opposite, he considers that it is important to make peace and he knows from his own experience that to continue in battle with the FARC is not going to lead anywhere.

Evidently, history has shown us that with a senseless war there will be no results.

We know nothing

Betty Boop © Solkes

When talking about peace in Colombia, many do not know if it will be achieved. Not only could we live in a country at peace, but the Colombian government could use its budget much better and not waste it on war.

If the budget could be better invested, large projects could be carried out, such as improving roads and helping poor populations to have access to basic needs, since in Colombia there are still populations that do not have water, energy, or sewage services. Money could also be invested in education so that public education is of quality.

The most developed countries in the world, such as the United States or Sweden, have this right.

For a country to progress, education is essential. How can we expect children to know that war does not achieve anything if they have not even had a history lesson? In order to improve as a society, you have to start with the younger generations, and that can be achieved through education.

Why not forgive?

The problem is not only to forgive and make peace but to think about what comes next. What will happen to the guerrillas? What has happened to the paramilitaries? What will happen to us citizens? The solution is complex; we must forgive and give a chance to all the people who have been rejected by society and who know only one life: that of violence.

This case is regrettable but it is reality. You have never asked yourselves what is the reason why the guerrillas are still there? I am not going to say that this is the only reason, because surely others may not agree, but in my eyes, it is clear that they know nothing else. Very probably, their parents were also guerrillas and their grandparents were also guerrillas. But on top of that, who are we to judge them if we have never given them a chance?

Betty Boop © Solkes

They are farmers, whose lands have been invaded or have had to leave them so that our soldiers and the guerrillas can fight. No one has given them the opportunity to study, to practice a sport, or to live a full life as a family. They are the forgotten men and women of this country.

To achieve peace in Colombia, not only an agreement with the FARC is enough, but also our participation as a society. As former U.S. President Ronald Reagan said, “All great change in America begins at the table. He is right. What good is it to achieve peace with the FARC if we don’t have it in our families?

We have to see how we can change that, because, in order to be a peaceful country, we have to start at home. All Colombians should think about how we can reintegrate these guerrillas because it is a matter of each and every one of us.

So I ask myself, why not? Why not forgive? Can we continue to imagine Colombia in the state it is in, where people would rather travel abroad than inside the country for fear of kidnapping? If we do nothing about it and let everything remain the same, then what will happen to Colombia? If we do not forgive, we will continue living in a country with resentment and thus we will never be able to live in peace. So instead of thinking, “Why not?” let’s think, “Why yes?

Translated By: Betty Boop

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