My name is Angela Marcela currently studying Peace, Conflict and Development in the University of Bradford. While I was writing these words I realised that some readers probably don’t even know where Colombia is. Colombia is located in northern west corner of South America (yeah America as continent is divided in three: South, Middle and North).
Unfortunately, Colombia is known worldwide for trafficking drugs, kidnapping, crimes, and widespread violence. However other than stories about violence, there are a lot of facts that make Colombia a lovely place. At a glance,it is home of thousands of species, butterflies, birds and plants that make us recognized to be the second most biodiverse country in the world. Likewise, is the only place in the region with two coasts: Caribbean and Pacific Ocean, vast plains, three mountain ranges, kilometres of rainforest which offers the riches and smoothest coffee in the world, and an amazing variety of tropical fruits, where kindness and happiness of people is an attitude
Colombians have been encouraged to change the image from a feared country to a prosperous one in the region. Currently, one of the most attractive economies of Latin America, in fact, it has become a destination of foreign investments, and the last year one of our cities was recognized to be the city of the innovation of the world. Further than that, Colombia hides a gorgeous culture. Our food is an act of love, recently a book that compiles the knowledge and oral tradition of San Basilio de Palenque, a village whose cultural space is enlisted in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, was awarded as the best cookbook in the world at the 2014 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Colombia also knows about art: music, literature and culture. Renowned artists have promoted their art around the world not only in galleries but it can be seen in the streets and in the stages. The magical realist of Colombia is described in One Hundred Years of Solitude book, recognized as the most important and representative novel of the Latin American literature, written by our Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. We also host the most important Theatre Festival in Latin America.
Since 2012, the Government has been engaged in a peace process with the largest rebel group in the country, which have a huge impact on the global coca trade. However, we as individuals need to reflect about the contribution and responsibility of our acts and behaviours in this violent chain (producers, traders, consumers). Nonetheless, beyond the violent image of Colombia, there is a reality where more than forty millions of people live peacefully together in their common lives and have been building peace from alternatives paths.
I would like to imagine Colombia as John Lennon said “Nothing to kill or die for….., imagine all the people living life in peace”.