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Thursday, 20 July 2017 00:00

Poets and artists from around the world express support to Colombia's peace and its implementation

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We, the poets and artists invited to the 27th International Poetry Festival in Medellín have set our eyes on Colombia’s recent past, and what we have seen almost surpasses our ability of understanding, and challenges without defeat our love for life.

The figures about the armed conflict are usually cold, but here, they are not cold: they are the painful testimony of what has been left out of decades of injustice and dispossession, both of which are daughters of a hatred that must be excised from the body of Colombia. We have been told that at least 220,000 lifes have been lost during this conflict; the victims, 8,425,398; the forced disappearances, 85,000...

These figures, we are told, are official. It cannot be true, we tell ourselves. And again they tell us: "these are the official figures". So all that horror was true, it was not an exaggeration: a people installed, for more than half a century, in the domain of death.

Indeed our ability to understand and accept reality had been already tested when, in a plebiscite preceded by lies and a perverse manipulation of the legitimate feelings of the Colombian people, the No camp [to the peace agreements] won and it was a No that still resonates in our consciences. Once that hard impasse was resolved, we thought that the worst had already happened, and we are confident that this will be the case, but we must be vigilant so that the speeches of hatred and revenge no longer expand their insidious poison. And we see with joy that the opposing parties during those decades of horror are not only vigilant but have given irrefutable proof that they sincerely and heartily desire to honor what is written and signed in the peace agreements.

Although it may seem like a commonplace, we say again here today that peace is an inalienable right of peoples and an obligation of the governments. And since the hope of the Colombian people, which has been reborn and strengthened by the signing of the Final Agreement, cannot be betrayed again, we invite and request President Juan Manuel Santos, the Judiciary and the Congress of the Republic to accelerate implementation of the agreements and, more particularly, to not delay the liberation of the insurgents who remain in prisons despite the approved amnesty, and we include the request to act for the liberation of Simon Trinidad as well, and to fight in a determined and frank manner for the dismantling of paramilitary structures, which are today the greatest risk the Colombian people face, in which the realm of death and hatred would be brought back if not stopped; And to the FARC-EP we say, not to allow -despite the difficulties, dangers and threats that lie on the long road to peace building- for their will and commitment to peace to fall. They have already proved their will and commitment to peace.

We see that, to this day, the Colombian people have not been the main protagonist of history, but the one that has suffered. Again, just look at the official figures: the 177,000 civilians killed by selective murders and the ominous number of victims, almost 9 million people, are a blatant evidence.

The poets and artists participating in this 27th International Poetry Festival in Medellín are convinced that in the implementation of the Final Agreement the vigilant presence of civil society will be essential, and we invite the people of Colombia to guarantee for the agreed to be honored. The non compliance of the agreements will be the gateway, once again, to the hell of war.

Exactly two years ago, during the Second World Summit of Poetry for Peace in Colombia, poets invited to the International Poetry Festival in Medellín wrote and signed a document that said, among many other things:

"Poetry and art can transform pain and tragedy, lived in memory and strength to affirm life and defeat the trickery of death. Being willing to transform the deep wounds that injustice and its military deployment have produced in Colombia, commits us all to a reflection on this uneasiness, but also to recognize what we were before feeling it and what we could be once we overcome it. If we say without hesitation that poetry is an impossible accomplishment, peace should be an impossible achievement. That impossible achievement will put in our eyes the country that they have not alowed to be."

We today make those words our own, and also repeat what the poet Dylan Thomas left us: "And death shall have no dominion”.

Signed by:

Timo Berger (Germany)
Tom Schulz (Germany)
Odile Kennel (Germany)
Graciela Maturo, (Argentina)
Samuel Bossini (Argentina)
Hugo Francisco Rivella (Argentina)
Maria Takolander (Australia)
Tina Elorriaga (Argentina)
Diana Araujo (Brazil)
Stefan Hertmans (Belgium)
Marcia Mogro (Bolivia)
Jorge Torres (Colombia)
José Luis Díaz-Granados (Colombia)
Alejandra Lerma (Colombia)
Maria Tabares (Colombia)
Marco Fidel Cardona (Colombia)
Camila Charry (Colombia)
Lucía Parías (Colombia)
Gustavo Valdes (Colombia)
Carlos Ciro (Colombia)
Sore Snid Berrío (Colombia)
Maria Isabel Garcia Mayorca (Colombia)
Pedro Arturo Estrada (Colombia)
Orietta Lozano (Colombia)
Felipe Posada (Colombia)
Felipe López (Colombia)
Camilo Restrepo (Colombia)
Carlos Andrés Jaramillo (Colombia)
Kelly Jiménez (Colombia)
Daniel Acevedo (Colombia)
Lina Trujillo (Colombia)
Andrés Alvarez (Colombia)
Ronald Cano (Colombia)
Lorena Zapata (Colombia)
Gunnara Jamioy Izquierdo (Iku-Kamëntsá Nations, Colombia)
Pedro Ortiz (Inga Nation, Colombia)
Eduard Encina (Cuba)
Elvira Hernández (Chile)
Jesus Sepulveda (Chile)
Gary Geddes (Canada)
Peter Laugesen (Denmark)
Luis Carlos Mussó (Ecuador)
Luis Carlos Mussó (Ecuador)
Gerry Loose (Scotland)
Inger Mari Aikio (Sami Nation, Finland)
Marc Perrin (France)
Anne Kawala (France)
Stephane Chaumet (France)
Peter Waugh (Great Britain)
Nikolaos Vlahakis (Greece)
Sabino Esteban (Guatemala)
Fabricio Estrada (Honduras)
Abhay K. (India)
Caterina Davinio (Italy)
Ann-Margaret Lim (Jamaica)
Hanane Aad (Lebanon)
Khalid Raissouni (Morocco)
Margarito Cuéllar (Mexico)
Balam Rodrigo (Mexico)
Natalio Hernández (Náhuatl Nation, Mexico)
Fakhri Ratrout (Palestine-Jordan)
Najwan Darwish (Palestine)
Shirley Villalba (Paraguay)
Denisse Vega (Peru)
Zingonia Zingone (United Kingdom)
Gligoric Mine (Serbia)
Fira Sulaiman (Syria)
Svenja Herrmann (Switzerland)
Haydar Ergülen (Turkey)
Savina Yannatou (Greece)
Martín Cruz ((Colombia)
Spyros Manesis (Greece)
Chinoy (Chile)
Polito Ibañez (Cuba)
Mauruicio Castillo -Chinoy- (Chile)
Saidash Begzy Oglu Mongush (Tuva-Russia)
Baatarkhuu Tumendembere (Mongolia)
Beppe Costa (Italy)