By Jenny Rodriguez
The Popular Women’s Organization (OFP) has worked in the Middle Magdalena region since 1972. They are women on a constant journey, always working for and proclaiming their rights. When they feel their life is at risk, they always surround themselves with friends to talk about what is happening. This is the way the leadership of the OFP responded upon learning that unidentified men have been following their friend and coworker, Shayo. There have been days filled with fear and anxiety and yet they do not give up.
This event reminded me of a story in the Bible. The book of Ruth tells of two women who had family ties, one is Ruth and the other is her mother-in-law, Naomi. After the death of their husbands, they decide to leave and return to Naomi’s home village. It is a story of solidarity, love, friendship, nobility of soul and profound humanity. That is exactly what we found in the women who have asked CPT to accompany their friend Shayo. As Ruth did to Naomi, they do not allow Shayo to be alone. They do not allow their companion to walk through places that may be unsafe. Mercy among women has achieved a re-creation of horizons to where life itself truly is, and also where friends and colleagues of Shayo find themselves. Ruth’s story is an example of dignity, joy and great change, all because the two cared for one another. Mutual counceling and support was their strength, which allowed them to follow their chosen path. It is with this same hope that Shayo, along with her friends and coworkers continue.
Women are life and love. We must continue to denouce what women will not tolerate, and bring forth the elements for the transformation of a society where women are persecuted and treated as bounty of war, to a society where women are respected and loved. The virtues of the OFP women: fidelity, prudence, nobility and generosity towards one another and towards their colleagues, are what Shayo and others have found when they feel their life is threatened. Let us also offer these to our neighbor.