Ten years of organizing, nine years as a People’s Assembly and a resilient, ongoing presence on the land: These were the achievements celebrated by the community of Micoahumado in Colombia’s Magdalena Medio region March 14. Student groups took up microphones and with song, dance and other artistic media created an ambiance of joy and hope under the theme: “Love Life, Work for Peace.”
Their elders then took the floor to offer each other thanks for making it this far. It hasn’t been easy. Their efforts for respect of their rights to remain on the territory have not come cheap, but are fruits of constant dialogue. Actions in harmony with words bring into view the unity they have steadfastly proclaimed.
Moments of self-criticism did not detract from the event’s celebrative atmosphere, but served as a reminder that after ten years of walking the talk, the road stretches out ahead and the trek goes on.
These hands of women, men and young people joined to shout, “Be strong!” are the same hands that rise to stop every act of plunder, threat and endangerment that looms. In that spirit this refrain, uttered with firmness and certainty, rose throughout the celebration: “In the face of new challenges to our future on this land, may no one be pulled from our hands, and may nothing nor anyone separate our hands from those of our neighbors.”
The people of Micoahumado have maintained faith in a God who liberates them from the dark night of bombs and battles of one group or another, who has accompanied them during these years of fear, who has freed them from death and kept them on their land. May it ever be so for those who love life and work for peace.