Friday, December 23, 2011

Operation Rivers of Light

(This Pre-Christmas Post replaces the Monday post for December 26. Back to the normal Monday schedule on January 2, 2012)

As you may already know (oh, come on, I'm sure you know), we have very large, illegal, guerrilla leftist movements in Colombia. We have tried to combat and defeat them for over 60 years, and we are slowly winning the war against them.. but we still have a long way to go.

Before I go on, please allow me a little of your time to get on my soapbox and explain a couple of things. Listen, dude, we (Colombians) are not against leftist movements, like people (such as Chávez and his dictatorial regime, for instance) want to make you believe. We welcome the left, because we are well aware that without a left there can be no right, but rather meaningless unilateralism. Our nation was founded in 1810 based on leftist ideals. We, all of us, all of us Colombians, used to be leftist rebels who stood up against the Spanish monarchy. And we won. We understand and celebrate the importance of the left.

What we don't understand, what we don't accept and what we most certainly DO NOT celebrate is that the so-called "left" (the guerrilla movements you might be familiar with via CNN or the BBC) use illegal actions to gain money. They are no longer looking for political power, they no longer have political ideals. Those ideals died in the 1980s with the birth and growth of drug trafficking. There are no more philosophical leftist pillars on which the current guerrilla can stand. It is just greed and lust and ignorance.

A few so-called "leaders" (and I use the term VERY loosely) have forced thousands of Colombian peasants, farmers, women and children, to join their ranks with the promise of money. And in a country where so much poverty reigns, it is easy to understand why they joined - also, they were given no choice. The options were either to join or to die a painful death.

That is why we, Colombians living on the legal side of the story (both rightists and leftists, conservatives and liberals, catholics and atheists), are asking that the Guerrilleros come home, to leave the guerrilla movement and join us on the civilian side.

The 2011 Operation Rivers of Light was carried out this week. I invite you to watch the video, with Spanish audio and English subtitles:

My President, Juan Manual Santos, and his family participated in the event three days before Christmas, sending out their own personal messages, with the hope that the Guerrilleros will receive the message and be touched enough to come home. After all, there is no better place to be on Christmas than at home.

I invite you to join me, to join all Colombians, in asking that Guerrilleros demobilize. I invite you to write (tweet, blog, whatever) using the hashtag #GuerrilleroDesmovilicese (Spanish for "Guerrilla Combatant, leave the illegal guerrilla forces").

My very close and dear friend, Mafe Barbosa, sending away her message...

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