Saturday, October 15, 2016

Colombia's Price Of War, Colombia's Price For Peace

Colombia is facing a difficult decision right now...

From the New York Times... 'A narrow margin divided the yes-or-no vote, with 50.2 percent of Colombians rejecting the peace deal and 49.8 percent voting in favor, the government said....  And it left the future of rebels who had planned to rejoin Colombia as civilians — indeed, the future of the war itself, which both sides had declared over — unknown.

Mr. Santos, who appeared humbled by the vote on television on Sunday, said the cease-fire that his government had signed with the FARC would remain in effect. He added that he would soon “convene all political groups,” especially those against the deal, “to open spaces for dialogue and determine how we will go ahead.”

Rodrigo Londoño, the FARC leader, who was preparing to return to Colombia after four years of negotiations in Havana, said he, too, was not interested in more war. “The FARC reiterates its disposition to use only words as a weapon to build toward the future,” he said in a statement. “With today’s result, we know that our challenge as a political party is even greater and requires more effort to build a stable and lasting peace.

The question voters were asked was simple: “Do you support the final agreement to end the conflict and construct a stable and enduring peace?” But it was one that had divided this country for generations, as successive governments fought what seemed to be a war without an end and the Marxist FARC rebels dug into the forest for a hopeless insurgency.

To many Colombians who had endured years of kidnappings and killings by the rebels, the agreement was too lenient. It would have allowed most rank-and-file fighters to start lives as normal citizens, and rebel leaders to receive reduced sentences for war crimes.

“There’s no justice in this accord,” said Roosevelt Pulgarin, 32, a music teacher who cast his ballot against the agreement on a rainy day at an elementary school in Bogotá, the capital. “If ‘no’ wins, we won’t have peace, but at least we won’t give the country away to the guerrillas. '

This feeling of betrayal and the need for revenge and justice is echoed in the resounding but close victory of the 'No' vote.

Unfortunately for all Colombians, while the price for peace is not as horrible as the price of war, it is a bitter pill indeed. It is the only cure for what ails Colombia and it is a difficult price to pay but it is the best remedy for this 52 year curse. 

The cry for justice alone, cannot cure the pain or right the wrongs... The price for peace lies in the giving up of the blood lust for revenge and for a justice that can not make up for the blood spilled in the last 52 years. 

Giving up the hatred and the need for revenge, giving in to the need for peace and progress, accepting the country's need to move on without retribution on either side, is the only way forward.

There are many on both sides who have lost loved ones, the taking of more lives and prolonging the bitterness is not what Colombia needs. There are many who can't bring themselves to forgive the other side... and no one has to. 

All anyone has to do is lay down their arms and lay down the rhetoric of war, walk away from the rational idea of avenging their dead. That is the price of peace... just giving up on the hate, the rage, the anger. 

Turning away from war and embracing peace is the bitter pill that is needed now. Sometimes the simple decision is the most difficult to put in motion and carry out. 

Centuries ago, when the battle was over, both sides went home and nursed their wounds, they embraced those on their side who were left, those who lived, and they rebuilt their lives. 

That is the price of peace now for Colombia. Just give up the need for justice, there is no justice during war, neither is there justice after war... there never was and there never will be for those who have lost friends, family and countrymen. 

Both sides need to give up and just move on to a peaceful tomorrow. This is the price of peace.

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