Peasant Autonomy
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Story 156

A hamlet in Colombia – 2014

Paradise and hell

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(Photo: Alexander Schimmeck)


The stream splashes in a friendly way through the jungle. It is green here: the moss on the rocks in the water, the plants and lush bushes, the trees. Cicadas chirp, insects buzz, and birds twitter. The Garden of Eden must have been beautiful like this. Rocio picks up her tub with just-washed clothes and walks home over the narrow forest path.
What's that? Why is it so quiet? Why doesn't she hear the boys or her husband? What could it be? She walks with hasty steps to the little house. There is nobody around. Plates lie on the floor, in pieces. The cupboard is pulled down. Where are they? Caught by the guerrillas? By the paramilitaries? Quickly she runs into the forest, and hides. Perhaps the men will come back soon.

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(Photo: Julian Londono)


When it remains quiet, Rocio returns to her home. She is still stunned. She trembles. She cannot believe that now it has happened, what she and her husband were afraid of all these years. She sits on the bed in silence for quite a long time. Then she takes her bag, and stuffs some clothes in it, and a bit of food. She walks through the jungle, the beautiful green that her reminds her of her dear husband, and wonderful sons. The birds sing endlessly. She has to leave this place. Here is paradise and hell, at the same time. She has to go away, to the city. She will find a place, build up something again. Away from here.


The beautiful movie Oscuro Animal (dark beast, 2016) made by the Colombian director Felipe Guerrero shows three women from little villages in the jungle, where a civil war is raging on for decades. They are silent. They don't speak, because for this unthinkable big violence there are no words.

Go to:
= the next page: Temporary island - River Inguri, Georgia/Abkhazia – 2014, story 157.
= the Table of contents, story 156.