Who is this blog for?
If you are an academic, journalist, social activist working on Colombia or anyone interested in conflict, human rights and social issues, this is the right place for you!
What is this blog about?
This blog will document the daily realities of rural Colombian communities I will accompany as part of my volunteer experience with Peace Watch Switzerland (PWS), a Swiss NGO that protects human rights through international accompaniment and observation (click here to find out more about what this consists of).
I will report on what threats these rural communities face today and the changing dynamics of conflict in the region. In doing so I will focus on the role of the extractive and agro-industries (such as mining and palm oil companies), neo-paramilitary structures, the Colombian government and other actors. I will also touch on how the post-accord agenda is affecting those regions.
As a foreign peace observer, I intend to critically reflect on the short- and long-term impact of our activities, centring on the notions of local ownership and sustainable peace. And as a burgeoning development economist, I also hope to bring in some economic analysis to the situation, where relevant. So stay tuned all of you economics lovers out there!
What is the blog’s mission?
This blog’s mission is two-fold: i) raise awareness on the conflicts still present in some of the remotest areas of the country, and ii) make my lived experience in Colombia take on a more conscious and reflective dimension.
All too aware of media obsession with shocking headlines and polarized opinions, I wish to bring in, to the best of my ability, a balanced, fair and accurate perspective of what is going on, free from ideological agenda and over-simplifications.
By focusing on these invisible communities (at least from an English-speaking media standpoint), I want to shift the focus from armed groups and violence to those that suffer the conflict. I also hope to bring some peace stories in my writing, in the spirit of making space for optimism and peacemaking.
An academic by training, I will try my best to let the writing and ideas flow, letting go of my propensity for dry, academic language. However, I will still strive for well-informed and critical pieces of analysis and may include a list of additional readings at the end of each article if you are interested in delving deeper into some of the topics.
An ode to humility
I hope that my writing will transmit the full extent of my admiration for these marginalized communities that have been arduously and courageously fighting for social justice in Colombia. I know I will learn and grow from these encounters and hope that, by giving a voice to the voiceless, I can contribute (even if minimally) to their fight.
Please do not hesitate to comment on my blog posts and don’t forget to subscribe (top right) to get notified by email as soon as a new blog post is out. To find out a little bit more about me, click here.