The term “displaced” has always seemed very callous to me…as if a group of people just got lost one day and displaced themselves in another city or village. To me it would be more appropriate to say “people who have fled from their homes…the place where they were waking up in the morning, making breakfast, returning after work, at times crying or laughing, talking with friends and family, raising children, cleaning, turning out the lights at night, dedicating countless hours to maintaining…because that was preferable to a situation; often violent and traumatic.” Of course, the situation of displacement is different for each of Colombia’s 3.1 – over 4.6 million displaced persons (depending on the source). Rural Colombians who have fled from their homes due to massacres or fumigation are returning at very low rates which has left many communities virtually empty. I guess if we keep in mind the stories, for example read here (from the UNHCR site) and listen here, here, and here (from idpvoices.org), of the “displaced” and how we would feel running away from our homes, the word can mean more than just “lacking a home.”
Adam Isacson is the director of the Center for International Policy’s Colombia program. Here’s a video of him speaking about the partial return of displaced people in rural Colombia around 10 years after massacres. Check out his blog Plan Colombia and Beyond.
From Plan Colombia and Beyond:
“Here’s a 100-second video I recorded from the back of a pickup truck on the road between Macayepo and Chinulito, both of them sites of massacres in 2000, and both of them experiencing a partial return of displaced people.
Some of you may recognize Nancy Sánchez of the Colombian human rights group MINGA (winner of the Institute for Policy Studies’ 2003 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award). It may appear that I have Nancy in an affectionate embrace; actually, I’m clinging desperately with my free hand to the roof of the truck in order to avoid flying out. The road is in terrible condition.”
To learn more about Colombian’s who have fled their homes due to war, check out this clear and concise Reuter’s AlertNet briefer on this issue.
Posted By Lindsey Crifasi
Posted Jul 10th, 2009