02 October 2008

International Day of Nonviolence

Happy International Day of Nonviolence!  

My teammate Stewart and I spent the afternoon at an assembly for local schools, where various groups spoke to the students about nonviolence.  One group, Quinto Mandamiento (5th Commandmant; a conscientious objector group) asked the children what violence was, and the first response was "land take-overs."  A form of violence all too common here, especially in resource-rich areas.  

Colombia exports oil, coal, coffee, and gold, among other things.  The gold mining region of Sur de Bolivar has experienced much upheaval, assassinations and displacement over the past two decades due to the value placed on their land, but not on the lives of those who inhabit the land.  Paramilitary incursions and violence accompanied the arrival of mining giant Kedahda (a subsidiary of AngloGold Ashanti), who have set their sights on the profit to be made off this land.  For more information about the Sur de Bolivar region, as well as the local federation formed to defend local, small-scale miners and their land, check out the Colombia Solidarity Campaign's blog.  

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