Truth Commission: the instrument to understand the reality of the conflict

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Infobae Colombia undertook the task of reviewing each of the volumes of the robust Final Report of the Commission, including 'Colombia inside', a volume prepared by eleven commissioners, including Alfredo Molano Bravo. The truth stuck to his shoes while he was touring Colombia together with his work team, gives light to the thick document and to each text broken down by this means

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Truth Commission: the instrument to understand the reality of the conflict

From the moment he was appointed as commissioner, he put together his work team and went to do his thing, travel on foot, by mule and whatever, the routes that many do not know about Colombia. PHOTO: Infobae (Jesús Avilés)

It is foolish to think that we live in a privileged place in the existence of the universe; existence that has lasted until our times, where the internet and new technologies have allowed communications to be easier between human beings.

Throughout that existence we have told our story in different ways. There are those who do it through empires; others with wars, and also recording peace processes such as the one reached by the Colombian State and the extinct FARC guerrilla. And precisely, this agreement has allowed Colombia to have a broader panorama of the true impact of the internal armed conflict.

In the 21st century, war is no longer alien to humanity, much less in a world where information runs at speeds unthinkable five decades ago. Now, almost anyone (with a stable internet connection) knows what is happening in our environment and in a large part of the world.

Under this scenario, what has happened in Colombia during the last ten years (2012-2022) is a reflection of these changes. The internal war is less intense than in the 1990s, when peasants and citizens feared leaving their homes.

This conflict that the country has lived through for almost a century is ad portas ending; But while that happens, it is necessary to understand why Colombia has lived for so long at war. That was precisely the reason that led the Truth Commission to answer that disturbing question that Infobae Colombia wants to synthesize from the special on the Final Report delivered by Father Francisco de Roux in mid-2022.

In this sense, the objective of the Commission was to have a better understanding of the history of Colombia and the relationship that the armed groups had in the territories. To achieve this, the entity's first purpose was to listen to those responsible for the conflict to understand that reality; likewise, lay the foundations to guarantee non-repetition and generate empathy for that reality that those who suffered firsthand, both victims and those responsible for the conflict, have experienced.

Historically, there has been the concept that war can be ended in two ways: in armed confrontation or through a peace process. According to the Barcelona School for a Culture of Peace, more than 80% of the conflicts that have ended in the last 30 years have done so through a peace agreement. In contrast, less than 20% ended in military victory for one of the parties. Colombia ended up heading through the process after decades of failed attempts to pacify with violence, massacres, persecution and extrajudicial executions.

And to end the conflict: “it is absolutely necessary to know the causes, the actors and the interests behind the murders and expulsions that took place – and continue to take place – in the territories. This will lay the foundations for the construction of a country at peace, which we are beginning to believe is possible. The truth is a human right,” says Zoraida Hernández to DW, one of the 130 interviewers who formed the Truth Commission to collect testimonies outside the country.

Víctor de Currea-Lugo said in 2016 for Diners magazine that “ignorance, apathy and fanaticism are more friendly to war than to peace”. Those who bet on a negotiated exit should know that, which will always be perfectible.

Colombia, after several failed attempts, reached a negotiated exit in 2016. Before the signing of said agreement, dozens of texts were constructed based on the stories of victims and perpetrators. For this reason, Infobae Colombia pays tribute to Alfredo Molano Bravo, more journalist than sociologist, for traveling on foot and on mule back to the seed of the armed conflict.

For this reason, the guidelines of the territorial volume 'Colombia adentro' were carried out under a methodology that allowed a judicious process. The Commission played and will continue to play the role of LISTENING, RECOGNIZING AND UNDERSTANDING TO TRANSFORM, thus in capital letters.

In this fragment of the Final Report, the territory is the axis to understand the historical relations that have been lived in that place and the multiple characters that crossed rivers, trails, plains and mountains of Colombia. For this reason, the Commission implemented 28 territorial investigation teams, 28 truth houses, and regional offices so that the victims and those responsible could get closer and tell their version of the conflict.

On this trip through the territory, those responsible for seeing and listening to the victims understood that “looking into their eyes is a way of listening and spending sincere time with a person is a way of loving and recognizing,” according to the Commission. In addition, through this territorial tour they understood that what Colombia has lacked is to listen in order to be repaired.

During the territorial deployment process, the Commission heard 14,953 testimonials, of which 10,969 were individual and 1,250 collective, conducted 2,540 in-depth interviews and 194 life stories. With this result, some victims and perpetrators looked at each other face to face to understand that they have been part of a society that has favored the reproduction of violence.

This relationship of the different actors and institutions shows how society is woven into a network that affects the environment directly and indirectly and, as the Commission says, between humans and nature. Due to this same relationship, the truth supposes conversations about the possibility of the future for all Colombians for the non-repetition of the internal armed conflict and contribute to the construction of a society where the peasant does not have to expose his body for war, as he said. the Argentine writer Tomás Eloy Martínez.

In the introduction to the volume it is read that: “The Truth Commission calls on the sectors of the political and economic elites of the public force and the State in general to allow popular organization and mobilization to be seen as an enemy, to promote democratic dialogue on differences, a security model for peace and an inclusive economic development model that puts the well-being of all at the center. the population.

Violence is not the way to convey interests, resolve conflicts or fix problems. In this way they always end up betraying their ideals and objectives and leaving desolation and death. Enough already. It is time for democracy and peace.”