“I saw the flag of my country waving…” | Colombia’s Turmoil

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – MAY 28: The ESMAD tank is attacked by the protesters with fireworks and homemade explosives on May 28, 2021 in Bogota, Colombia. Protests against Ivan Duque’s administration have not stopped since erupting on April 28 against a tax reform bill which was later withdrawn. Demands turned their focus into a widespread expression of anger over poverty, inequality, pandemic mismanagement and police brutality. National government and the strike committee continue to negotiate to find a solution to the crisis.

 

Photographer Ovidio Gonzalez Soler is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From the project ‘ Surco de Dolores/ GROOVES OF PAIN’.  To see Ovidio’s body of work, click on any image.

 

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – MAY 05: A protester carries a handkerchief on his ‘che guevara’ face during national strike on May 5, 2021 in Bogota, Colombia. Despite that the ruling party announced withdrawal of the unpopular bill for a tax reform and the resignation of the Minister of Finances, social unrest continues after a week. The United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) showed its concern and condemned the riot police repression. Ongoing protests take place in major cities since April 28.

 

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – NOVEMBER 21: during a national strike against the government of President of Colombia Ivan Duque on November 21, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia. Union workers are protesting against recent labor reform that changed pension funds along with LGBT representatives which claim they’ve been losing rights, Afro communities that were left out of the last national census, students demanding a bigger budget for education and indigenous communities denouncing murders.

 

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – MAY 05: A young manifestant waves the Flag of Colombia in front of the fire during the protests in the monument Los Heroes during national strike on May 5, 2021 in Bogota, Colombia. Despite that the ruling party announced withdrawal of the unpopular bill for a tax reform and the resignation of the Minister of Finances, social unrest continues after a week. The United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) showed its concern and condemned the riot police repression. Ongoing protests take place in major cities since April 28.

 

From a young age, I sing the national anthem with great pride. At school we would sing standing up, with our backs straight, our right hands on our hearts, our lungs well inflated and our eyebrows furrowed – yellow, blue and red, the colors of my flag. I implanted a collective imagination that made me believe that “the horrible night has ended” and that “sublime freedom” has arrived.

Walking among the crowds, I saw the posters, listened to the harangues, I felt the strong patriotic sense that characterizes us, testimony to the presence of a true national poetry, I saw the flag of my country waving and how it was formed in the very ecosystem of the streets I saw how the yellow of the Sun got next to the blue of the sky and it hurt me to see how it suddenly conjugated with the red on the asphalt. More than forty days of massive protest in the country, with thousands of signs of extreme violence and dozens of deaths that have marked the memory of Colombians forever.

 

 

 

 

María Mercedes Carranza says in the poem ‘La Patria’ – “in this house the living sleep with the dead, imitate their customs, repeat their gestures and when they sing, they sing their failures” -, a thick, hard but effective X-ray of the lack of empathy with which some compatriots live, as well as this analogy of a fragmented and divided Colombia, chaotic and with no way out – “the windows show destroyed landscapes, flesh and ash are confused in the faces, in the mouths the words are stirred with fear . In this house we are all buried alive ”-.

In the streets reality is combined with art, discontent with patriotism and violence with resistance in a tumble of sensations that not even images can fully describe, symbols, people, objects and the atmosphere itself are mixed In a color palette that takes me back to my childhood – yellow, blue and red, the colors of my flag – all this chaos seems to transport me back to the moment when we were singing standing up, with our backs straight, our right hands in the heart, the lungs well inflated and the eyebrows well furrowed “but it is not complete glory to win in battle, than the arm that fights is animated by the truth. Independence alone, the great clamor does not silence: If the sun shines on everyone, justice is freedom ”. Indigenous people and peasants also accompany the Colombian population who raised their voices in the protest. Leaving their territory to move to the cities and face a national cry, lowering the fumes in the heat of violence and reflecting with the youngest on the false freedom that they sold us to the oldest.

 

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – MAY 28: A large group of protesters clash with Esmad agents in the Americas Portal and are attacked with tear gas on May 28, 2021 in Bogota, Colombia. Protests against Ivan Duque’s administration have not stopped since erupting on April 28 against a tax reform bill which was later withdrawn. Demands turned their focus into a widespread expression of anger over poverty, inequality, pandemic mismanagement and police brutality. National government and the strike committee continue to negotiate to find a solution to the crisis.

 

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – NOVEMBER 21: during a national strike against the government of President of Colombia Ivan Duque on November 21, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia. Union workers are protesting against recent labor reform that changed pension funds along with LGBT representatives which claim they’ve been losing rights, Afro communities that were left out of the last national census, students demanding a bigger budget for education and indigenous communities denouncing murders.

 

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – MAY 28: Street in a residential neighborhood next to Portal Americas totally covered with Tear Gas on May 28, 2021 in Bogota, Colombia. Protests against Ivan Duque’s administration have not stopped since erupting on April 28 against a tax reform bill which was later withdrawn. Demands turned their focus into a widespread expression of anger over poverty, inequality, pandemic mismanagement and police brutality. National government and the strike committee continue to negotiate to find a solution to the crisis.

 

Colombia is going through a historic moment and the thousands of demonstrations, violent events, aggressions, injustices, disappearances and even deaths prompted me to create a visual testimony, a series that shows the fury in the streets, various situations that are lived inside of the protests, events of tension and also of fury, the diversity and unity, the passion and patriotism that is felt in the air within the protest, the elements that speak to me of a reality of the country, the tears, the silence , dreams and thoughts translated into an authorial vision that seeks to leave testimony of an existence or a society furrowed by pain.

Just to close, I stand up, with my back straight, my right hand on my heart, my lungs well inflated and my eyebrows well furrowed to sing with longing and with my voice between cut “Oh unfading glory, Oh immortal joy, in furrows of pain, the good germinates already ”.

 

All images and text © Ovidio Gonzalez Soler

 

 

See also:

Minga

By Ovidio Gonzalez Soler

 

 

Ovidio’s Previous Contributions To Edge Of Humanity Magazine

“once a Ticuna man is born, a tree is born” Life In The Depths Of The Amazon Jungle

 

 

 

 

Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.

We are committed to publishing the human condition, the raw diverse global entanglement, with total impartiality.

 

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