By Juanita Rojas
“I’m shaken, I have decided to love you,” native land, my body. Carolina Escobar Sartí.
Traveling a country is like traveling one’s own being. Walking about the land, we discover our own reflections in the river of a landscape. We travel the dusty scenes of a community, the same cities besotted with violence that travel us in this impossibility of creating loving pathways from which we may embrace each other. Deciding to love a country is a trembling act, like exploring my body or your body and sealing this love with life, like opening our hands to set fireflies free, or daring to fill ourselves with fireflies from another.
Three years after the Colombian government began the process of peace negotiations with the guerilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana, it appears that Colomia is finally nearing an actual peace accord. There is already speculation that it will happen on March 23rd. But is this agreement really a guarantee of lasting peace? Peace, according to Boaventura de Sousa Santos, is a demanding process if you’re thinking from the perspective of human dignity. These accords aren’t necessarily truth consummated in an agreement, but instead way to open up a dialogue between different forms of discord, and loving what our bodies and our countries continue to create and interweave.
Almost 30 years after the signing of the Esquipulas II Peace Agreement in which five Central American countries – including Guatemala – defined a general framework for peace, the region still hasn’t achieved important structural changes. The rise in rates of poverty, inequality, corruption, and above all crime and violence shows that even though the peace accords supported a transition from representational to participatory democracy, they haven’t worked as a bulwark against violence.
Imagining peace without working for social justice, without respecting towns and regions, without public participation, without transparency, without demilitarization of the collective soul and without visions and practice of coexistence is like setting a needle on a table. We still need to find our threads and begin to weave loving tangles from couples, homes, schools, communities, and make a real effort to join them together. In Guatemala, like in Colombia, we are already hearing of young people, women, families, and communities who are weaving paths to dignified lives based on their own ideas of life, dignity, and development.
“The peace process does not end, but rather truly begins with the signing of the peace accords,” says Sergio Jaramillo, Colombia’s High Commissioner for Peace. His words are reminiscent of those of Venezuelan poet Eugenio Montejo, who said, “No love fits in only one body.” This means that peace does not fit in a single treaty. It requires many stirring, binding, loving tangles woven from the state, but especially from the people. Therefore, perhaps we will be able to no longer simply dream of travel, but to travel and be traveled by these lands governed by caresses, whispers, and touches already sensed by Julio Cortázar.