Our solitude: Until we become one people, we are no one

For more than 515 years we have been condemned to solitude.

We have become accustomed to individualize everything; displacement is the problem of people who are displaced, land is the problem of indigenous peoples and peasants, the issues that peasants face are not the same as those of black people, the black problem is not the problem of indigenous people, human rights violations are issues for those NGOs that represent the victims and for the victims who are looking to be represented, wages are an issue for workers and their bosses, education is that of teachers and students, health is the problem of the neglected and workers in this field, the Free Trade Agreement is the problem of those who protest against it and the protesters only oppose those aspects that affect their given sector, parapolitics and the paramilitaries are the government’s problem and the war and terror are state matters.

Already the humanitarian agreement has become just for those who have disappeared or been kidnapped and their families. Assassinated trade unionists are only mourned by unions and their relatives, elections are the concern of politicians and their parties, and when indigenous peoples, afros or peasants of various communities are killed or when they disappear for some reason this is and will be their problem. And this is how it is, as long as things don’t change.

When we say out of humility and respect that we are brought together by the challenge to feel and share the pain of all and to break through the individualization of disgrace, it’s not just the state that oppresses us. Also standing in our way is the custom that we have of defending our own and of grieving our own pain amongst ourselves. In this way, we will continue to be divided unless we weave together from all of this pain the common reasons for which we are facing oppression and injustice.

Sadly, as indigenous people we have been victims the longest given the last 515 years of persecution and it’s because of the pain of the victims that we are mobilizing for national dignity now. Because one day we are going to wake up and break down the wall doesn’t let us see that we are all black, indigenous, peasants, kidnapped, forced to disappear, displaced, exiled, threatened...

[From ACIN, translation Jen Moore]