Mothers of Hope
Ruth Elena still hasn’t forgotten the efforts of those days when she had to walk for hours without stopping, hanging from her body her two infant children, one of 22 and the other of just 6 months old. No one could help her, helping her would mean to put his or her life at risk.
Nuris Inelda, recalls with horror the loud noise coming from the center of the city where she was born and raised among the peaks of the Andes. The screams of panic of people running around with clothes stained with blood. The guerrillas had detonated a bomb in the central church to get rid of its inhabitants, paramilitary and civilians.
Ermilda keeps repeating the same words, in a faint voice, opening her swollen eyes from time to time: verdad, justicia, reparación integral (truth, justice, full reparation) repeating the main themes of a recent sentence delivered by the main Colombian Constitutional Court in regards to the rights of desplazados, then she adds: "Why did they kill my son?"
Colombia has the highest number of displaced people (IDPs) in the world: about 5 million people according to government data. People who has been forced to flee their home due to the armed conflict and often sought refugee in the suburbs of big cities.
Medellin hosts about 190,000 desplazados, most of them are women. Women who have witnessed the murder of children, husbands, brothers or sisters, and then had to flee to save their own life. Women who have had to overcome fear, hunger, social marginalization.
Eventually they had the strength to build social networks finding in the union the courage to look to the future. Women that marched always in the forefront to expose the crimes committed against them, because as in any war, violence against women is one of the most widespread and unacceptable offensive.
The mothers I met in Medellin, have made short or long trips, each one started their trip taking everything with them: together with the despair they carried courage, fear with dignity, dreams with loneliness. They rebuilt all over again with foresight and determination trying to stay, alone, wherever the fate has brought them.