Today there is one main topic on practically all the Colombian blogs: For the first time in Colombia's history, an initiative which began on the internet managed to become a massive, worldwide event in just one month. The February 4th demonstration against the FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces) , began as an
idea on a FaceBook group “A Million Voices Against the FARC” and then it snowballed into a worldwide event with marches in 133 different cities around the world.
The Christian Science Monitor has an overview in English about how this came to happen and how it developed in the past few weeks. equinoXio, a blogger-run online magazine has kept updates on the march with information from all around the world [es].
Bloggers do not all agree on the march, nor on the idea of joining it. Some, like La Gente Normal [es] have conspiracy theories about how it developed:
Una marcha que empezó en el Facebook, un sistema que ha sido adoptado por el 1 % de la población Colombiana ( a lo sumo) , se “tomó” de improviso la conciencia nacional , apoyada de forma espontánea por todos los medios, todos los sistemas de comunicación y dió la vuelta al mundo en menos de un mes ( UN MES¡¡¡) Ni para montar un congreso o un seminario se demora uno tan poco tiempo, cómo para poner a caminar a media Colombia, hacer una estrategia de campaña, imprimirla y ponerla en todos los Eucoles de la ciudad ( cuantos millones y quien paga por todo eso) lo inició un ingeniero de sistemas ( el solito) y ahora tiene el respaldo de todas las embajadas, grupos y personas, a mi me huele a gato encerrado.
A march which began in Facebook, a system which has been adopted by 1% of the Colombian population (at most), unexpectedly “took over” the national conscience, supported spontaneously by all the media, every communication system and went around the world in less than a month (A MONTH!!!) Not even setting up a convention or a seminar takes this little time, much less to get half of Colombia to walk, have a campaign strategy, print it out and paste it on every Eucoles [bus stop advertising monoliths] in the city (how many millions did it cost and who pays for all this) it was started by a system engineer (all by himself) and now has the backing of all the embassies, groups and people, this smells fishy to me.
Others, like Felipe Campuzano from Newbeatle [es] didn't go on the march, but not out of support for las FARC. He writes about staying home, feeling this march wouldn't really help, and then mentions a conversation had with his brother, when they came up with the perfect solution for the guerrilla problem: getting all of the guerrilla members inside a stadium and pulling a Pinochet on them.
Esteban Alarcón Ceballos in Life is the Best type of Sarcasm wonders about the reasons why people go out into the march, if they are all truly for the same team, if they have thought about what it means, or if they just wanted to join in the fun. He then analyzes how many factions had to turn the march into something to suit their own needs.
Me parece increíble que a estas alturas de la vida se esté tratando de politizar un movimiento tan puramente cívico como es este, que no es mas que la expresión de un pueblo, y es inaceptable que se quiera distorsionar por campañas y hasta se quiera mostrar como una farsa de los medios para apoyar el paramilitarismo…
I think it is unbelievable that at this time of the game they are trying to politicize a movement that is just a civic movement, nothing but an expression by the people, and it is unacceptable that they wish to distort it to suit their campaigns and that they even want to show it as if it were a farce set up by the media to support the paramilitary groups…
Mauricio Duque Arrubla [es] coined the term “the perfect protest”, referring to the way many people wanted to mold the march to their needs, as if to make it into the perfect demonstration worthy of their presence, a protest made-to-order. He had mentioned that perhaps it would be better to just pick a common enemy, a simple thing we can all agree on and start from there, and how he belatedly discovered on the demonstration's website that it was what the February 4th demonstration was all about.
Patton from The Country of the Sacred Heart [es] begins by admitting he was wrong about his predictions that people would be polarized and people would start fighting to defend their perspective, unable to agree on such a simple matter.
Mis razones para participar de la marcha son una combinación de las que escribieron bluelephant , Luis Trejos, Víctor Solano y stultaviro para participar (y otro). Me gustaría que los que se opusieron a la misma leyeran los argumentos en esos 5 posts, así les de naúseas. Esto no es de blancos y negros: la consigna de la marcha era clara: NO mas FARC, no mas mentiras, no mas muertes, no mas secuestros. Excusas chimbas son las que sacaron los que se negaron a asistir alegando conspiraciones del gobierno, de la oposición y de los extraterrestres sobre los verdaderos mensajes u orígenes. Yo lo veo clarito en la página: son cuatro cositas básicas. El resto es gadejo.
My reasons to participate in the demonstration were a combination of those written by bluelephant , Luis Trejos, Víctor Solano and stultaviro (and another). I would like for all those who opposed the march to read the arguments on these 5 posts, even if it causes nausea. This isn't about whites and blacks: the meaning of the march was clear: NO more FARC, no more lies, no more deaths, no more kidnappings. Lame excuses are the ones pulled out by those who refused to join by claiming conspiracies by the government, the oposition and by the aliens regarding the real messages or origins. I see it quite clear on their site: four small basic things. Anything else is “gadejo”. [ganas de joder, or the need to make issues of non-issues]
DianaCats [es] reported about the metro public transportation system's collapse due to the large numbers of people who went to the march.
El Metro pasó lleno y entramos a presión; alguien dijo que parecía un tren de Tokio en invierno, porque había hasta gente empujando desde afuera para que pudieran cerrar las puertas; también nos enteramos de que en la estación Industriales fue tanta la cantidad de gente haciendo fila con tiquete que se les salió de las manos y tuvieron que dar paso libre a todos. Finalmente llegamos a la estación de Berrío, como sardinas enlatadas.
The metro was completely full when it arrived and we got in by pure pressure; someone said it seemed like a Tokyo train in winter, because we even had people pushing from the outside just so that the doors could close; we also found out that at Industriales station, the number of people standing in line with a ticket became so unmanageable that they had to just let everyone in for free. We finally reached Berrío station, like canned sardines.
Jorge Montoya wrote:
In the news i see a woman asked for her motivation to attend the march: “Have you been a direct victim of the FARC?”. And she responds: “Yes, because I am Colombian”.
That is solidarity. I remain with that phrase that as much has moved to me and that it calls to us to not being indifferent: In my family there are 3,200 kidnapped.
Photobloggers also did a thorough job. Raul Harper has pictures, Patton has others of Bogotá, Datalove from Bogotá as well, Apeláez took some which included a skinhead faction in the demonstration, Tomás Botero Vargas took pictures at the Caracas, Venezuela march, Cinealoido has pictures of the different props people took on the Medellín march, Mariacecita took pictures of the march in the city of Cali, and there are hundreds of pictures more, just on flickr.
There are also plenty of videos uploaded on YouTube of the anti FARC demonstrations all over the globe.
picture by Mariacecita, used under Creative Common´s License.