Women in Colombian Social Protest
+January 19, 2020
Who would believe it
A beast grows inside,
Out of the sweetest smile
The claws do not stretch
In very soft pink hands
A beast grows inside
And this voice is just a groan
If I could talk
I would say nice to meet you
Or things like that
Maria Mercedes Carranza
The future of many Colombians seem predetermined at birth. The farther they live from big cities, the harder their life will be. Descendants of a bloody colonization process that doesn’t seem to have ended, Colombians are born destined to fight for survival amid the violence and poverty created by an eternally bad government.
In recent years, the state has consolidated into something that looks more like an organized crime network than a public administration, and the always elusive peace process was a very small illusion that finally disappeared. A slightly safe country is so difficult to imagine that people had begun to lose hope until, in an unprecedented citizen movement, Colombians took to the streets to protest together in a national strike that began on November 21 of last year and still has not ended. A sound of pans echoes centuries of injustice.
A feeling women know well.
Female bodies have been a male territory forbidden for their own pleasure and condemned to be given. More often than men, women are forced to live lives they did not choose or are given in marriage almost as girls to procreate, feed, clean and serve men. And women fight for their rights as a minority even though they are more than half of the population. But recently, with so many stories being shared through social media, support has been found in sorority. Almost all over the world women have been talking, performing and fighting back because they finally got sick of men defining, limiting, abusing and harassing them. Thanks to that momentum, they have joined the social protests with the strength and the roar that births a revolution.
Carolina Navas is interested in portraying the resistance of Colombians, the beauty of their bodies, and their souls. Her work contributes to a historical moment of synergy between musicians, filmmakers, photographers, producers, screenwriters, sound engineers, editors, indigenous guards, poets and activists: a concert organized at light speed by people who didn’t know each other, but decided to gather on December 8th to sing songs for their country, harangues from the heart. "Self-management, empathy and the desire to shout in unison that we are not satisfied with this government and that this will change." Un Canto por Colombia.
Colombians seek desperately an image of what the country could be if the state protected its citizens, if the territories were safe, if life had value. Women seek freedom. Women of different colours, ages and races joined the protest with the strength they go through in life despite adversity, and inhabited Carolina for a second. Some might stay in her.
There is a bitter taste of injustice in social protests that can only be sweetened with solidarity and fraternity, and while history might be responsible for telling a manipulated version of the facts, photographs tell the reality that will probably not be told.
They are an image beyond imagination.