The novel interlaces real characters and gritty events with fictional ones to reveal Colombia’s dark side, the brutality and complexity of its many internal conflicts, and the chronic high levels of violence and human rights abuses which date back to the country's independence from Spain two centuries ago. The most recent bout of fratricidal fighting started in 1964 pitching peasant and Marxist insurgencies, principally the FARC and the ELN, against the armed forces and their paramilitary proxies sponsored by large landowners, cattle ranchers, drug cartels, and corrupt politicians. Cold War warriors from the US State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA fomented sabotage and violence against groups they considered communist only to aggravate the situation. All sides have been responsible for a drama that has left 250,000 dead, uprooted more than six million peasants (a number higher than the displaced from the ongoing war in Syria), usurped millions of hectares of rural land, littered the countryside with anti-personnel mines, and produced thousands of victims of torture, kidnappings, extortion and sexual violence. Despite a long-running dirty war and billions of dollars in US military assistance which went in part toward funding the War on Drugs, the Colombian state has been unable to achieve a decisive military victory over the guerrillas.
Marisa Díaz Torres, tired of her mother's racism, prejudices and obsession to emulate the elite, leaves her middle class home in Bucaramanga to attend university in Bogota. After an emotionless marriage which led her to question her sexuality, she sets out across the hidden and neglected Colombia which she, like most of Colombia's city dwellers, did not know existed. She discovers a land of beauty, kindness, and wisdom, and of violence, criminality and rampant corruption where powerful geopolitical forces are at play. She sees first hand the despair of displaced members of indigenous and Afro communities and meets victims of prostitution, sexual violence, abusive government officials, soldiers and guerrillas who were invisible to her in her previous life. A cynical school teacher long past retirement age, an Uruguayan...
Prominent Iranian political prisoner Narges Mohammadi was rushed to Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran on August 13, 2018. In a statement on August 13, the Defenders of Human Rights Center, where Mohammadi worked before she was arrested, said she has lost more than 16 pounds in recent weeks and “doctors found a growth in her stomach” but had not been given a chance to do further tests. ⠀
“Narges should be free but under the current circumstances, at the very least, she should be allowed to go home so that her illness can be controlled without any stress,” her husband Taghi Rahmani told CHRI. “They finally transferred her to the hospital after she suffered pain and discomfort for weeks, but we don’t know what’s going to happen."⠀
#whereisprageeth? Please join our photo action for the disappeared journalist Prageeth #Eknaligoda in #SriLanka and ask others to join - tinyurl.com/qxfxm6h. Please send an online letter (at bit.ly/2iMyh6I) on his behalf. Also, please sign #Amnesty's petition on enforced #disappearances in #SriLanka and ask others to sign (at bit.ly/2v4PwX2). Thanks a lot for your help with these actions.
"I feel bad for refugees but we can't fit all of them here in Europe." Did you ever hear someone say something along those lines? Well, the truth is that Europe, despite it's wealth, is hosting a minimal percentage of the world's refugees. It's not ideal for any country or continent to host refugees. But we need to do it for humanity. Repost from @amnestyfinland 🌍
Kumi Naidoo: We want to work with young people. We also want to work with sectors of society we haven’t worked with a lot, churches, trade unions... I dream of a 70 million movement. We do not want human rights seen as the preserve of a handful of activists. #KumiNaidoo#Amnesty#AmnestyAction
We are so excited to hear that Taner is finally free, after over a year of campaigning!
#Repost @amnesty (@get_repost)
This is the moment that we have all been waiting for. Taner Kilic is finally freed on bail and now with his family. Thank you to over a million of you who demanded his release.
Yesterday Taner Kiliç, the president of honor of Amnesty Turkey was released from prison, after 1 year of arbitrary detention, this is 🎉💪🏻great news 🎉👏🏻! A few days ago, we celebrated the International Youth Day, and after almost 8 years of working as a youth coordinator with Amnesty, I’m still amazed by the power and wiseness of today’s youth. Keep it up!
Saw this leaving #edbookfest last night, after my #Amnesty#ScottishPen reading about imprisoned poet Irina Ratushinskaya, who wrote Grey is the Colour of Hope. Her poem about the first beauty she saw in prison - a blue radiance on a tiny pane of glass, in which she ‘saw’ brigand forests, campfires and birds! ‘That upheaval of rainbow ice’. So beautiful and profoundly moving. #beautiful
Incarcéré depuis plus d'un an, le président d'Amnesty International en Turquie Taner Kiliç a recouvré la liberté (conditionnelle) mercredi.
"Ok, maintenant, nous pouvons commencer à faire la fête. Taner est vraiment libre", a lancé sur Twitter Andrew Gardner, un chercheur spécialiste de la Turquie à Amnesty, basé à Istanbul. Il a publié à l'appui une photo de Taner Kiliç en compagnie de sa famille.
Taner Kilic avait été incarcéré en juin 2017. Il était détenu à Izmir, dans l'ouest du pays. Andrew Gardner avait annoncé un peu auparavant la libération conditionnelle du président d'Amnesty, tout en se montrant prudent. Un tribunal avait en effet déjà ordonné fin janvier la libération de Taner Kiliç, avant qu'une autre cour n'annule cette décision. Taner Kiliç était resté derrière les barreaux après cet imbroglio judiciaire. Cet avocat de formation est accusé par les autorités turques d'appartenir au mouvement du prédicateur Fethullah Gülen, désigné par Ankara comme le cerveau du putsch manqué de l'été 2016, ce qu'il nie fermement.
Crédits photo : JOHN MACDOUGALL - AFP
The cocaine trade followed the marijuana trade and brought more wealth and consequently more violence and corruption. The culture of ostentation, excessive pleasures and instant gratification spread like a virulent disease across the country. Cohabitation with the narcos became the norm. People from all walks of life were happy picking up the crumbs and dreamt of becoming rich and attaining status much like in feudal Sicily where the poor obtained privileges and security thanks to the Mafia. Unlike the Sicilian Mafia which relied entirely on family connections, the Colombian mafia was open to everyone, the poor as well as members of illustrious families. Even the grandson of a former president got mixed up in the trade.
The narcos’ children emulated their fathers and acted as if they owned the country. They wore expensive jewellery, clothes and perfumes and humiliated, mistreated and trampled over anyone who had less money than them. They bought university degrees barely opening a book, and travelled to New York and Paris with pretty models, and went to private clubs to parade their girlfriends or boyfriends and engaged in wild parties and competed to see who among them consumed the most cocaine. They laughed like heartless hyenas as they drove around recklessly in powerful cars with tinted windows and without regard for others on the road. They knew that they could get away with any crime including murder for daddy would obtain the services of one of the many gangster lawyers trained in one of the law faculties, the highest number in Latin America, which produced more than 15,000 new lawyers every year each one believing to be a god and their clients untouchable, and well versed in the logistics of blackmail and threats to enforce a pact of silence with the wherewithal to disappear witnesses and evidence including video footages from CCTVs, who used the law and the courts to snare justice with succulent bribes which made judges and prosecutors blind and deaf.