|View of Bogota City from hill top|
|Streets in Bogota|
|Street Art in Bogota City|
The Hidden Truth of Bogota City
What is the first thing you notice when you glance at the pictures above? is it the art, the empty road, the buildings? Well, we can all see that! but most importantly what do you see?. The city of Bogota is very beautiful, embellished with a blend of colonial and modern architecture, the city boasts with street art, colossal museums and friendly businessmen and women who make the city what it is. Like any other ordinary city we know, Bogota is a melting pot of people from around the world and locals from diverse cultures. However, the growth and influx of diversity into the city should not be taken as any form of ordinary urbanization. The country has faced a long protracted conflict between rebel groups and paramilitaries that have nearly displaced a majority of communities in the rural area.
The city doesn't seem to have been impacted by the conflict, however, there is a heavy presence of the military. The heart of the conflict was mainly experienced in the rural areas, where the guerilla groups had much control. As a result, a majority Colombians left their homes and came into the city. The conflict not only tore families apart, but culture was lost. In a Graffiti tour that we attended, paintings were depicted on the wall to illustrate how the conflict had affected the indigenous group's culture
|Street art depicting effects of the conflict|
Hopeful For a Peaceful Future?
After decades of conflict, it would be assumed that the Negotiated peace deal was going to borne fruit and bring Colombia out of the conflict. However, the peace agreement only revealed what the common Colombian people felt. Despite the failed Plebiscite the Government went ahead and revised the Peace deal; one month later it was approved by Congress. For many Peace-Builder Practitioners and the Colombian government, the failed plebiscite was a shock to them. Clearly, the polls were wrong and the Government had underestimated the Colombian population's stance.
While interacting with locals in Bogotá, I wanted to find out why this comprehensive peace agreement that had been applauded by the whole world had failed. In my inquiry, I realized that awareness of the peace agreement was low. A lot of the locals had either not read the peace agreement or had misinformed. Unsurprisingly this phenomenon was not new to me at all; after all, the majority of African leaders especially in my home country Kenya, have perpetually persuaded locals into voting for them into office through propaganda.
During one of our stays in Bogota, we were fortunate to meet a senator who supported Uribe, the former president of Colombia. Her perspective on the peace agreement was mind boggling. All she ranted about was how the current leader President Juan Santos was a communist. When challenged by one of our fellow students of what she would change in the Peace agreement; she vehemently said that she would overturn everything. At the end of the session I was very much convinced that if the political leaders of Colombia continued on this trend, the hope for a peaceful Colombia may be snuffed out. Political polarization in the near future will have an opinion towards the democracy of the country, state institutions, and the peace agreement. As Colombia approaches their elections in 2018, it is my hope that they will not result in violence.