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The Files of Silence

  • Published

    31 October 2006
  • Written by


“We have been working with a researcher tasked with recording the silent history (‘files of silence’) of female Colombian ex-combatants.

The transition of women bearing arms back into civilian life is built on silence. The war is seen as an exclusively masculine arena, meaning that the role/history of women has been counted neither in figures nor words. Female ex-combatants have been forgotten and so researcher Luz Maria London, from the University of Antioquia, is writing their voices into the history of the country.

There were approximately 40 women at the meeting in the departmental library. We watched a documentary made by the research group and we were all overwhelmed by a deadening silence as we watched unedited images on the screen and heard voices that had never before been heard discovering themselves. Hundreds of questions emerged from this reality.

For the women’s movement the research project and video shown by Luz Maria Londoño posed several challenges:

  • What should be done with women fighters, with those who have been demobilised from the paramilitary groups?
  • How should we ask reparation from them?
  • How do we respond to their needs?
  • From which perspective can we involve them as subjects of peace?
  • What lessons have been learned?
  • How can we avoid making the same mistakes as were made during the demobilisation processes in Central America?

In sum, there are so many questions for those of us at the School. Thank you once again for supporting our work. I will be in touch with more news soon.

Colectivo de Mujeres Pazificas”


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