Attitude of Silence, an efficient practice amidst the conflict
In extreme situations there is a human action structure where people remain in place amid the war. This is supported by an attitude of silence and the emergence of an emotional community.Bogotá D. C., 04 de febrero de 2015 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
An attitude of silence is a whispered form to face violence conditions. Photos: Andrés Cancimance López
The project is an ethnographical research assignment performed with settlers of the municipality of Puerto Guzmán.
Andrés Cancimance López, social worker, UNal PhD in Anthropology and author of the research project entitled, “Taking root amidst the armed conflict, a settler’s daily resistance in the Province of Putumayo”, ethnographically questioned and analyzed the practices of a group of settlers in the municipality of Puerto Guzmán (Province of Putumayo) to endure the conflict.
Their life existence maintained amid violent deaths is the core of his doctoral thesis. The practices and actions identified among the community were divided into two categories: an attitude of silence and the advent of an emotional community.
According to Cancimance, an attitude of silence is a whispered form of facing violence conditions. He also says this hypothesis takes him away from the idea that silence is a traumatic, passive and defeated condition in face of the conflict.
“Rural folk draw on silence as a mechanism to stay in their territory. It is the logic that has allowed rural communities in Colombia to sustain their livelihood and remain in territories in conflict”, said the researcher, who was born and raised in the Valley of Guamuez (Putumayo), where he lived the violence of the area up close and personal.
This town located on the left margin of the Caquetá River was under guerilla control for 20 years. However in 2002, the dwellers rooted out the paramilitaries of the Putumayo Southern Block, one of the groups that operated in the region.
The proximity between life and death made this social worker question the forms of resistance of communities amid the conflict; therefore his research project was based on three basic queries:
How do people maintain alive amid a war they are not part of as combatants? How do people survive violence? And how communities become ingrained in a place where their lives can come to an end at any moment?
Cancimance says that being good at coexisting and being neutral are practices derived from silence. Regarding the former, being a respectful, elegant and solidary peasant among the community is a manner to keep far from a violent death, as it produces certain respect from the logic of the armed conflict. The latter refers to assuming neutrality as a civil community without becoming involved with any group.
“Building social and emotional bonds allowed the community to cooperate and arm themselves to face paramilitaries back in 2002,” said Cancimance.
This all led to bring about the idea that taking root is an important factor for rural folk to remain in their territory. This concept consists of being proud of developing their lives amidst the horror and violence, remaining in their location and maintaining a cultural identity.
“It not about a big demonstration or an open rebellion, it’s simply taking the decision to remain in the territory despite being amid a war,” said Cancimance.(Por: Fin/VMH/DMH/AC