Jesús Abad Colorado: 'How many tears haven't been cried for our absent ones"

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The Colombian photojournalist held a lecture at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, where he spoke about human rights and armed conflict

Jesús Abad Colorado: 'How many tears haven't been cried for our absent ones"
Leer en español: Jesús Abad Colorado: ‘Cuánta falta nos hace llorar a nuestros ausentes’


Based on his photographic exhibition, The Witness, which tells more than 20 years that he, as a graphic journalist, has portrayed, the lecture deepens the stories of the photographs, that have one sole intention: "to create a testimony against oblivion", according to Colorado.

"I do not want to talk about religion and war, but I do not understand how in a country as Catholic and with so many religions as Colombia, we have not been able to understand that there is no need to kill," says Jesús Abad Colorado.

The conference, Sight of a deep life, was especially aimed at political scientists and journalists, although anyone could attend, because it seeks to unite the profession of journalism with the reality facing the country. The exhibition shows many culprits, the FARC, the ELN, and other guerrillas. But it also shows another culprit that it is difficult to attack from his profession: the State.

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The true intention of his work, since the 90s, is to give a face to the victims. That is why, through the photographs he shows, he tells the story of each one of the people. Not only when he met them, but also many of them he contacted years later. Some have died, others have become actors in the war, others, on the contrary, have managed to get out of risky situations in which they found themselves. But, the really important thing is that it gives a name, a face and a story to each of the people.

The lecture also turned into a kind of diatribe against Álvaro Uribe, whom he cataloged as 'the messiah of the 'paisas'. He also criticized the ruling class of the country, because, he says, being dirty with corruption they do more harm than those who take up arms: "criminals are not only those who take up arms, because those in power they also have their hands stained with blood. "

However, he also warned of the dangers of saying your opinions outloud, because in this country they criticize those who think differently. Or, as he said, "to the one who thinks, they hit him in the face ... for being a fag," making a reference to some conversations in which the former President Álvaro Uribe was heard saying this phrase. Similarly, he said that working with these populations and with that responsibility is not an easy task. He, for example, as shown in the exhibition 'The Witness', was kidnapped for a few days by the guerrillas.

Among laughter, applause and tears, the journalist's lecture ended with him trying to leave a lesson: photographs show the history of a town, of the peasants, and are like a DNA test. Also, the testimonies of those who inhabit the photos show the wounds of a war and ended by saying that the exhibition is, ultimately, that of 'The Witness', an absent witness.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

Translated from "Jesús Abad Colorado: ‘Cuánta falta nos hace llorar a nuestros ausentes’