There are plenty of reasons for hope during this Easter season. Remembering the death and resurrection of Christ brings renewed joy and hope of new life. While it can sometimes be difficult to find reasons for hope in political contexts, we are beginning to see signs of hope in Colombia as the government of Colombia and the largest rebel group have entered into peace negotiations.
Colombia has been caught in the midst of an internal armed conflict that has lasted for more than four decades. Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives, countless others have been disappeared, and more than 5 million have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
Now the government and Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, are in peace negotiations with the end goal of finally bringing the decades-long conflict to an end. Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) partners in Colombia have expressed a sense of “cautious optimism” about the dialogue.
The issues at the heart of the conflict are vast and deeply rooted in fundamental beliefs about wealth, poverty, and economic structures. Negotiating these issues is no easy task. Moreover, questions remain as to how the rights and dignity of the victims of violence will be protected. MCC partners in Colombia continue to call for a process that includes the voices of Colombian civil society groups.
This spring the MCC Washington Office is inviting congregations to participate in the annual Days of Prayer and Action (http://washington.mcc.org/days) for Colombia. The theme for this year’s event — Now is the Time for Peace with Justice in Colombia — reflects the urgent need for peace in Colombia. Churches in the U.S. can stand in solidarity with Colombian brothers and sisters and encourage the U.S. government to play a positive role in the peace process.
Let us continue to live in the hope, joy, and salvation of Christ’s resurrection this spring by supporting holistic and just peace in Colombia. Encourage your congregation to participate in the Days of Prayer and Action. Resources for worship and advocacy are available for participating congregations.