John Carlin has a big mission in Colombia: he wants to bring reconciliation to the country’s conflict, adding a new dimension to the peace talks that have been going on for over a year now in Havana, Cuba, a negotiations intended to end a half-century of conflict between FARC rebels and the Colombian government.
Carlin’s project, called Reconciliación Colombia, wants to get people from around the country talking about the silent progressive they have made in overcoming the conflict. In a sense it’s a way to cut through the blaring noise over the drama of conflict that continues under the hum of the talks, something that often soaks up the media’s attention.
From the project’s site…
Medios de comunicación y ciudadanos –a través de las redes sociales– decidieron sentar su posición frente a la iniciativa Reconciliación Colombia… una alianza de 35 organizaciones sociales, empresariado y prensa en un intento por resaltar procesos y experiencias que han avanzado en el camino hacia la reconciliación, a pesar de la adversidad.
News outlets and citizens – through social networks – decided to set out their position through the initiative Reconciliación Colombia… an alliance of 35 social, business and press organizations in an attempt to highlight processes and experiences that have advanced in the road toward reconciliation, despite all the adversity.
John Carlin, born to a Scottish father and a Spanish mother, developed chops early on for diplomacy when his father was stationed in Buenos Aires as a diplomat. He worked around Latin America as a reporter in the 1980s before turning his attention to South Africa’s struggle for reconciliation. In South Africa, as a journalist, Carlin studied Nelson Mandela’s tactics for reconciling a nation torn apart by apartheid.
The project Carlin is behind might sound like a big PR event to promote the peace talks – a government policy many on the right in Colombia oppose. But the man behind the project might be worth listening to for getting through a half century of fighting. After all, of this Mandela had to say to him:
“What you wrote and the way in which you carried out your task in this country was absolutely magnificent…it was absolutely inspiring. You have been very courageous, saying things which many journalists would never say.”
More about the project in Colombia media:
El proceso de paz, la lucha entre la reconciliación y la venganza: John Carlin