National Prize of Peace 2007

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Picture by Jorge Eliécer Quintero / EL TIEMPO

Teacher Beatriz Loaiza (left) and sister Reina Restrepo with children of the Group of Child Readers of San Vicente del Caguán and Puerto Leguízamo.

Only a people that has known the war, understands the meaning of the peace and look for it
Bogotá — ColPas. If you are looking the meaning of peace, look for it over there where people has known the atrocities of war. Those who repeat the verses of Leon Gieco, “I only ask from God that the war would not be for me indifferent, because it is a big monster and steps heavy on the poor innocence of the people.” It is very easy to talk about peace and write beautiful poems about it from Iceland. The prominent poet of the race, Jorge Robledo Ortiz, used to say that when in Colombia we could fish on the rivers during the night with not fears, so then peace would be complete in our country.

Only the life counts” is the slogan of the program of the United Nations for Development, El Colombiano and El Tiempo newspapers, Semana Magazine, Caracol Broadcasting and the Colombian branch of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Then we have characters to admire, those able to do things that common people would not do even for all the money of this world. At the end love stands as a strong and mysterious force.

Ana Teresa Bernal said to sister Reina Restrepo and teacher Beatriz Loaiza while she explained to them the meaning of the prize, according with El Tiempo report: “Peace is not built only by the high levels or only by the high governments, it is also coming from local and regional experiences that build peace from the grounds.”

A religious woman, a sister as we use to say – in the middle of San Vicente del Caguán and Puerto Leguízamo – already on the border with Peru – and a teacher working in the education of those who can be considered in a marginal situation. It is the Group of Child and Young Readers with the goal to bring them far from the influence of war. In total, 10,000 children: a ‘small’ number that alone could make this sister to be considered the “Mother Teresa of Calcutta” of Colombia, an excellent candidate to get the Nobel Prize and many other recognitions and more support for those regions under the law of fire.

And who has walked 1,400 kilometers for the peace? A man – better we say a teacher – and his daughter in a Gandhian campaign for the release of his son and her brother ten years on the hands of the Farc guerrillas. He is teacher Moncayo and his daughter. They started to walk from Sandona (Nariño State), a town far 50 kms from Pasto and they continue walking.

Gosinanda, that who was called the “Gandhi of Cambodia” – he died last March 2007 in New York -, used to say that the peace was to be done step by step, a step once, all together and with not stop. That was said by that smiling and simple monk who let the silence of his Monastery in Thailand to walk for the peace in his destroyed Cambodia. Teacher Moncayo could be the “Gosinanda” of Colombia as he has walked longer than what the Buddhist monk did in Cambodia and making Gosinanda a strong candidate for the Nobel Prize of Peace.

Other recognitions are the homage to the 11 politics killed during their kidnap by the guerrillas, a recognition to Darío Villamizar, the chief of the program for the attention of former combat persons and other recognition to the Barco Foundation.

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