Colombia: In Memoriam of Luis Carlos Galan

When Jose Saramago wrote that a benevolent Tsunami swept Barack Obama into the White House allowing him to become the first black president of the United States, the Portuguese author defined the wave of change that brushed the entire country from west to east. During the Bush-Cheney era, thick and obscure clouds had dimmed the soul of America. Now a new leader promised to disperse the darkness and restore a blue sky. This time this benevolent hurricane was not stopped by violence. Too often history has recorded the savage and abrupt end of hope for renewal embodied by an enlightened leader. This is what the country of Colombia honors today; the twentieth anniversary of the assassination of Luis Carlos Galan, killed by a still unpunished hand while he was running for president.

Before a country perilously engulfed in corruption and narco trafficking, Galán, like a prophet screaming out the truth in the desert, not only alerted his fellow citizens about a public sphere increasingly eroded by cocaine but proposed also as a remedy the renewal of the political culture. Politics not as a means to consolidate and reinforce the privileges of the few, but as a way to expand rights and opportunities for all. Politics not to exclude the majority, but to include the disenfranchised. Democracy, an inclusive and deep democracy, was his revolutionary idea.
Revolutionary? What did men like Galán, Gandhi, Luther King want? Actually nothing really extraordinary. A normal society is all what they envisioned, dreamed and gave the life for. Normal is what is good for an entire society. Normal is to have access to education, to wake up in the morning and go to work, to go to a shrine and worship God, to get sick and seeing a doctor, and to feel that one belongs to the society in which one lives. To envision such a society has become extraordinary and so have men who defended with intransigency the right for all to normality.

Galán affirmed that men pass away but ideas keep on living. The hope for Colombia, a country still scourged by inequalities and violence, is that Galán's sacrifice is the seed that will rise a wave eventually turning into a benevolent Tsunami sweeping away politics as a continuation of war and restore peace.