YHP Author Talks War and Peace at the Colombian Consulate
After years of ravaging conflict, Colombians finally approach peace and reconciliation. War correspondent and New York TV reporter Adriana Aristizabal addressed an audience of mostly Colombians at the Colombian Consulate in New York City last night. She discussed her personal history with the war, what lies ahead, and what will be required of every Colombian in order to give peace a chance. She answered questions from engaged audience members, who were intent on discussing the future of their homeland, where previously sworn enemies must now live together in peace.
Adriana’s book Caught in the Storm of War is a fascinating insider’s account of a war reporter caught, on occasion, literally in the crossfire of Colombia’s decades-long struggle. As a working journalist, Adriana survived kidnapping and death threats from the FARC, the world’s oldest guerrilla group, as it battled government forces, during the height of the conflict that raged in Colombia between 1998 and 2004.
The author recalls the innocent victims of the turmoil and gives them their proper place in history. She also pays tribute to the 86 brave journalists who were killed in Colombia, a country with one of the highest murder rates for journalists in the world.
But last night, Adriana’s words focused primarily on resilience and reconciliation. Members of previously warring factions from the FARC, the paramilitaries and government forces, Adriana said, must now live side-by-side with citizens who were, and, in many instances, still are victims of the conflict. The new struggle will be to find ways to co-exist peacefully, with the resilience to forgive old hurts and move forward without looking back too much at a destructive past.
Consul General María Isabel Nieto echoed Adriana’s comments and expressed a heartfelt desire that the Colombian community in New York continue to support and nurture each other as family, as they finally looked forward to peace and increased prosperity in their native Colombia.
Author, journalist and activist Silvana Paternostro, Executive Director for FXB USA, joined the celebration and rallied support for her non-profit international organization, which is active in bringing relief to impoverished Colombians, and has over 25-years of experience in providing those living in extreme poverty with the tools and support they need to become self-sufficient. A portion of the profits from Caught in the Storm of War will go to FXB USA to support its global fight against poverty.