No Mas!

February 9th, 2003

No Mas.

 

It all began early(ish) Saturday morning, when my twin called to ask if I had spoken with Dad lately. I hadn't since Friday morning, when we chatted for a bit on MSN Messenger. I asked her why she was concerned. She told me.

 

No Mas demonstration

 

My father lives and works in Bogota, Colombia. He's been there for several years now. I can't say that's been easy for me to bear, with the reports of paramilitary groups shooting mortars into the city, kidnappings, car bombs, etc. I was about 99% sure that he was ok, but still, I hadn't spoken with him. I knew he lived in that part of the city, and I figured it was likely that he had been to that place once or twice before. I paged his cellphone with a little message asking if he was ok, but heard nothing back.

 

People singing and marching in the street, protesting terrorism

 

This morning, I heard from him, just when I was starting to wonder, and he assured me that he was ok, and had been about 8km away from El Nogal Club when the bomb had detonated, although Dad said he has been at Club Nogal many times for various events, and indeed his company was planning an event there that was supposed to happen in about 6 weeks. I guess not now.

 

 

Sunday in Bogota is the time of the cyclovia. The cyclovia is when the city closes certain main arteries for bicyclists, walkers, rollerbladers, etc. from 6:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon every Sunday and some holidays. Today, the cyclovia became the focus of a large march and demonstration against terrorism. People sang and carried banners with the slogan "No Mas" (No war/No more terrorism). The march went from the city centre to Club Nogal, about 7km. Dad's office window looks out over the main avenue where the march took place, so he took some pictures which I am including here.

 

 

There are several conflicting reports out at present. At the time of the event, it was declared that the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) were responsible. Links to the IRA were declared as well. An IRA operative was recently tried in Bogota, on suspicion that the IRA was teaching the FARC their methods. Certainly the modus operandi of this bombing is similar to those that have occurred at the hands of the IRA. Another source said that it wasn't a bomb, it was a gas-powered boiler that exploded. Wishful thinking in some cases, I think. It still would be a tragedy, but one without malicious intent.

I am getting tired of all this terror. More about the march today.

 

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