(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator
Today, June 27, 2021, our Peace Community of San José de Apartadó revived the memory of EDUAR LANCHERO, nine years after his death. As is our custom, at 2:00 a.m., the funeral marches of the great musical classics began to sound at powerful volume, and the Community gathered at his grave for the celebratory Eucharist. His mother and his brothers came from Bogotá with stirring messages, and with the reading of the Mass, his spirit as a prophet and servitor was highlighted.
Eduar accompanied our Peace Community from its beginnings. When the Colombian Army and the paramilitaries bombarded nearly all of the towns (veredas) in San José, in response to our public declaration that we would not participate in the war, and our refusal to collaborate with any armed organization, provoking a gigantic exodus toward the small urban center, Eduar offered to accompany the displaced. He ran an enormous risk to his life, because the houses were immediately surrounded by soldiers and paramilitaries, and a large number of people were killed. Eduar was immediately reported as the inspiration of a resistance that was trying to prevent the massive plunder of land, which was the real objective of the military/paramilitary bloc. During his 15 years of accompaniment he had to face 25 attempts on his life. He escaped, thanks to the protection by the people in the Community who detected the danger in time. The slanders and the frame-ups contrived by the Army’s 17th Brigade had no respite, and the degree of their filth was unparalleled.
Eduar’s health became progressively worse, and finally a very aggressive cancer brought him to his grave on June 27, 2012. His remains rest in the park that is a monument to the victims from our Community. His memory constitutes a permanent source of energy, remembering the ideals that led to the birth of our way of life. Eduar came into our lives spurred by an interior force that he himself often defined as a burning desire to “change pain into hope.”And he really accomplished that. His great wisdom, which he knew how to share with all of our leaders, led him to discover the malicious snares by which a criminal system was trying to coopt its victims. That’s how he was able to knit together the resistance that we are still determined to maintain.
When we remember with gratitude the gift of his life and of his presence among us, we have also recalled the body of principles that he prepared and that gave identity to our Peace Community. He put them together in a masterly compendium that, in this anniversary, we will hear once again as it continues to serve as our guide.
We won’t repeat the customary formula “rest in peace”, when that “peace” is understood as passivity and inaction. His grave is more like an energizing place for permanent questioning of all of all attempts at passive conformity to the status quo of death that surrounds us. We repeat, on the contrary, and with conviction: EDUAR, YOU ARE MORE ALIVE THAN EVER IN OUR PEACE COMMUNITY.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
June 27, 2021