Hilda Liria Domicó Bailarín – Colombia

Linked with the Colombian Indian Organizations ONIC.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “The people of our ethnic groups are only happy in the forest, where we have our roots. The forest keeps our traditions alive. We want to return. We cannot live in villages or urban places”.

She says also: “It was very sad to see my people suffering from hunger, when in the forest we had everything”.

“Do you envy something of the beauty of the western woman?” they asked her on a television program. “No”, she responded safely: “We are beautiful as we are”.

Hilda Liria Domicó Bailarín - Colombia rogné redim 80p.jpg

Hilda Liria Domicó Bailarín – Colombia

She works for Multiethnic Organization of Antioquia.

Hilda Domicó (30), is a displaced Colombian. She was born into the Embera-Katio ethnic group.

Her father, her brother and her uncle, all of them community leaders, were massacred by the guerrillas in the 1990s. She works for the recovery of her ethnic group’s identity and for other peasant, afro-descendent and indigenous communities. She has suffered death threats. She has not yet been able to return to her territory, the forest.“Only in the jungle is the native happy.

Our past is there. The jungle keeps our traditions alive. We want to return to our roots. We cannot live in towns or urban hamlets. That is not the life for us”. It is the Colombian woman Hilda Domicó, who speaks from the big city. Her face is painted with black lines and her dress is yellow, red and pink, like the dresses of all the women of her race.

Beautiful are the natives of the ethnic group Embera-katío located in Urabá, a district in Antioquia, where Hilda was born 30 years ago. There she lived in houses very different from the ones in the cities, round houses, with a long-legged table always arranged, she remembers. And she also remembers the first time when she was scared, when she was left alone for the first time with her younger sister.

At six years old she was sent far away from the high house to study with other children, white children. She could not understand anything because she did not speak any Spanish. “It is very difficult to meet another world”, she says. Today she is a professor of her mother tongue, Embera-katio, at the University of Antioquia

That other world was the world of the white people and of the Spanish language. But it was not yet the bloody world it became soon aftewards due to the armed internal conflict in Colombia. In this war, “the worse part is experienced by the native population” expelled from their earth; they have to flee and cannot return.

For that reason, she has been fighting for years for her community. That is the inheritance left to her by her father, an indigenous leader who was assassinated in 1997 by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas, the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces. Her brother, uncle and other community leaders were also murdered. It was a year of massacres and displacements. Hilda was threatened with death and she had to move; she had to leave her jungle.

She remembers the banishment of the survivors who left the jungle and went to villages in the urban area to seek refuge. The young and the elderly died: they were the weakest, and they were unprotected. But, in spite of the misfortune, they organized themselves. Now, Hilda is the president of the Multi-ethnic Organization of Antioquia. It works for the rescue of their culture and supports indigenous and women of African heritage with literacy campaigns.

She has also joined a project called “Puppets against bullets”, with which she travels to villages where peasant farmers, indigenous and black people have suffered persecution and displacement.

The puppets are created by the displaced people. They use leaves, watermelons, seeds and palms to make the puppets.

It is a type of therapy for them. The puppets symbolize their fight for life; they represent the barbarisms that they had suffered. Finally they can speak about it; the circle of the duel can be closed. Some of them have a murdered relative that they could not bury because they had to flee for their own life. With the puppets that Hilda takes to them, they can dissipate the pain. The children and the adults can talk about it; they can speak the words strongly so that the fear goes away.

The guerrilla and the military forces have occupied the jungle and the indigenous lands have been expropriated. The people have been removed by force, and have to live a nomadic and dangerous life between the two sides in the war.

“If the guerrillas thinks that you support the military they kill you, if the military think that you belong to the guerrillas, they will also kill you”. And in this way the indigenous people are being exterminated. In Colombia there are 86 indigenous territories, where only eight ethnic groups survive.

Embera-katío, Hilda’s own ethnic group is slowly recovering its identity through their language. They try to maintain their traditions and keep them alive even though they have been brutally cut off from their roots and have to suffer the violence of war and the noise of the bullets. The jungle is just a memory, something that fills them with nostalgia. If they take the risk of returning, they may have to face death. For that reason Hilda fights on: for dialogue and understanding, and for respect for their rights: “The indigenous people are always fighting”, she says with conviction, “because their rights are violated every day, every single day”. (Read all on 1000peacewomen).

The “Association of 1000 Women for the Nobel Prize 2005″ is a campaign created to draw attention to the millions of women worldwide who daily work for peace and justice and in defense of women’s rights. The collective nomination includes women from over 150 countries and the one-thousandth spot has been left nameless in order to symbolize the women who could not be nominated but continue to fight for peace and equality, as well as those who suffer from war and poverty. The Nobel Peace Prize brings with it an award of more than 1 million US dollars. This money would be used to run an international foundation in which each of the nominated women act as partners. The Association is also busy assembling the biographies of all those nominated in hopes of publishing a book as well as producing a photo exhibit illustrating the work of these women. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 162 women have been nominated. The 12 Colombian nominees include trade union leaders, a former prostitute, internally displaced women, an academic, journalists and Afro-Colombians and Indigenous leaders. Gloria Cuartas, the former mayor of Apartadó and a current advisor to the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, is acting as the project’s facilitator in Colombia. She said to the Colprensa agency, “There are still difficulties in recognizing women’s contribution to peace in Colombia.” (Read more on Colombia Peace Presence Update, October 2005).

Antioquia was one of the states in the original “United States of Colombia”, and is now a department in the northwest of the Republic of Colombia. (Read the rest on wikipedia).

Sorry, I can not get other information about Hilda Liria Domicó Bailarín, neither in english, nor in spanish, nor in any other language.

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