They are old, young, very young, girls, mothers, students,
artists, dancers, human rights defenders, with experience and without it,
tall, short, fat, thin, single, married, divorced, in love…
They are all those who make Barrancabermeja, and on their International Day
they meet to celebrate it and demand changes.
They start with the history, the origins, the reason for this day.
And understanding the past, the present takes form.
They stop, rest; take a breath, gather impulse.
They look ahead and, with impetus,
propose new templates for what is to come.
They demand and denounce.
And, organised, they decide to write
an extensive and profound popular edict.
Long ago Manuela Beltran had done it, in 1781,
as she refused to pay the taxes the Spanish Viceroyalty was raising.
With her gesture she sowed the comuneros’ revolution
but this Colombian flora disappeared.
Nobody ever heard of her again,
not even history remembered her.
And as they memorialise this Santanderean woman,
they dance, sing and act,
because to reclaim her without celebrating
would have short thrift on these river shores.
They denounce gender violence,
discrimination against women,
and unequal differences.
They demand justice,
respect, liberty and rights,
no more femicide,
by the men of Barranca.
Colombian women want real change.
They work, propose decide
ever active, ever at our service.
Why is there still so little effort to listen to them?
Silvia Arjona Martin
PD: This collective exercise, which brought together 150 women in Barrancabermeja (North Santander) at the initiative of the Grassroots Women’s Organisation (Organización Femenina Popular – OFP), which is accompanied by PBI, was repeated in eight municipalities on 8 March, and succeeded in “about 800 women in total” working together, analysing their needs as citizens, as workers, as victims and human rights defenders, but above all, as feminist women searching for genuine equality.