In traditional educational methods we have been told that in order to commit something to memory, it is necessary to repeat over and over again what we hope to learn. This rote learning method, encodes information that is then installed in the collective memory as immovable truths, which are rarely likely to be revalued, questioned and confronted by different historical perspectives and outlooks.
Constructing memory is not the same as memorising it, because memorising implies repetition.
Victims of state crimes have been constructing memory for years, precisely so as not to repeat history, so that no-one else has to re-experience the violence that Colombia has in the past. This is why building the historical truth from the memory of the victims and their narratives is, above all, a liberating exercise that places it (in memory) as a source of action and transformation: understanding the story as told from below, narrating the pain to process it, remembering the dreams and projects of people who are no longer there, recognising the strength and meaning of the actions of those who are still resisting.
The Memory Schools were created to generate processes and to strengthen organizations as part of a pedegogical exercise born out of the Peace Agreement. They focus on four fundamental aspects:
1) Truth and memory from the victims of state crimes
2) Agreements and dialogues in the construction of Peace
3) Effective and organised participation of victims
4) Protection and self-protection.
Starting from this recognition of memory as a strength of the organisational process of victims of state crimes and social organisations that make up the Colombian social movement, the lawyers collective José Alvear Restrepo (CAJAR) together with the Movement of Victims of State Crimes – MOVICE, the Standing Committee for Human Rights (CPDH) along with the accompaniment of PBI, have been developing regional formation processes that place memory as an articulating element of participatory actions, mobilising and generating new proposals for peace-building and guarantees of non-repetition, in order to confront the new scenarios that are faced in the era of post-peace agreement between the Colombian State and FARC-EP.
PBI, through this area of support for the Reconstruction of Social Tissue (ARTS) has accompanied this process, which seeks to contribute to the non-repetition of victimising events, since 2016: so that history never repeats itself.
**Video realized by Javier Bauluz and produced thanks to the support the International Cooperation Agency of Extremadura for the Development (AEXCID)