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William Ospina, 'Dónde Está La Franja Amarilla? (The Yellow Stripe)'

Norma, 1999. ISBN 958 04 3892 7

This brief book was initially written by its Colombian author in order to explain to a US American friend the roots of the complex situation of violence in Colombia.

However, it is actually addressed to the population living there, as if the author could not hold back a need to urge a people despised for centuries by their own plunderers (aristocracy of unscrupulous political leaders, immoral world market and ever increasing military expenditure - utterly useless) to recover their dignity.

He comments: “When [...] society is unable to undertake in time the reforms which the social order demands for its continuation, history solves the matter in its own ways - sometimes at a very high cost.”

Ospina poses the value and role civil society should and could have in the struggle against violence and in the construction of democracy, a true life for the inhabitants of the country. The yellow stripe - the third and non-aligned colour in the Colombian flag - is the chance to pursue this.

Other sectors of civil society whose voices are not included in this passionate reflection may still feel respect for the courage and constructiveness of Ospina's words.