Colombia: Easier to deny

The sensation is quite easy to perceive. A quick trip through the tumultuous streets of Lima, allows tourists to absorb and soak up the essential elements of a culture rich in traditions, proud to be the guardian of one of the greatest indigenous empires in world history, but open to an overwhelmingly cosmopolitan reality.

Still, trapped into this double reality, between Peru of yesterday and today, the country has managed to reserve a space for its most precious asset: Its peasants and the folklore that accompanies them.

Like all Andean countries in the region, including Peru, the rural origins of today's urban generations are projected internationally. Its influence is so definite in the daily life of the country that it is enough to turn on the radio to find stations dedicated exclusively to the hypnotic synchronous rhythm of the zampoña and the charango or to refer to some publicity initiatives decorated with characters wrapped in multicolored headdresses of predominant fuchsia who do justice to the grandparents of many city people.

Unfortunately, in Colombia this appreciation of what we owe to the field does not operate in the same way. Without a majestic distant past full of legends of such magnitude as the Peruvian, since the pre-Columbian memories remained stuck between the Gold Museum and the mythical Dorado, the epicenter of our roots should include the nostalgic memories of the rural migrations that forged the families of today.

But none of this is appreciated. The peasant figure is still seen as a second-class Colombian, as a slip in the natural evolution of our society that must be overcome to make way for modernity. The espadrilles and the “fique” hats have gained a place in the collective imagination as symbolic shackles of backwardness, ignorance and coarseness. We are constantly in the desperate search for sophistication to burrow any rural vision in our ways, as if it was something bad, unworthy to be ported and proudly shown, a disease that makes us less civilized.

Many people talk about recognizing our history in the violence reality the country has lived, but what about our roots? Our reality is a mix of our people, our traditions, our success and then also our failures. Our history is not only about violence and guerrillas but we keeps rejecting our culture in a complete and sincere way.

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