Peace is named after a Woman

Ann-Christine Woehrl, Germany

“We do not want to be seen as terrorists anymore”. One of the deepest desires expressed by the women of the FARC. Fifty three years of armed conflict ended when in November 2016 peace was signed between the Colombian government and the Marxist FARC guerrilla. More than 7,000 Rebels handed over their weapons to the United Nations. About forty percent of the former FARC rebels are women. They play a crucial role in the peace process. Harvard studies proved that peace in crisis-ridden countries is less related to prosperity and democratic conditions than to society‘s attitude towards women. Hence it highly depends on them how successful the FARC integration process will be in the end.

This long-term project (2017-2019) named after a song of the famous Colombian singer, la Grande Negra is about six women ex-FARC rebels, who are fighting today for peace, for recognition and acceptance in Colombian society. It is a project about de-stigmatization and forgiveness, crucial for a society in order to start a new chapter and to cohabitate as former enemies in society. In numerous interviews Camila, Juliana Milena, Nasly, Sandra and Viviana shared their deeply moving life stories. Extreme poverty, hopelessness and the search for ideals, drove these women into the arms of the FARC.

I portrayed and documented those six women from July 2017 until May 2019. My intention was to document the beginning and evolution of the peace- and reconciliation process through the lives of these women in Colombia. I wanted share their personal wishes and hopes and paths they all undertook since the end of the war. The former fighters, especially the women, face immense challenges to reintegrate to civilian life. These women represent the thousands of rebels taking responsibility for their past, asking for forgiveness, and trying to begin a new life.

This peace process could be exemplary for other war torn countries.

Discover more: Shortlist 2020