Harvard Book Store; WGBH Forum Network; June Carolyn Erlick: Living Colombias Invisible War
It's hi everyone welcome. I'm Lillian on behalf of Harvard bookstore I'd like to welcome you to this evening's event with June Carolyn Erlik. She joins us tonight to discuss her book a ginga and Bogota. I want to take a few moments to tell you about smoke coming events tomorrow night we have NPR's Iraq war correspondent Deborah Amos on April 15th we have author of Life of Pi Martell of the First Parish Church also an evening of Rock Roll and books with author Steve Allman at the Brattle Theater April 16th. You can find information about these and other events on our counters at the information desk but I recommend signing up for a weekly e-mail newsletter at Harvard dot com. For all the best Harvard Book Store News. After the talk we'll have a Q&A with Mr. Ehrlich followed by a book signing at this table. You'll find copies of agreeing on Bogota at the registers up front and you have my personal thanks for buying your books from Harvard bookstore. Pending talks like this one you support a landmark innovative bookstore and allow us to keep posting great events for our community. So tonight I'm pleased to welcome June Ehrlich. She is with us tonight to speak on her book a gringo in
Bogota living Columbia's Invisible War. For most Americans Colombia is a country filled with drugs corruption and kidnappings a highly publicized rescue missions and popular culture references only add fuel to this fire. There is of course much more to this country and its many towns and cities in a gringo in Bogota. Ms Erlich explores the city with a journalist to get personal approach. She witnessed his many transformations during her time in Bogota and in the book's forward Herbert Brown Braun writes earlier chronicles the change I have not lived from that hierarchical exclusive to say in full and even rude political culture of my youth to a softer more inclusive more egalitarian civility of today. She wants to stay. She wants others her readers to know why she writes. June Carolyn Ehrlich first live in Bogota from 1975 to 1904 and then again in 2005 to 2006 a veteran journalist and foreign correspondent. EHRLICH now teaches feature writing at Harvard Extension and summer schools and is the editor in
chief of the Harvard Review of Latin American Latin America at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Her previous works include disappeared a journalist silenced their muffler quatre dipping back at her story and now you please join me in welcoming June Ehrlich. Can I and so can you all hear me. I am so. I see so many people tonight. Last night I had a nightmare and I guess people before they talk often have nightmares. But my nightmare was first of all that nobody would show up. And second of all I forgot to bring my book. Which I guess wouldn't have mattered but in nightmares they do. So I'm going to begin by reading you just a little bit.
Yeah. From this book because I think that I'm a person of writing more than I am of talking. And that this is unlike in academic writing this is very much written with my voice which I think you will if you get rid of east you will recognize that voice. I have a gringa accent. I called the dentist a friend of a friend. She asked me if I am familiar with Bogota and where the neighborhood Galatea is. Questo I snap at her. Of course I know where it is. I thought you didn't know Bogota because of your accent she climb Lee replies. I shopped for handicrafts before I start to bargain. I establish my turf.
Is that the price. With or without the accent. I sometimes get a chuckle sometimes. There is complete silence. Taxis are the worst. I think sometimes take the little buses that go up and down in Bogota or the transmittal Ne-Yo which is a super fast bus system to avoid what feels like an interrogation. Where are you from. Do you like it here. Are you married. Are your children Colombian. At least the last question acknowledges that I might have been here for a long time. Maybe my gringo accent isn't so bad after all. With friends or people that might become friends
like all of you here. I explain about the premium and say go into Rwanda. That is my first and second phases of living in Bogota. It's actually pretty straightforward. I came in 1975 and ended up staying for about 10 years almost 10 years working as a correspondent for different media such as the National Catholic Reporter The Miami Herald and time. I never really wanted to leave Colombia but time set me toward time Managua. A story that was just too important to turn down. And over the years I kept my ties with Columbia returning every year or two making new Colombian friends in Managua Germany New
York and eventually here at Harvard University. I decided to apply for a Fulbright to Columbia in part to consider whether I wanted to or try you're here to try to understand what had happened to this country in the city in the past 30 years to share in the war and peace. The dreams and nightmares of my friends in my friends children many of the people I consider my friends in Colombia were top lawyers. When I first lived here I was 28 when I arrived. I have never had children but it is in Colombia that I feel the flow of generations most strongly. But how can I tell this to a taxi driver.
He for inevitably is a he won't understand or won't care. Bogota has undergone tremendous cultural changes. Women marry and have children late or don't have the middle all. The word gay has worked its way into common vocabulary and a certain acceptance of unmarried women and men live independently from their families even if their families live here in Bogota. That was definitely not the case 30 years ago. But I'm not sure that all these cultural shifts have worked their way into the taxi driver set. And I feel enough of a strange fish with my relentless growing accent that has made me an inveterate
liar. Or if you want to be nice sm a fanciful story teller. Sometimes I am Colombian born but raised in the United States. More often I came here in my 20s following a boyfriend of course. I'm now a widow. And yeah. I've got two kids. They're both grown. One's a doctor and one's a petroleum engineer. I can usually change the sexes and careers of my kids. Now I do model Listen my friends kids who are in their 30s and I really did watch them grow up and have children of their own. Sometimes I think of my taxicab lice. They match my emotional truth more closely the fact that I arrived
here last August. Sometimes it feels as if I never left. The taxi driver spurred me to reminisce calling upon me to legitimate my Laing is if it were plagiarized doctoral thesis. I recall when only central It's a great used to be a great big mall it's no longer a great big mall because there are other greater bigger malls was built in the far north of the city. Bogota s first mall I remind the taxi drivers of one tat traffic was really hectic and nobody ever obeyed any rules. I complained that Bogota has become a mega city with noise and air pollution that sprawls North sells in West and creeps up the eastern mountains. I praise the transmittal Ne-Yo the
superfast bus network that has transformed the city in my year the way people now throw trash in trash bins rather than on the streets. Bogota residents wherever they are from now feel like citizens of the city. I feel that the taxi driver is political position on President or database democratic security and he called the human rights abuses of the turd by the administration and later the tragic complication of the Palace of Justice following a guerrilla takeover. I remember when the kind of now mostly in upscale and Bohemian colonial sector was all in killing that DOS squalid boarding houses. And I
remember how my downtown apartment on the way of a 19th century was right in front of a building called Could a call that was actually moved all the way over to the other side of the street. When they widen the avenue which was really even now it would be a technical feat. It wasn't a great neighborhood then but most people expected gentrification as eventually happened in the kind to Latvia. Now my former neighborhood is a sauna they told that NCA a red light district. The taxi driver is inevitably emphasize. I bet wrong. Sometimes the taxi drivers are from someplace else and I find myself telling them Bogota history. Sometimes they are in their 30s or 40s and
I am recalling their childhood years and sometimes they remember along with me. I try to get them to tell me their stories. They have been driving for years. They used to drive a bus but now they drive a cab. They are salesman engineers small factory owners fathers of children going to college in Bogota from elsewhere in the country. They have the sons of peasants and the fathers of students. They are victims of violence and weavers of dreams. I leave the taxis with my emotional truths and factual lies. I leave the taxi's with the history of the city and the history of this country. All feeling like one unbroken thread a shared
experience. I still have my giving accent. Thank you I told you I could write better than I can speak now prove it. Thank you again for coming tonight. I know that there were an awful lot of conflicting of them. Let me just make one here. If you were in Bogota tonight you would also have a lot of conflicts and not the kind of conflicts that the average reader of U.S. newspapers thinks about
these conflicts are that you could choose from Canada's circus Eloi or a Peter Brook production from Switzerland or a play from Serbia called the love of Pedro play from Slovenia called Radio and Juliet. Columbia is the witness and these plays would be all over the city in very different venues at the University at the elegant cologne theater at the sports palace. But if you couldn't afford to pay for a theater ticket you would also have the choice of watching a circus performance in the national park or a production of Exodus in the only Centro
shopping mall. This is because theatre festival which happens every two years but you don't have to wait for theatre festival for culture. It's just part of the daily panorama of cultural and civic activity including libraries beautifully designed libraries in poor neighborhoods libraries on wheels a Sunday bicycle path that takes truck cars off the street and a lot of people complain bitterly about because they don't like cyclists taking up their road space. But we from Cambridge could get some good ideas. So is this all Nero fiddling while Rome burns. I don't think so. As a matter of fact I know it's not the world City Study Group which
is based in England ranks Bogut in terms of economic political and cultural level is equal to that of San Francisco and Berlin and ahead of Boston in Miami. You know when I say when I first came to Bogota there were a lot of nice little cultural things going on I mean they were you know there were theater groups it's always been a very literate society among those people who can read and write. But now that kind of culture that kind of civility really permeates the society. This didn't happen overnight. It's really the tale of two mayors two very different mayors both of whom have been here at Harvard
and in a small close who's very much of a. Pedagogical intellect which who before he saved the city was better known for mooning himself in public while he was the rector of the National University. And Enrique Pena Lohse who is a very much nuts and bolts infrastructure guy who would never be caught dead mourning himself anyplace. And they alternated terms twice. And what was wonderful about that is you had Mochas come in and he did things like mines in the street and all the slit of general education. And giving people kind of these fake traffic tickets if they had infractions like carrying their garbage on the
street or handing them roses if they did something right. And then he also was not corrupt which in Latin America for a mayor is unfortunately fairly uncommon. And so paying a low so when he came in actually had money to spend. So this not some bolts kind of guy said OK what do we do. And he one of the major things he worked on was transportation. What people soon learned is that it just wasn't a matter of transportation of how you get from Boston to Cambridge or. Downtown but to a town Bogota. It became a matter of pride because these are super sleek super fast super clean
buses that stop at stops at stop on time that are reasonably priced and that everybody can use and all of a sudden people who would say oh I'm from I'm from Santa Marta but I live in Bogota. I started saying I'm from Bogota but my friend's family is from Santa Marta. It's just a general kind of becoming a citizen of the city. And so you see all sorts of physical changes the little street urchins who used to ride around the streets are. No longer there. Perhaps some of them unfortunately are more wealthy and have gone into organized crime. Perhaps many of them own
group homes. Perhaps many of them are in parts of the city that we don't normally go to but it's a different look it's a different feel it's a city that you can be proud of being a citizen. And I think when people begin to feel part of a city. That also makes them look at citizenship in a different way. Now I'm not an academic I work in academia so I'm not going to make any fancy theories about what this means in terms of the war or the terms of weather peace how people become activist. But I really think that there's been a. Tremendous a tremendous shift.
The war does work into the city in many ways and I think one of the hard things for me during my Fulbright year was to figure out how those two things work together. I want you to read just a paragraph about what Antinous Mochas said about my book because I think he says it better than I can. This testimony about the changes in Bogota and about the relationship of one person the author with the city is fascinating and precise. The test asked time and time again how has the flowering of books incorporated in a subtle and nuanced manner the imprinted violence that has forsee age. So many parts of the country.
How in the historical context of so much pain are so many moments of forgetting and happiness possible. I want to confess that right before I came here being absolutely convinced that there would be four people in the audience that I began to debate about what would be my final reading. And part of that is I didn't know who my audience would be whether it would be these four people would be let in americanus or whether they would be from the Nieman Foundation or you know whether they would be journalism students or Columbia alumni colleagues or even somebody
who flew into Bogota for the occasion. Not really. And I was debating I would tell you what I was debating about and how I chose. I sometimes read a little thing about horses and cows because they represent both the rural side of Bogue and they also represent a recent legal battle that the underdog route. So I thought well I'm going to read this to show how laws work how the Constitutional Court recently said that Audrey can't run for a third term. And I said no you know that's too fine point to these four people probably have never been in Latin America so what do I do. OK. So then I thought. Thought well I'll try to
show how people's memories work and I'll read a chapter about Christmas on the book. Plus in the colonial center of town and about a memorial that was there to all the people who were victims of the violence and how I found out that people very often don't talk about the victims of violence in their own family because a close for someone I considered a close friend finally told me that she had lost two brothers one to the guerrillas and one to the paramilitaries and then I thought you know I read a story about the displaced because I've been talking positively all this time about Bogut and I don't want to give the illusion that it's completely a positive picture. So
I walked over to two friends of mine and I said Which one shall I read. So you get displaced. I confess to a lot of confessing tonight. I have a love hate relationship with living downtown in El Centro. When I walk out my front door I am frequently faced with homeless people and the constant reminder of Colombia's often invisible war. The displaced those the displaced. I never give money although I often buy bread and even milk in fruit. They sit on the sidewalk on cardboard or the cold cement in prop up signs that say this plus silos or so most victimised did Libya in NCA. We are victims of the violence. Many have children with them.
Son a very neatly dressed judge in once fine clothes that have seen better days in others wear Katter's. Some are caught on that this and some are even said to rent children that surround them to make better to get better no donations. I first saw Carlos carrying his 9 year old daughter Marilyn piggyback right at the corner of my apartment building. I didn't know their names then. I was struck by his strong black features in by Maryland's tardy braids and I actually thought that they had been visiting my neighbor Pierre that a court of whose name has been in the news a lot lately. A black congresswoman. I noticed the Carlos hold their hand was a bandage with white goddess in my
journalism workshops here as in my journalism classes and Cambridge. I teach my students to listen to the invisible people around them. The watchman the May the street people. Yes often I am Kimon myself about approaching the people on the street especially if I don't have a reporter's protective notebook. After all I live on the corner. It could be dangerous. I rationalize. Yet I was pulled in by Maryland's friendly curious gaze. I asked a vague question like whether they live nearby Carlos el Bahr also had one of those cardboard signs with him. But it was hidden from sight as he boosted his daughter onto his shoulders. I spotted it only when we began to talk. The story came spilling out in bits
and pieces. Carlos old bear had a small fishing village business and barbacoa that's in the south of the Pacific coast. In the part para military members kept coming for at the corner a payment of protection money and the quantity kept on increasing and increasing and increasing until he finally protested I can't pay this. His little boats were burned. And he was held and tortured. He told me that was the story of his hand. He fled with his family to nearby Pasto in the south of the country and was then sent to Karley further north. Our refugee organization in Cali told him that he would receive swifter help in Bogota So he came with his oldest daughter his wife and other four children would follow soon. He
said he'd been trying to get help for three weeks and haven't been able to find a job. His voice mounted slightly with bitterness when Tarus come to barbacoa us. We treat them like kings. We show them around. We share our food he asserted. Here we are treated like dirt. They treat my little girl that way to Carlos sell their dough waxed eloquent. I wish that I had a tape recorder or could take notes without causing suspicions. This is an illogical war he asserted. I can't even pronounce that word will sliding over the syllables of it will he. This war makes no sense. It's all about drugs and power. I could see him as a community leader as a small businessman
as a person filled with pride. And yet I felt his frustration and bitterness. He insisted on peeling off the gauze bandage so I could see the nearly healed my marks. It's not ugly anymore he reassured me. But it still hurts. He was trying to get Marilyn into a public school he said. I asked her if she'd like. She answered with one word almost without intonation. No Carlos Elberta wanted to keep talking. We sat on the steps of a nearby office building. He never asked me for money and was too absorbed in the conversation to actively Panhandle anyone else. A young office worker noticed his almost hidden sign in swiftly thrust two thousand pesos just under $1 into his hand and moved on rapidly. I decided it was time to get
going. I was interfering with his work. I felt he wanted to keep talking but he reassured me that he and Marilyn always came to my street corner. We would see each other soon. For me Carlos Alberto and Marilyn have names now but every day I stroll by other displaced people. In exchange most only a greeting. Retreating to the comfort of an urban anon and me. And then maybe no one has an exact figure about the number of this place people in Colombia the Colombian government says there are 1.7 million since 1995 the United Nation counts between 2 and 3 million since 1986. The consultancy on human rights in this placement a Colombian non-governmental organization estimates 3.7
million since 1985 and the Colombia ambitious conference together will never see the sun they scan. It's 2.5 million. I think of Carlos el Bahr and his illogical war. I searched for him in Maryland on the Septima the main street by my house. I see other displaced people in other signs in other children in other lives. The father and mother of the Father and daughter may have found help or they may have given up. I probably will never know. Carlos Alberto and Marilyn have been swallowed up into the Metropolitan. Thank you. Thank you very much. I guess
questions comments or answers whatever. Yeah. That's a big question and I am not a drug expert but my feeling is that if you took away the criminality of drugs and treat it as a public health problem as it is that you would go a long way not only towards helping the situation in Colombia but Mexico and Guatemala. But you know I just don't think that's going to happen soon. Yeah what if you actually could. People say who they are so we can get a sense of who is here.
OK the methodology that's a really academic word. Yeah. Could I talk about. Could I talk about the way that I documented what I was writing about my methodology. Well my first methodology to confess again since this is a night of confessions is that being of a certain age I'm awfully afraid of forgetting things. So when I first started in Bogota with the Fulbright I started to keep a kind of diary journal.
And it wasn't working. You know it would be today I had lunch with time and we went to this cute little place on the. And by the time I got to Christmas I said this isn't going to help me to remember the things I want to remember so I took Wednesdays and Thursdays as writing days as my New Year's resolution. And then what. What happened is I started to look for stories and get all involved and kind of observations so what in practice what happened is that when Stan Thursday I would write the observational part of the vignette and then Bogota is GREAT think tanks in and fairly good newspapers. And so then I would go and I would try to see like with the displaced who is you know who else has written about this can I put this in some
context. But that's probably as much of a methodology as I ever got I want to share. OK. Yeah I think there have been two big
changes and now I'm talking I'm going to confine my comments to urban areas because I think that if you're talking about rural areas that a lot of the same problems depending on the part of the country still are going on but then the tendency like with Carlos Alberto is that we should go first to to Bogota. Bogota has just gotten tremendously more livable in part because people have now have the freedom to move about the country without being to most parts of the country by road without being kidnapped. And secondly just because the level of urban life has improved. And safety has improved greatly even looking at these little street
children who are no longer on the streets tearing off womens earrings Transportation has gotten better. There is more of a cultural level. So that I think that the quality of life in general has gone up you still might be taken to you know an 8 p.m. machine and forced to withdraw your savings I'm not saying those things don't happen. But the level of street crime has has gone down tremendously. And I think it has to do with a combination of these two great mayors and some good urban mayors in other parts of the country and also in general I think that one can have a long talk about authoritarian form of governing but I think the one thing that most people will agree on is that the ability to go along
highways from one place to another has really really helped the psyche if you can get to your vacation home. Will people still be applying to Harvard of course they'd apply anyway. So I
got this one. So what. Exactly. Well I think you answered the question yourself. You need the two parts you need a mocha and you need a Pena Llosa and some of the other cities have only got the pain and loss us. You know I think that if
Bogota and Miltie continue to be good examples that people in other cities can start demanding this kind of good governance that it's a kind of a trickle kind of thing but I can't you know I can't tell you why people can't elect those kind of mayors are inspired. There are other people in this room who would be more capable of talking about other cities. I've only lived in Bogota jhana. My relationship with Latin America started in a
Dominican neighborhood on the Upper West Side of New York where all my neighbors were Dominican and where I was cornered by this. Now we're talking about the 1960s the early 1960s where most of these immigrants were political exiles and they were middle class and they were fairly fairly well-educated and they were working as janitors and things like that. And so I had this one particular neighbor actually was working as a photographer at a Spanish language paper and he got the idea right away that I could teach them. And his friends Spanish I mean wish. So I said Well only if you guys teach me Spanish so we we started. Exchanging and the next thing I know I was going off to the Dominican
Republic for every holiday I could find and it and that's how it started. And I graduated then from Columbia Journalism School and it was a period a little bit like now not probably not as rough because that weren't that many newspapers closing but it was hard to find a job and I got my first job on The Jersey Journal covering the Cuban community. So that's really sort of the roots of it. Columbia started there's a whole chapter in the book on it but Colombia Colombia started basically because I had decided to take a year off and travel through Latin America. And I think I'm much more of a nester than a traveler. And I basically got offered a job through a fluke and I took it. And then instead of leaving Columbia I would just change my media
you know what it's like. OK you want me to go OK you have me. And in 1977 I had an intern Merican Press Association fellowship and that gave me the opportunity to travel through every country and report. And I went to every country except Paraguayan which is kind of a protest because Strauss you know was in power and you know that's you know in every every year every moment I feel like I have more and more friends from Latin America and Portugal. So that's it in that shell of a year. You're right.
OK. To have if you have a point to work from where did you grow up. Have you spent much time in New York. OK. What neighborhood did you live in. OK how did you relate to the whole enormity of New York or did you relate to your neighborhood. That's what happens even you you know as a reporter you might transfer still whole city but you relate back to your own particularly part of the city in most days of the week it doesn't even occur to you that it's a huge city. And if you pick the right neighborhood it's a great place to live high. You know it's only parts of it are on the State Department warning west.
Well there I mean there are some is here. There are some study abroad programs the year and there's also Fulbright. There's also a Peace Corps I believe they're starting up in Colombia. And world teach there are a lot of you know I suggest that you get on idealist dot org and there are all sorts of opportunities for you can teach English. You can work it an NGO. There are lots of things that a young person can do over here.
I do. I think there are things now in even as I mentioned you know with the theory you can find that that's important neighborhoods also. I was just speaking last night with a young woman who was here as an OP here for a Neiman fellow last year and she was all excited because she said that she went to see an Italian theater crew to Kalyan theater troupe in the class
they to Otto's in the bullring. And she says you know the best thing I ever saw in my life was the Fourth of July in Cambridge she said but this is the second best thing. And you know I think that where you have the sense of not buying in are not feeling a citizen is what people like Carlos will bear. And if the city government and the federal government cannot find ways of making these people feel that they are citizens I think that that kind of citizenship is is at risk. But I think the it's a huge amount more than huge amount more than when I lived there the first time through throughout all the classes time you hear
what you hear. The feedback I got in the Spanish language book was I was afraid because I was afraid that people would feel that I was downplaying the war or saying the war doesn't exist. But it was very much buying into the book like you know as your foreigner who really understands us. And but the surprise audience for me. Well the Spanish language book I had thought well you know certain number gringos who read Spanish will read the book in the you know they want to know about this the audience that I
wasn't expecting. And I almost feel like somewhat of a cult figure which is very odd is the Colombian people like you you know with Colombians who are born in this day. So are brought up in this day. Yes. And who somehow feel like this is a book that speaks to them. And I honestly never even thought about that audience with the English language book. It's only been out for a week. So you know there's been no you know there's been no feedback. Not yet. Steve. There you go. But there are very
few. Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Oh yeah right. Little one. Well you know very well. Well yes this culture of European culture. With their models. Really. Yeah yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well first of all do you ever talk to anyone from Harvard about you
know it's hard. That is the yeah there's plenty of European culture in Bogota and there's plenty of Colombian plays and artists and writers. Gabriel Garcia Marquez among them. But you know I think a lot of that I mean this the same tag mystic relationship between Colombia and Venezuela started long before Chavez ever came into power. We is I mean I think the amazingly positive thing that has happened in Colombia in the past couple of weeks is the decision of the constitutional court because even people who are saying we love it would even say he's done a great job. Most of them saying we love OT but he's done a great job. But this is a land of laws and we need to
move on. I think it's going to depend on a lot of things. You know who among them who wins the presidency it's probably going to be one with Manuel Santos but that's not 100 percent. How much of the divisions there are. I think one of the things in Bogota is that is that most people say that the present mayor is not doing as good a job as previous mayors. And there is a visible. It's light but there's still a visible deterioration in services. And if that continues it's going to be a problem because the sense of citizenship has come
precisely because people feel they're being served. People feel they're they're part of something that's working and if it's not working they can make their voice known. But I don't I don't have a crystal ball. I mean you know crystal ball on Venezuela. Colombia is Chavez going to lose some of his power base. I'm not suggesting his can be voted out of office right now but is he going to lose some of his power bases. No. But he's going to have opposition he's never had a Facebook war. Yeah well when I went all of Latin America was a basket
case and I was living in in Colombia it was it felt like a very healthy economy at least for the middle and upper classes. I'm talking about the first time OK over here. Yeah that's no that's a great question. In Mexico and perhaps some other Latin American countries gringo can be quite derogatory in Bogota in Colombia. It's actually affectionate. It's likely that it is that growing up.
OK. I mean at least I have in my own experience I have only heard it used in a while K.. You know occasionally you might have someone say you know that getting. OK I will grant you that. But in general it's. I've had it used for me very affectionately like legging gate. And I think in part like it's very hard for me. The second time around you realize I'm not Colombian and as long as I live in Colombia and as much as I care about it and as much as I have people that I love as if they were my sons and daughters nieces and nephews I'm still a foreigner and
I kind of wanted to a step. It was part of my thinking about my relationship to the city and in the country it wasn't a marketing device it was more an identity device. Well you know I've only had it used to my face that way. OK one last question over here. Oh. Yes. Well it's a great question. I mean I think.
I mean when you talk about the buses What are you talking about. OK. Orchestrated. I don't know the answer that question. My impression is that a lot of courage in Colombia is still an organized tourism and that it's people and it's kind of that it's also a lot of the people that it's attracting are people who want one more country on the list that they can cross off that nobody else has ever been to. I was very surprised when I went up to the north of center and there which is halfway between
Bogota and the coast. And I had to speak at this university. And it's a little town. Son he you. And it was adventure tourism. I mean there are all these people who are there for things that I had never heard a wind wind surfing. I don't know when surfing is but you know it seems to me there's a lot of different kinds of tourism that are developing out of Colombia and it's up to Colombians to kind of decide what kind of tourism they favor and want to promote it. Thanks so much for coming it's an enormous crowd we weren't expecting and it's lovely. Books are up for sale by the register so grab those and we'll have a book signing right here. Thanks so much.
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- June Carolyn Erlick, journalist and editor of Revista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, discusses A Gringa in Bogota: Living Colombias Invisible War.To many foreigners, Colombia is a nightmare of drugs and violence. Yet normal life goes on there, and, in Bogota, it is even possible to forget that war still ravages the countryside. This paradox of perceptionsoutsiders fears versus insiders realitiesdrew June Carolyn Erlick back to Bogota for a year-long stay in 2005. She wanted to understand how the city she first came to love in 1975 has made such strides toward building a peaceful civil society in the midst of ongoing violence.Erlick creates her portrait of Bogota through a series of vignettes that cover many aspects of city life. As an experienced journalist, she lets the things she observes lead her to larger conclusions. The courtesy of people on buses, the absence of packs of stray dogs and street trash, and the willingness of strangers to help her cross an overpass when vertigo overwhelms her all become signs of convivenciathe desire of Bogotanos to live together in harmony despite decades of war. But as Erlick settles further into city life, she finds that "war in the city is invisible, but constantly present in subtle ways, almost like the constant mist that used to drip down from the Bogota skies so many years ago."
- War and Conflict
- Culture & Identity
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Speaker2: Erlick, June
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Identifier: 6c63ab2dac41e859da48b4a5a00c1fa290982caa (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “Harvard Book Store; WGBH Forum Network; June Carolyn Erlick: Living Colombias Invisible War,” 2010-03-31, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 8, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-2j6833n172.
- MLA: “Harvard Book Store; WGBH Forum Network; June Carolyn Erlick: Living Colombias Invisible War.” 2010-03-31. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 8, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-2j6833n172>.
- APA: Harvard Book Store; WGBH Forum Network; June Carolyn Erlick: Living Colombias Invisible War. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-2j6833n172