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  • In 2010 during a visit to Colombia, I received the script for a brilliant screen play my friend had written based on a true story that took place in the most dangerous conflict zones of Eastern Colombia. She asked me to edit it, and though I depend greatly on auto correction with my own writing, I gratefully took on the task. I stuffed the 200 page bundle in my bag and it was not until I got back to the States that I began to read and edit. I was stunned. She had taken an incredible story of mercy, grace and forgiveness and given it life through the words that I was reading. I laughed and cried as I put very few marks on it, and quickly mailed it back to her.

    Six months ago, I received a package from Colombia in the mail. I opened it curiously, and there it was. "La Montaña" in DVD. I anxiously awaited my sons nap time when I could begin watching a production that had begun three years prior. There they all were! Samuel, Alex, Russell, Fercho. All of my friends were the stars, the story was remarkable and the scenery breathtaking.

    The collaboration on this independent film was inspiring and produced a wonderful story of guerrillas and paramilitary coming face to face in a freak misunderstanding, nearly killing one another and choosing forgiveness instead. But the dialogue between the head guerrilla and head paramilitary made me stop and consider, once while editing and again while previewing the film.

    Violence and war are personal. Each aspect affects the individual on a very intimate level. We tend to generalize them when we are not involved, but as soon as we become intertwined with the actual conflict, we begin to have a clearer understanding of the true history and detail that accompanies it.

    These two leaders had personal reasons for being on the side they were. They had pain and memory associated with their choice to engage physically in the conflict and each believed that they were right. They were justified in doing what they did because after all, they had been hurt deeply in the past by the other side. They had lost family and friends and homes. Now it was time to make the other side suffer. So one side hits the other and they strike back in return, and a long laundry list has been created and nothing has been resolved.

    That is why there has to be another solution. You cannot tell someone to stop doing what they are engaged in without offering them an alternative course of action.

    Mercy.

    Forgiveness.

    Reconciliation.

    Peace.

    These are the things that will affect real change.
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