Voices Rising against the War on Drugs


For decades, communities in the U.S. and abroad have been suffering the effects of the “War on Drugs.” Policies emanating from the United States have filled jails, fueled conflicts, displaced millions and torn communities apart the world over. But they are not being met with silence: thousands of voices are rising to contribute their analysis of failed policy and their visions for just policy reform. This month, Witness for Peace, in close collaboration with coalition partners in the United States and partners on the ground in Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico, is excited to host a blog series showcasing some of these voices. Please check daily for bilingual posts documenting experiences of the War on Drugs from individuals and communities from throughout the Americas.



In the spirit of resistance, we open the series with a song by Colombian community activist and artist Daira Quiñones, who reminds us of the human cost of the Drug War and the strong will of communities to resist and offer proposals that set an agenda bent towards preserving life, not instating war. She offers this gift of song to all those joined in this struggle. “Music is a footprint of the past, a recording of memory,” she tells us, and through her music asks that we bring our collective memories to the table as we design a creative path to bring us forward, centered on human voices and stories. Below, Daira explains the significance of her song, Homage to Life, which can be listened to with the provided lyrics.



“In Colombia, and in other places in the world, life is threatened every day. One day it occurred to me to do something to resist what was happening. Every time that I sing [this song], many things come to mind that are going on…the massacres, the displacement…all these things motivated me to write this song, because beyond death, beyond displacement, beyond the massacres, life is always present and counters death. So for me, writing this song has been a gift: a gift to myself, and a gift to the world, to every place where people are fighting for their survival, fighting for their children, fighting for their land, for their people. This song is a gift to everyone involved in the fight for justice.”

–Daira Elsa Quiñones



Link to Homage to Life For more information on Daira’s work in Bogota: http://www.amdae.org/ For more information on Daira’s upcoming musical tour in the United States

LYRICS:

Life is a great poem, that’s why I’m going to sing (x2)

With every step taken you discover how to carry on

The harshness of the world makes me begin to shiver (x2)

They paint a rosy picture for you, until the bitter reality hits

Life is a great poem, and may we live life, live life to the fullest

The most worthy things are those that you must search for; they don’t glisten (x2)

What can we do to break and overcome [oppression]?

Life is a great poem, and we must live life, live life to the fullest

Today we thank God for having given us life (x2)

For all the many gifts, and for the air that we breath (x2)

Your power is so great, God

That I would like to keep dreaming

To see if in the middle of a dream

I will come to understand some things

Life is a great poem, and we must live life, live life to the fullest

I ask, please, that there be no more violence

That we live life

Because through life we have song

May we live life

I go singing, and walking, walking I go

May we live life

Because life is love, life is song

May we live life

Life exists unto itself, only God should take life away

May we live life (x2)

Life is a great poem, and may we live life, live life to the fullest

May women sing, children jump, may all dance

And live life

Life exists unto itself, only God should take life away

May we live life

I go singing, and walking, walking I go

May we live life

A song of love, a song to all eternity

May we live life

A song of faith, a song of happiness

May we live life

I go singing a song of dignity

May we live life

Because life is love, life is song

May we live life

Ay, life is a great poem, may we live life, live life to the fullest

Life exists unto itself, only God should take life away

May we live life

I still go singing, still singing, singing I go

May we live life

Because life is love, life is song

May we live life

Life exists unto itself, only God should take life away

May we live life

Voces Levantándose en contra de la Guerra Anti-Drogas


Durante décadas, comunidades en los Estados Unidos y en otros países han sufrido los impactos de la “Guerra contra las Drogas.” Las políticas que emanan desde los EE. UU. han llenado las cárceles, avivado conflictos, desplazado millones y han destrozado comunidades por todo el mundo. Pero todo esto no ocurre ante el silencio indiferente de la gente: miles de voces se están uniendo para contribuir con su análisis sobre esta política fallida y su visión para una reforma justa. Este mes, Witness for Peace, en colaboración con organizaciones en los Estados Unidos, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras y México, presentan una serie de blogs que muestra algunas de estas voces. Por favor, vengan a diario para ver los blogs bilingües que documentan las experiencias de la guerra contra las drogas de los individuos y comunidades por todo el mundo. En el ámbito de resistencia, se abre la serie con una canción de la activista/artista comunitaria colombiana Daira Quiñones, que nos recuerda el costo humano de la Guerra contra las Drogas, y la firme voluntad de las comunidades a resistir y ofrecer propuestas que apuestan hacia la preservación de la vida y no por la guerra. Ella ofrece este regalo de la canción a todos los que se están uniendo en esta lucha. “La música es una huella del pasado, una grabación de la memoria,” nos cuenta, y a través de la música, nos pide llevar nuestras memorias colectivas a la mesa mientras que diseñamos un camino creativo que nos lleve adelante, basado en las voces e historias humanas. A continuación, Daira explica el significado de su canción, Homenaje a la Vida