All bad things come to an end. And so, after 52 years of bloody clashes, guerilla attacks, military onslaughts and infamous kidnappings, the war between Colombia’s FARC — aka The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — and the government has ended. The two sides signed a historic treaty, FARC agreeing to end its armed conflict and enter the legal political process. All’s swell that ends well, observers sigh, recalling stormy love in the time of guerillas when FARC rebels fought fiercely for Colombian peasants, thrown off their lands by big, bad, capitalist types.
However, communist FARC soon discovered another opium of the masses — the group became known for cutting deals with drug dealers, taxing their products, often becoming the invisible hand regulating this richly noxious market. The contradictions — waging war for society’s lowest sections while being crazily high — never ceased to amaze. In fact, they created crate-loads of popular culture, Colombia’s lush green jungles featured with white streams of drugs, revolutionaries sporting indolent cigars and flashy drug lords wearing Russian hats, a la Pablo Escobar, encircled by legends of blood and gore. Several images were captured in films from Blow to Bedazzled, Collateral Damage to Behind Enemy Lines, Clear and Present Danger to Mr & Mrs Smith. Incidentally, the latter’s real-life lead pair, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, now demands a divorce, starting a battle as Colombia ends its own.
But the question remains — just what could have made vibrant FARC decide to quit its jungle life and try capitalism’s stolid delights? Did those Colombian forest mosquitoes finally bite home hard enough? Did the furious peasants finally decide that more, rather than less, US capitalism was Colombia’s Trump card? Or did a desi weapon of mass instruction help finish Colombia’s war? Who knows, the soft, soporific words of India’s spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who visited Colombia to spread his healing touch, could have induced its rebels to hit pause. Strong men finally laying down their arms — before a possible saintly encore.