Ingrid Betancourt ~ 6 años XIX
Portraits of Ingrid & other hotages. (On the map, I am posting this photo on the UN HQ in New York).
I would be very grateful if you would take a moment to read this:
Today, Saturday the 8th of March 2008, is United Nations’ International Women’s Day & in France is dedicated to Ingrid Betancourt who has been held hostage now for over six years - 2205 days to be exact.
This series of photographs was taken on the 6th anniversary of her capture (Saturday 23rd February 2008) outside the Town Hall of Paris, France. It has been an especially difficult past few weeks for Ingrid’s family & friends (especially for her two children Mélanie & Lorenzo). Following the release of Clara Rojas & Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo in January, four other hostages (Gloria Polanco, Luis Eladio Perez Bonilla, Jorge Eduardo Gechem & Orlando Beltran) were liberated by the FARC on Wednesday the 27th February 2008. News of their release was wonderful and a sign of hope for the other hostages & their families - that a peace process would be possible, leading to further releases - but they brought with them bad news concerning Ingrid. She is being treated very badly by her captors and is extremely ill - suffering from a recurring hepatitis B infection which, if left untreated by doctors; will undoubtedly kill her. Consuelo Gonzalez has described the conditions of captivity; the lack of hygiene in the forest where the hostages are held, the non-existence of doctors and medication. In such conditions, Ingrid has only a limited number of weeks left.
President Uribe and the Colombian government have decided to turn their backs on a possible peace process by attacking the FARC and killing Raul Reyes and another senior member of the group. Reyes was negotiating with Ecuadorian, Venezuelan & French officials with the aim of releasing a further 19 hostages this month, including Ingrid Betancourt. These hopes have just been smashed to pieces at a moment when time is running out fast.
Uribe was aware of the negotiations and in spite of international calls for the two sides to talk and come to a peaceful settlement, he decided to answer the release of hostages with bullets and arms. The only voice President Uribe listens to at the moment is that of the government of United States of America. If there are U.S. citizens reading this, I ask you to please contact your Governors, Senators and Representatives. Please try and help make a difference. I know it sounds useless and impossible, but Ingrid hasn’t got much time left. If we all try and act to make a difference, it can be done. I would like to encourage everyone, no-matter where you are, to spread the word and try to get in touch with those who have enough influence to make that difference.
If you are a Senator, Representative, politician, an official or adviser, (not highly likely I know, but…), then I ask you to try for a moment and imagine this was happening to you or someone you know. Really, try to imagine for a moment that your political combat for freedom and justice resulted in you being held for years away from your family, that you were seriously ill with little time left – that your children grew to adulthood without you, fought everyday for your liberation so that the world would not forget you and that you may never see them again… imagine for one slight moment – then surely you realise that you must do all you can….
I would like to dedicate this day to Ingrid Betancourt & to all the courageous women such as Ingrid, the Nobel Peace Prize winners Shirin Ebadi & Aung San Suu Kyi, and the many other women who are fighting for Liberty & Justice against all odds. These women are our mothers… our sisters… our daughters… our wives… our girlfriends… our best friends.
For news, contacts, ideas of what you can do to make a difference; follow these links:
www.agirpouringrid.com (official site, in French)
www.saveingrid.blogspot.com (my blog in support of Ingrid - in English)
Thank you for taking the time to read this and please do all you can.
H de C.
Samedi 8 mars 2008 - Journée Internationale de la Femme dédiée à Ingrid Betancourt.
Mobilisons nous !
Sabado 8 de Marzo 2008 - Día Internacional de la Mujer dedicada à Ingrid Betancourt.
Reunión en Barcelona, martes 11 de marzo 2008 – delante el consulado de Colombia : Carrer Consell De Cent, 333. Barcelona.
Photos: 23.II.2008 – Hotel-de-Ville. Paris, France.