Manual portable typewriters are the counter weapons of choice in the discord going on in Cali, Colombia. These photos were taken last week showing high school and university teachers and students typing stories about how they have been affected by the armed conflict crippling the country. Many students were among the 78 people between the ages of 17 and 26 who died in encounters with police over the April-June period in protests against right-wing president Ivan Duque. Most of the fatalities were in Cali, the epicentre of a general strike.
The Latin American News Agency reports from Cali that the typewritten stories have been pegged to clothes lines in an exhibit on a hilltop that is home to a park, a food and crafts market and casual eateries. It was known as Loma de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) but came to be known as Loma de la Dignity (Hill of Dignity) during the strike against Duque’s government.
The typewritten stories tell of students who have perished in the course of Colombia’s decades-long internal strife in a “Cartas Ambulantes” (“Walking Letters”) project proposed by the Truth Commission, created under the 2016 peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. One such story tells of a student named Jose, who died in 1971 in a police massacre at Universidad del Valle. Another is about Jonny Rodriguez, a law student who died in 2019, allegedly of an accidental detonation while handling explosives. “The truth is that police threw a bomb at my son,” his mother Alba said as she looked at the stories.
The Typewriter Insurgency at it finest. Those images show the power of the typewritten word.
Powerful indeed. And it’s smart to use typewriters—the users can’t be tracked down.
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