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One Million Voices Against the FARC: A Milestone for Freedom
On February 4, 2008, fueled by the frustration and pain to see my country on its knees before the inclement cruelty of FARC, the terrorist group that had wreaked havoc on my homeland of Colombia for more than 4 decades, I decided to take action. Being just a common citizen, I raised my voice and started a global movement called “One Million voices against FARC.” For us, the proverbial “last straw” centered around news stories of 4-year old Emmanuel, who was born in captivity to a young woman kidnapped by FARC. The news was promising: FARC had announced that they would release Emmanuel. But the truth quickly became clear—frail and sick, Emmanuel had been abandoned by FARC two years earlier. Promises of his release were lies. Colombians once again had been victimized and deceived by FARC terrorists. We had had enough. Using social media, I created a Facebook group and invited my friends in Colombia and all across the world to join. The invitation spread rapidly. In just a matter of days, a worldwide movement was mobilized. Some 12 million people in more than 200 cities in 40 countries got organized and marched against the FARC’s tyranny and oppression. My country had woken up from indifference and manifested its rejection against kidnapping and violence as never seen before. Ever since that day, I have devoted my life to the cause of freedom, not only in Colombia, but in other countries that face oppression, terrorism, violence and tyranny. It is not easy to be a dissident. The risk of losing your life and jeopardizing the safety of your family is daunting. But when you find the same passion for freedom and the same ideals from freedom advocates around the world—which social media makes possible as never before—you somehow find the energy and courage to keep going. As recent events in the Middle East demonstrate, social media has become a powerful tool of democracy. Here and elsewhere, citizens are speaking out and demanding to participate in conversations about their freedom. Social media has revolutionized the medium and is spreading the message.