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A Global Movement – A Colombian Perspective

Jul, 11, 2012 - Martina Perino

During the Arab Spring last year I kept thinking “finally the youth is at center stage”. I assumed that every government, society and community would start considering the demands of the youth, I thought the young people would suddenly have a say in society and their concerns would be met worldwide. This did not happen as change does not happen overnight; great goals are only achieved through hard work. The youth worldwide has been working for their spot in every country and their efforts are rarely recognized.

De Bruces a Mi is a six-man reggae band that has been at the forefront of the youth demands in Colombia. Their popularity has grown in their 13 year musical career and their message for justice, socio-economic integration has continued to grasp people’s attention. They have never stopped working and representing their reality, they continue their quest in denouncing social inequity of the youth. De Bruces a Mi vocalist, Mauricio Osorio, has always been attracted to music for its potential to transmit a feeling but most importantly inspires reflection and a “spiritual revolution” which leads to action and change.

Their song “Soy una Roca” (I am a rock) won them an international award for best anti-corruption song in 2011, an award by Fair Play, sponsored by the JMI Foundation, World Bank Institute, and Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network. When I interviewed them they were humbled by their victory and the opportunity to perform their first show abroad. Their song had been chosen amongst more than 100 others simply showing that there is an international movement of young people who used their limited means to spread a message of social change and justice.

‘Soy una Roca’ was written as a means to combat the political corruption in their home country, which deeply affects everyday life. The title reflects the lack of fear they have in standing up against the system that encourages financial advances even if through illegal and corrupt channels.

Listening to the song I could not stop thinking about a few lines that may strike a chord with so many worldwide. The striking line "tanto que has hecho y nada has reparado" (Much you have done and you have fixed nothing) can easily be related to by anyone who feels that their government may have promised reforms and yet not followed through to resolve the most pressing issues. But in Colombia’s context, De Bruces a Mi referred to the impunity in their country, like the ineffective fight against drug trafficking and the people that benefit from such chaos that are not persecuted.   The words "Vengo Protegido " (I’m protected) show how the band feels protected by the support of the audience and the strength of the truth.

De Bruces a Mi are part of a global youth movement rooted in their local reality but with worldwide relevance thanks to shared experiences and connected through the web and other interactive media. Their determination, commitment, and courage ought to be supported and initiatives such as Fair Play are great to give youth a voice. Main stream media often neglects socially engaged artists and their efforts but the battle for justice continues. It is up to the audience to search and learn how they can be part of the movement to contribute to a world without corruption and where the voice of the youth is heard.

In 2012, De Bruces a Mi released a new album titled Elemento Sorpresa available for free download here.

Martina Perino is a freelance writer born in Italy and raised in Africa. She holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and a postgraduate degree in Social Policy and Management for social development from the University of Cape Town, and has lived and worked in Burkina Faso, Botswana, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, and DR Congo for a variety of civil society organizations. A consultant for Nomadic Wax, Martina is currently based in Zambia.

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