The broad Colombian territory is divided by invisible but very real boundaries. These, in turn, define the parallel states of the country, where the State itself often barely has a presence; it has been replaced by the different armed groups fighting in the conflict. This condition—of parallel realities amidst armed warfare—keeps alive very deep wounds, seemingly irreconcilable hatreds, and competing truths that are considered unquestionable dogmas; and, worst of all, this condition results in the kidnapping of the memory of the conflict.
In the context of an open conflict like Colombia’s, memory cannot but be essentially controversial: memory is and will remain a field of tension within society and between society and institutions. When memory is institutionalized as a hegemonic narrative, it becomes metaphorically akin to totalitarianism; it becomes a story sanctioned and distributed by those in power. But when memory is recognized and valorized in its diversity, when it represents competing narratives and competing truths, it can stand as one of the most democratizing practices.