Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The cumbia of the disconnected

Marches in Colombia are often colorful and vibrant, and the Carnival March for Life, Dignity and Popular Identity in Medellin on October 9th was no exception. Drummers, clowns on stilts, clowns in tutus made up the parade, and a band played the “Cumbia of the Disconnected”:

I had a full salary
I had many dreams
I paid all the utilities
And nothing was left for food
Nothing was left for food

If you paid the utilities
And want to go grocery shopping
Don’t come with that story
You only have enough to pay on credit
You only have enough to pay on credit

Doña Luz was already blind
From saving money
But nonetheless
The bill always went up
The bill always went up

The phone in my house
Answering it is always a problem
Because calls appear
To Holland and Cartagena
To Holland and Cartagena

The march, which I accompanied at the petition of our partner organization the Medellin Youth Network (Red Juvenil), was the symbolic closing of the Medellin Social Forum, in the tradition of the now-geographically-dispersed World Social Forum. The Forum, held October 2-11, brought together communities and organizations from Medellin, the region and other regions of Colombia to, as the website explained, “address the problems caused by neoliberalism, authoritarianism y privatization, with the aim of creating alternatives and proposals to transform the situation of poverty and social exclusion in the city of Medellin, Antioquia and Colombia.”