FARC soldiers are not allowed to have children in the camps. This is a rule they’ve maintained through their decades-long war with the Colombian government. But recently, one FARC couple broke the rule and brought a baby girl into the world.
World renowned photographer Mads Nissen stands before the emotional portrait he took of the toddler–face and plump arms limp with sleep, like a rose blossom crumpled by rain–napping on a bed at the camp. Her father’s shoulder, bearing the FARC uniform emblem, is in the foreground. The baby’s parents believe in the peace process. They want to lay down their arms and become a civilian family. If the accord fails, her parents will be forced to surrender their baby girl to her grandmother, and move back into the Colombian jungles.
TYF delegates take turns standing in front of Nissen’s portrait of the new Nobel Peace laureate, President Juan Manuel Santos. In the preceding hour, they listened to the Colombian president deliver an impassioned speech in Spanish. His powerful voice and gestures helped to bridge the language divide. Now, at a special preview of the NPC exhibit on Santos and the Colombian conflicts, everyone is moved, especially hearing Nissen provide context for his bright, gritty photos.
“It was my first time in a FARC camp,” says Nissen. “You can’t tell the story of the peace accord without telling the story of the camps. And you can’t tell the story of the camps without telling about the drug war.”
After the preview has finished, with remarks from Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke and Nobel Peace Center Executive Director Liv Tørres, the group moves downstairs for a reception at Cafe Alfred. Norwegian musician Mikhael Paskalev plays a mini concert in the foyer of the center. Above him flickers a ceiling full of yellow, orange and red medallions, each with the face of a past Nobel laureate. President Santos is in good company.
Photos by Ihne Pedersen