Sound Alternatives: Tuning out Columbia's Culture of Violence

By Holston, Mark | The World and I, June 1998 | Go to article overview

Sound Alternatives: Tuning out Columbia's Culture of Violence


Holston, Mark, The World and I


Alberto Avendano has never thought of himself as a catalyst for change, let alone a soldier on the front lines of an epochal struggle with the future of his country in the balance. After all, he's a humble person from a small town that's virtually indistinguishable from dozens of other hamlets that dot the mountainous landscape of his homeland. And it's a saxophone, not a machine gun, that he likes to cradle in his arms. But many see the 48-year-old musician and bandleader, and dozens of similarly motivated maestros in villages throughout the rugged interior of Colombia's province (called Department) of Antioquia, as key figures in the country's struggle to curb its notoriously violent tendencies and establish the foundation for a more civil society.

As an adolescent growing up in the civil war-wracked Colombia of the 1950s, Avendano witnessed firsthand the virulent consequences of widespread and unrelenting acts of violence: the disruption of a peaceful rural lifestyle that had changed little in centuries, the dismemberment of self-sufficient communities and family structures, and the triumph of intolerance over reason and accommodation.

Today, while many regions of his country are experiencing the same kind of violence-fueled anarchy that vexed rural Antioquia decades ago, Avendano's hometown of San Pedro, a dairy-farming community of twelve thousand inhabitants located on a high mesa in the Cordillera Central just thirty-five kilometers from the department's capital of Medellin, is largely at peace with itself Anti when hundreds of campesinos gather Sundays just before noon in the town's parque principal, it's not to hear the pronouncements of a military strongman, drug lord, or guerrilla leader but to revel in the reassuring tones of Avendano's 36-member youth orchestra. The staccato burst of snare drums and the low rumble of trombones and tubas are a welcome respite from the thunderous blasts of car bombs and the ricochet of assassins' bullets flint have frequently terrorized the region. Although Avendano may not be a soldier, he's playing a significant part in the critical battle against violence, one sweet, comforting note at a time.

Toward a more civil society

"If we develop a society with an appreciation of culture, we will build a better civilization," states Alvaro Uribe Velez, the soft-spoken, popular former liberal governor of Antioquia, who is widely believed to have his eye on a presidential bid in the election scheduled for 2002. "We have many problems that are well known--drugs, violence, and paramilitary activity--but we will prove to the world that we can build a strong society that rejects those negative influences,"

If any region in Colombia is capable of turning the corner on its violent past, it is certainly this mountainous department of five million inhabitants. Long before its name became synonymous with the illicit drug trade, the capital city of Medellin was noted for its well-educated, industrious citizens and a long tradition of prosperity and self-sufficiency. The Spanish colonists who settled the area in the seventeenth century--many were Jewish refugees fleeing the Inquisition--were to become known for their work, ethic and honesty. Today, Medellin is Colombia's second most important industrial center, with modern medical centers, up-to-date urban transportation, computer-coordinated public services, sophisticated communications, and specialized education facilities that are the envy of much of Latin America. Only the scourge of violence, exacerbated in recent years by the Mafia-like tactics of the region's drug lords, has kept Medellin and the rest of Antioquia from living up to its considerable potential.

With that objective in mind, Uribe Velez's administration aggressively carried out a number of innovative programs that recognized the fundamental importance of developing a cultural counterpart. to Antioquia's impressive economic-infrastructure planning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sound Alternatives: Tuning out Columbia's Culture of Violence
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.