Wednesday, April 27, 2016

“Mélida was 9 when guerrilla fighters lured her away from...



"Mélida was 9 when guerrilla fighters lured her away from her family's home in Caldas, Colombia, with the promise of soup. For the next 7 years she was held hostage, forced to become a child soldier. Her family thought she had died in battle. But when she was 16, Mélida returned to her village, carrying a pistol and a grenade. Only her grandfather recognized her — from a birthmark on her cheek. Mélida was taken to a government rehabilitation center for indigenous youth who've left the rebels, known as the FARC. Today, she's caught between 2 worlds, she says. "True, we were children waiting for our deaths," she told @nytimes reporter @caseysalbum. "But I'm always thinking about returning." Mélida isn't alone. As Colombia nears a peace agreement that would end a half-century of fighting, thousands of rebel fighters who since childhood were raised to carry out armed struggle know little else but war. The photographer @juanarre captured this moment between Mélida and her daughter, Celeste, who was born last year. Visit the link in our profile to read more." By nytimes on Instagram.



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