Wounded feet and cursed earth.
Long row in gray of tomorrow.
Rubber smokes through a thousand chimneys,
A day like the others awaits us.
The sirens, the screams, the mud.
I see your heart tired, mate,
I read the pain in your eyes.
You have a cold chest, hunger, you have no name,
desert man and without crying.
So poor that you're not bad,
so tired that you do not even have horror,
spent man, man who was strong.
If we were to meet again,
With what face would we look?
Very good morning for everyone. With a very special thank you for the invitation made to me, to be able to share with you this morning, and with a very special greeting to those who share a presentation in this Table n.º 1.
Listening to previous presentations and making a direct link to what I propose, not only in my personal reflection, but what we have tried to advance in the Ministry of Education of Antioquia, where, to say some numbers, we are 125 municipalities, more or less seven million inhabitants. There are approximately 5,000 educational institutions, 600,000 students, 20,000 teachers, 1200 teaching managers …
And, why do I say this? Because there are two elements that we can not ignore. I do not know, of those of us who are present today, how many of us are teachers, or at least how many of us are passionate about this story of being teachers; but we can not ignore:
First element: Who we are and with whom we share? To our generation (I mean “our generation”, locating all of us in the same, right?, some more than others, but let's not get in details so as not to become entangled in life)...
The majority of us were educated in a mnemonic way, do you remember? We have to record previously learned knowledge, and the best student was the one who had the ability to record more; because, of course, there were twenty questions and the twenty questions got a higher qualification if that answer was close to what the teacher had said or the day before or the previous week. Mnemonic.
I'm not going to say that's wrong, no! I believe that we are not so perverse, either, right? And we were educated in that environment. But the result of this educational system created or delivered to society students with much knowledge recorded in the memory, but (to be reflected on) the ability to discuss or argue what he had learned was not what was worked on the most; and then there was the need to enter the discussion in front of what he had learned, and sometimes there was no other tool left but to repeat what he had learned.
Second element: Who is there? Who is in front? I speak as a teacher. I have always said that these administrative charges are temporary. The classroom is the passion, what we do, what we live, what we share. Who is in front? There are not twenty, thirty, forty in front (sometimes there are more students in our countries), no! Let us remember… at least for me, the classroom is the only place (I have not seen another; and if there is, well let us debate it, right?), but the classroom is the only place where we are all equal, all of us!
No matter if it is a university classroom from the highest society class in the city, or if it is the poorest verdict there is; it does not matter how you are dressed, it does not if you are or not, that does not matter; when you are in the classroom we are all equal. The knowledge imparted, delivered, debated and argued, is the same.
So that the work of the teacher who builds a society (we heard it at the opening ceremony): “Education does not transform the world, it transforms the people who are responsible for transforming the world.”
So, in that relationship, the teacher (I prefer the word ‘teacher’ instead of ‘professor’, it means more, there is more passion)... the teacher/student relationship, under that perspective completely transforms the panorama: I am no longer one who delivers a knowledge previously learned ⏤it would be too easy to be a teacher⏤ but rather the one who interacts with a group of people, with a group of different realities who seek equality in order to transform the territories; and finally, to transform history. The responsible commitment of the teacher transforms history, because he is capable of transforming any territory.
Therefore, what is my proposal of this reality to transform history? It is what we have called, with our work team: “The city of the face.”
What does that mean? That in any place where we may be, we are in a classroom, in any place.
Until some time ago there were three protagonists of education: The student (logically), the teacher and the family. Do we agree on this, or not? Yes? Student, teacher and family. We consider that that third protagonist has changed today, today we would have to say: Student, teacher and environment in which the student is involved; not only family members.
The student, our partner ⏤if we can call him that⏤, learns in any circumstance; because it is that (with all do respect) none of us know more than Wikipedia, none of us! (If suddenly someone thinks otherwise, raise your hand and leave, alright?) None of us know more than Google! Then, with a click, our student transforms his reality. It is no longer just the court, the neighborhood, the block (as we say in Antioquia); it is everything within reach, not even a computer or a tablet, it is their cell phone; there it is, where it moves, in any circumstance there is a learning opportunity.
Therefore, when we speak of a city of the face, what we are doing is transforming the context that relates us to each other; pitifully a context that is framed by the violent; a violence that is no longer simply historical, but that we have violated the language, we have violated the attitude. There is violence in the face, in words; there is even violence: killings, finished and counter-killed, and what remains is the most catastrophic result of violence that has become our habit. There is nothing more dangerous for a country under construction ⏤I speak as a Colombian⏤ than to get used to the story of pain, to the story of violence, because it becomes a landscape.
Then, a few years ago, a mayor of Colombia came out to say with great pride: “We present to the world that today we have only had two violent deaths in our city, only two. Welcome this good news!”
Hey, hey, wait a moment! Of course, if you are used to counting by thousands, by hundreds, that has to make you happy ⏤common sense. But the mother, the wife, the children of those two, what can they be feeling when you are talking? As we get used to this story of pain, injustice, pain, violence, the blood with which they have written that story, we simply become stories that no longer question us; we have already lost the capacity for wonder and therefore we make that violence the language, the event, our words.
Who among us has not seen a 5 year old boy with a broomstick playing at being a gunslinger? Have you seen it or not? Moreover, not only have we seen it, but - as we are playing - the boy shoots with the broomstick and we become the dead: "You killed me !, you killed me!". It became simple, it's a game: "You killed me and killed you." Do you realize how the language is violent?
A few years ago, when I was a child (not so many years, right ?, is that already the hair is falling, but not so much the years), some years ago there were some words that were coarse words, were words with which insulted the other; "Queer", for example. You could not tell because the mother immediately hit you in the mouth: "That is not said!". Already today a group of friends at school, who are gathered before entering class, no longer greet each other: "What was it? How nice you were! I am so happy! You changed my day!" . Do not! "Marica, how are you doing? Good or not?"
We got used to it. The language, the words, the attitude have been violated; and therefore, to speak of the scenarios of learning as the possibility of looking at the face, is to look at the city as the place where the challenge of social life is placed; because it is in that daily life, it is in that citizenship, where the difference is manifested, that it is the natural thing that is lived in the city.
That social change, that extreme force, that social power is what allows us to talk about human transformation, which creates a collective consciousness of inclusion; and therefore, it is the only possibility of speaking about the gratuity of life.
Teachers sharing basic areas of knowledge with their students, whatever it may be: social, mathematical, biology, whatever it is, it is not a work instrument; forgive what I am going to say, I do not know the profession of each of you but I am going to dare: I have not known the first relieved to find a doctor. Has anyone done it
─ How can I serve you?
─ No, no. I am very relieved! I just came to tell you that.
Can you imagine the doctor's face?
Well, and this what, you need is a mental hospital or what, how is the thing?
I have not met the first person who has no problems looking for a lawyer; you look for the lawyer is to solve problems, or not? I have not known the first one that is not going to build to look for an engineering firm. That is your work tool. The doctor uses the scalpel, the stethoscope; and the relieved, relieved and goes to thank the doctor. The engineer uses any number of circumstances, he transforms the reality: a building, a prize, a biennial. The lawyer is a freedom. The teacher does not have work tools (if you want to talk about the scoreboard, the board, the projector ...). But who is at the front is not your tool of work, beware, because if you take it that way simply fulfill your responsibility: "2 plus 2 are 4. Did you learn?" - "Yes!" - "Chao. The following".
The teacher transforms generations; So much so that I do not know how many years (we have teachers of thirty, forty years of life in the teaching profession) and the grandchild, the son, the father ... and they all look at him in the face and thank him.
There is nothing more rewarding for a teacher than, anywhere in the city (I speak of the city not discriminating the field, but as the generalized place), when a student crosses the street and immediately says: "Profe, do you remember me? "That's the worst question you can ask ... No, no. Really, believe me. It is the worst question. Look, I've been a university professor for 15 years; 15 years, my first students today can carry, I do not know, 13 years of professionals; They're already big, old, ugly, and I'm still the same, right? That's the advantage. But they cross the street and: "Profe, do you remember me?" Sometimes you have to tell pious lies. If they laughed, it is because they answer the same thing that I answer: "Of course, as I will not remember!"
A generation has passed and you transformed a reality. In that transformation we become instruments of peace, but ... What peace are we talking about? It can not simply be an absence of weapons, it can not simply be the ability to negotiate, it can not simply be the transformation of the reality of a child into a professional. When we speak of instruments of peace, it is because that person, that student who today is the father of a family, who is a professional, who is a neighbor, transforms his reality around the other; and it is there ..., that is why we speak of "the city of the face", which means being able to share with difference, never equality; and from there build a society.
In Spanish, the word 'face', it seems to me that it steals meaning. In most countries when we talk about the face we refer to the physical: "This is the face, look at it, this one". The word in Italian seems to me to be more beautiful, much more significant: il volto; and when it speaks of il volto, it is not the physical: white, black, ojon, orejon, pretty, ugly, no, no, no! il volto is the essence of what you are, what the person represents.
Today we, none of us woke up being what is exclusively today. What are we? A story. What are we? An identity. What are we? A family. What are we? A social context, a country, and that is why we started to identify ourselves.
When we speak of "the city of the face" as learning for peace, we are not talking exclusively about pedagogical steps to teach peace, but we are talking about a transformation of a collective consciousness that makes me an individual Be social; and therefore, we there in the conscience of the other, in "the city of the face", we do not reduce our language, our communication to the economic, to the social difference, to the cultural, to the sexual identity, to the religious; We overcome the deep and intimate differences of the face, so that then, the acceptance of "you peer to me", we create population foci that allow us to overcome what is selfishness, which is prejudice on different faces.
When we try to define the person we appeal to a series of characteristics that make us unique, we aim at a personal identity; However, the person as a social being is a collective construction. No kind of human life, not even that of the hermit in wild nature, is possible without a world that directly or indirectly testifies to the presence of other human beings.
Then the human reality of the one who learns in any social context, is represented in the interaction of the other faces. I begin to define the difference with the other and that difference does not make me define it in the sense of enmity.
Complex for a society like ours, a global society, a global village, no longer differentiated by countries but in narrations of circumstances when we begin to define each other, simply and plainly through differences: enemies, friends, different and equal.
"The city of the face" dismantles the subject of rights, the individual, the inhabitant, not because those roles are not lived in the citizenship, but because they can lend themselves to an instrumental reduction; we convert private property, at the will of some, as the duty of the other; in front of it we become fragile, we begin simply to make of our duties whims of that one -permit me to put it in quotes- "of the one that sends us"; and therefore, of the one who is telling our story, is telling it at will.
"The city of the face" appeals to difference, to diversity, to inclusion; but these, logically, force us to define them from love and from forgiveness. Understanding love not as a consequence of the affective relationship but of the relationship even with the one I have not yet met.
It is very probable that we will never see each other again, it is the most probable; but the fact of having shared this moment we already become significant; and the relationship with me makes me a relationship of responsibility, because it forces me to a "city of the face"; that would be the relationship of love.
And the relationship of forgiveness, detheologizing that definition not in a religious sense that gives me a moral tranquility in the face of transcendence, but as the ability to interact with you despite what has happened. Watch out! Unfortunately in our cultures we often relate forgiveness with forgetfulness. Oblivion is not human, we can not forget. The moment we forget we are justifying the executioner's action, the moment we forget we are saying "we have nothing to forgive, nothing has happened". Oblivion is not human, but forgiveness is to be able to continue forward despite what has happened, tell the story with another tone of voice that makes me victorious against that reality.
"The city of the face", therefore, leads us to become transformers of territories and, therefore, builders of peace.
I have seen as many birds in the sky as coffins for the cemetery.
I have felt so much crying in my land that even the rain reminds us of pain.
I have lived so much with insecurity that it is distressing to be happy and calm;
because death in this country happens by decision of some, whim of others.
Hopefully death will not be ahead of anyone, although we know its eagerness.
Hopefully death will no longer be profitable;
I hope your death is not forgotten, while the rest we live.
Thank you very much.