For the past nine years Carlos Saavedra has portrayed fifteen of the Mothers of the False Positives. Together with Sebastián Ramírez, an anthropologist from Princeton University, they have gathered the mothers' stories and accompanied them in different projects that seek to memorialize their loss. All of the mothers participated in lengthy interviews in which they were invited to take a journey through their lives, collecting stories of their childhood, their families, their losses, and their ongoing struggles to safeguard the memory of their children and siblings. At the end of these interviews, the women were buried and their pictures taken.
The 15 mothers represented in this photobook are part of the first group of women to make the disappearances of their children public, and whose efforts resulted in the revelation of another dark facet of the war in Colombia: a true milestone in the country's history. Investigations by Humans Rights Watch and the Attorney General's Office have revealed that the country's most important battalions, as well as a large part of its top commanders, participated in the systematic campaign of kidnapping and executions of civilians in order to build up a fictitious war record.
What are the False Positives?
The Colombian army's strategy that sought to increase the official war record through the assassination of civilians. The strategy consisted of convincing young men to leave their homes with work promises, kidnapping them, and transporting them to remote locations, murdering them, and disguising them as guerrilla fighters. The women depicted in this photobook are part of the first group of women who went public with the disappearances of their children, and whose efforts resulted in the revelation of another dark facet of the war in Colombia. To date, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace has identified 6402 cases of the so-called False Positives - strictly speaking the practice should be called extrajudicial executions but we retain the misnomer in allusion to the constellation of cultural and historical symbols to which the practice is related and the various forms of resistance it has provoked. The mass murder of civilians has its origin in the perverse incentives created by the government of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez - while Juan Manuel Santos was his Defense Minister - to improve its war accounts. Each soldier who killed a guerrilla in combat (a positive) was paid nearly four million pesos, and was offered professional rewards such as vacation leave and promotions; commanders received recognition and increased resources for their battalions; battalions that produced the most deaths were praised for their contributions to the war and rewarded. Investigations by Humans Rights Watch and Colombia's own Attorney General's Office have revealed that the country's most important battalions, as well as a large part of their top commanders, participated in the systematic campaign of kidnapping and executions of civilians that sought to build up a fictitious war record.
"By Supporting this book you will help the MAFAPO (Mothers Falsa Positives) foundation tell the stories of the false positives"
It is printed on 90 gram Earthpak paper, with a hard cover.
Has 15 black and white portraits and 30 color stock photos
The dimensions are: 16.5 x 21.5 cm.
Photobook "Mothers Earth"
Photographs by Carlos Saavedra
Stock Images by Mafapo
Edition, design and art direction by Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo
Foreword by Sebastian Ramirez
Posted by Editorial Raya
Printed in Matiz Editorial Workshop, Manizales - Colombia
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