We breathe the same air yet we are

We breathe the same air yet we are so unequal. We try to fight, but he wins every time. All his money laundered through the taxi company he runs, all his drugs sold on the black market in Miami and all the chaos he causes to our city. He is like an out of control cadillac that won’t run out of fuel anytime soon. His wealth plus our cities corruption makes our police powerless to his magnificent army. Pablo Escobar, the cold-eyed drug lord of slum misery.Medellin, Thursday 24th August 1989Promising to me that my dear father would come back after he had brought back a can of beans and a few bottles of water for the two of us, which was very close by to the city, I heard a loud, sudden drum sound throbbing nearby. I wasn’t too concerned about hearing it at first, as these violent sounds have become a normal habit for me, being a normal occurrence due to Colombia’s fight against Escobar. However, I decided to check the news anyway. I picked up the remote, turned on the TV, but then the most horrible, terrifying image unveiled itself upon the black and white screen on our old, lightly beat up TV. I saw the guts and blood of my very own father through our local “Tele Medellin” news outlet, something that no son wants to see. The realization hit me that this is something that happens on the regular basis, which now has totally changed my perspective on what other individuals have to go through to lose someone so profoundly close to them. Tears started to fall down to the dimples of my hollow-cheeked face while realizing that this fantasy wasn’t a brutal dream and that out of all the people this could’ve happened to, it happened to my father, which as a consequence, I had to suffer the mental detriments of. I swabbed those stinging tears away with my cold, shaky fingers……. As I realized that from this point forward, I would be alone and I could be a next victim of a similar death as of my fathers.I had decided to run away. It was too chancy to look for my father’s bloody, gutty corpse and it was too much of an unpredictable risk to live in my house that is close to the chaos in the heart of the city. Not knowing whether the house was going to be the next demolition job for the cartel, using their gun power to their advantage. This period of chaos is hell.I collected my belongings (especially ones that I felt were to be personal to me) and decided to leave the house. I ran for miles upon miles past some of the most horrific scenes I’ve ever seen in my entire 12 years of living. Holes in the ground, piles of dead bodies, police checkpoints, I truly felt like I was in living hell. I ran and ran until I felt like I got somewhere safer. I ended up in a forest, filled with thousands upon thousands of wax palm trees. Walking even further into this forest, I approached this camp fire ultimately thinking that I would be able to sleep comfortably tonight. I approached the tents silently whispering “Hello?”. I already thought that they would’ve heard me approach by the crunching friction of my soles of my leather shoes on the thick stoned dirt. However, an individual with short, black hair and a well trimmed beard stepped out with a massive semi-automatic rifle. My heart started raising as I knew that this person was working for Escobar because he was mentioned on the list of “Wanted individuals” and the advertised picture fitted him perfectly. I immediately reacted, and knew that if I’d waited a few more seconds that I would’ve ended up dead, like my father, hence I decided to grab out my small, compact pocket knife and I silently forced my edged blade right through the left side of his chest. When I pulled out the knife, a fountain of blood poured out. He was still alive, but he was quickly losing blood so I just left him there, bleeding.I knew that if I would leave him there, other gunmen that work for Escobar would find his corpse, and would eventually hunt me down. I therefore decided to drag his body under a pile of wax palm tree leaves, and cleaned up his blood which was a very rough job, especially considering that this was done with numerous trips to the river to drain the blood with water. However, after 20 or so minutes this had finally been done and I could further progress my journey to find a safe place to sleep.I was very shocked, especially as a 12 year old boy who has never had to take someone’s life before, but did it for the safety of myself. I walked away from the hidden body, washing my hands in the puddle next to the tent, and then also took a little sip. I came to a realization that I just took someone’s life and I could be easily tracked down if someone did see me and that I could be killed within a matter of days. However, I did not let this make me be optimistic and therefore continued to walk to a safe sleeping spot.I continued to march deeper into the forest, finding a space I could comfortably sleep. I approached old walls which looked to be from the civil war, and therefore I thought I might’ve had a chance to finding a place that I could sleep for the next few cold winter nights. As I walked a few hundred more meters, finally, I see a rectangular shaped object in the distance, and I immediately knew that I could have a safe haven. I approached its beaten, wooden door and nervously knocked on the door checking if there was anyone sleeping in this place that I thought was too good to be true, and surprisingly, there was no answer. I opened the door and checked every room making sure this gem of a place wasn’t occupied by anyone else.Here I am, staying in an old, dust-collecting mid 1800s military bunker that was used during the Colombian civil war a couple of hundred years ago (the best that could be found of its kind), swinging in my new swanky rocking chair that I was lucky enough to find in one of the rooms. It was made out of heavy pinewood, a little wet from the subtropical weather, but a perfect stool for It was hefty in weight, so it took me a while to get to the spot I ideally wanted it to be at. However, I succeeded and I am now rocking, and gazing ahead to the peeling planks with small peaks of the smoke filled sky. I am quite happy that I have found this spot but nevertheless, these weak pieces of moist wood are my primary source of protection from the bombing and chaos outside which means that I am not totally safe and sound. It’s bleak and disturbing here. Being surrounded by wind-blown waxy palm trees that act like subwoofers for a booming speaker projecting the most horrible sounds of violence isn’t the most comfortable way to sleep in a “safe haven”. These noisy and perhaps deafening sounds that project the most horrible sounds throughout the damp forest of Bosque de Refugio Seguro are increasingly getting worse weekly, daily and conceivably hourly. Waking to the uproar every night isn’t such an amusing experience even though I am exceptionally tired and fatigued. I just wished that I could finally sleep peacefully without the drug soaked city of Medellin being under the influence of violence. I just wish that this mess would finally stop and that everyone could live their normal lives like Medellin once was.Medellin, Tuesday 22nd of December 2017I am sitting in my old, rotting, cane rocking chair gazing out over the peaceful and notably quiet city of Medellin. I’m still curious. Even 27 years later and therefore I decide to visit my long forgotten 1990s winter city of cruelty, Medellin, a long awaited location I have been not so enthusiastic about visiting, especially because of the unexpected, distasteful death of my innocent father that was just trying to provide food and water to himself and his 12 year old son while the city was under the domination of the all mighty Pablo Escobar, who has now finally, been dead for 24 years and hence put a halt to all violence and deprivation to the unimpeachable  population of Medellin. Pablo was to be found and then shot dead on the rooftop of his apartment on the 2nd of December, 1993. After his last breath, it ended all chaos.The whole city of Medellin suddenly changed as soon as he died, no more gunmen working for him, no more bombings, no more violence, the storm has now passed and it is now time for a new chapter to start in the city with amazing qualities.People are so happy, drugs aren’t the primary source of the cities income and businesses and local food suppliers are now available for the public, adequately meaning that food is now available to get and that the local government is now receiving legal income which results in now safer communities because of higher expenditure in policing around the now safer city of Medellin. The city is not only safer, but now happier.Observing the surroundings around me, the realisation hit that the terrifying sounds of bombing and human death have now been replaced with the gentle, chirping bird songs and the reassuring squawking of parrots up high in the trees. While foregoing children were to be crying of fear and unease, they are now contented and cheerful. Parents with fear for themselves and their youthful offspring have now been substituted with parents that are free of anxiety and unconcerned of violence for their children. It truly surprises me that times change so quickly and that kids nowadays are much happier and take their non violent lives for granted, which is completely different to when I was a small child, begging for Pablo Escobar’s chaos to end however, the alluring, beautiful city of Medellin is now traceless of any sort of violence and that despite individuals that were affected similarly by Pablo’s mayhem as myself seem to have forgotten and moved on from it, which seems to be more difficult for me as I can’t forget the terrifying images of my father on the old VHS TV. These times were truly horrible for both me and my father and he will be truly remembered as a brave man that was trying to survive by providing food for him and his 12 year old son. It was very difficult for me, as a 12 year old boy to spend the most of my time during this period alone, cold and without a loving and protecting father. Pablo can never be forgotten for the important asset he has taken from my life. However, after my father’s death, I had become a much braver, one minded person that learned from themselves and not from a father.I was rescued by the United Nations on the 31st of March 1991 and was sent to a foster home in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Life here is much better and to this day I still live here with my two children, and my beautiful wife, Karen. The drug-fuelled cadillac has abruptly come to a halt, the loud speakers of chaos have fallen silent. Perhaps Medellin now has a future and an innocent kid like I once was doesn’t have to experience the hysterical sounds and brutality of a vicious drug-soaked city ever again and an innocent, harmless child like I once was doesn’t have to experience such scarring, brutality ever again.