MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA – August 11th, 2010
What is punk? A question I’ve been trying to answer since I began this journey to document the punk scene the world over, beginning with Central & South America.
I wrote a little post about my pre-formed thoughts on the subject a few weeks ago and if you missed it, well you can check it HERE.
While I’m no closer to one answer for the one question “what is punk” than I was when I began this enterprise almost one year ago, I feel I have come closer to understanding in a general way what punk means to different people regardless of their geography.
Fighting the status quo and for your rights no matter the obstacles and danger seems to be one theme that I’m finding over and over again and it is especially prevalent in Latin America.
The people of the Castilla barrio in Medellin, Colombia seem to represent this ideal as well as any group of people I’ve met so far.
If you were following our journey back in July, you know that I was in Medellin and covered the “Sin Armas” (No Weapons) Parade and Music Festival.
My amigos Los Suziox played the concert that night in the pouring rain to a drenched but completely enthusiastic crowd, who were rallying to the cry of “No More Violence” in an attempt to take back their neighborhood from the violent gangs and narco traffickers. If you missed the article you can catch it HERE.
Well, now I’m back in Medellin, working on a few projects with Los Suziox, and the guys were kind enough to invite me yesterday to another event in Castilla. This one was a “Sin Armas” protest, staged by some concerned citizens and punk rockers who dressed as military clowns to protest the violence and drug war in their neighborhood.
It was a small contingent of people gathering mid afternoon and mid week to protest in the daytime what goes on in the neighborhood during the night time; violence and shootings that too often injure or even claim the lives of innocent citizens who are just trying to live, work and raise families.
Punk Outlaw was there to document the proceedings. We gathered some good footage for the upcoming music video for Los Suziox for their song “Armas Silenciosas” (Silent Arms) but more importantly, I hope we lent some very real moral support.
Even though it was broad daylight and I had my friends with me, I have to tell you on more than one occasion when I first arrived it crossed my mind that someone in these violent gangs not happy with what we were doing could exact their revenge on us and probably easily get away with it. There were no police in sight.
Paranoid? Probably. But as the only Gringo around and one of only two video cameras rolling, I felt like I had a big target on my back.
But I also felt like I had lots of friends who had my back and after an hour of so of filming the protests, felt completely at ease and more supportive than ever. I admire the efforts for the fine people of Castilla to take to the streets and reject the violence that has plagued their community for too long.
This post is not our typical interview, photos or videos or concert coverage of the punk scene in some far off country I’m visiting.
This post is more of a tribute to the people I’ve gotten to know over the past 6 months quite well, the good people of Castilla and surrounding areas in Medellin, Colombia; some of the bravest, friendliest and punkest people I have had the honor to meet.