El Niño in the park. Medellin's bright future
Inscription: "Despite the fear of those years, between bombs and bullets, we continue to find ourselves living and dreaming. We keep hope alive for the future."
The Inflexion Park in Medellin was created to change the focus toward victims and families of violence, and away from the criminals who brought so much terror and fear to this city. It's meant to teach the young, like the boy standing guard by the stele above, that Medellin's history, and all of Colombia's, must never be forgotten, and must never be repeated.
Teach your children
A father shows his young daughter depictions of victims memorialized in the park. On our daily walks there, we often see people with their kids, taking time for such lessons.
The dedication ceremony attracted people of all ages
By destroying the former residence of a notorious drug lord, and replacing the gloomy, fortress-like structure with an island of calm reflection, the city of Medellin chose to look ahead, while changing the narrative of the awful years that once marked this city. Thus the memorial park centers on victims of violence, affirming their lives, and focusing on them.
Cutout puzzle of Parque Inflexión
The puzzle above was part of the dedication ceremony for the park. It's just one of the many gifts and trinkets distributed by the city to attendees that day. Filled with colorful, yet meaningful pieces, the little puzzle features the park's wall of memory, the 'memory tree,' an origami swan evocative of those crafted for Hiroshima Japan, and various artifacts like musical instruments depicting the many public events that will occur here. It was noteworthy that these puzzles had to be assembled by visitors, or better yet their children, and could be built in any of several ways. The symbolism of rebuilding and the future is impossible to miss.
To not forget; to reflect; to renew
This sign on the side of the Monaco was posted, along with several others depicting the message of remembrance, weeks before the old building came crashing down.
Transformation & Renewal: Before & After
I hope you've enjoyed these three posts about Medellin's Parque Inflexión. In the short time we've lived in this vibrant, hopeful city, we've seen so much, and learned so much about the Colombian people that this park and its message don't surprise us. Our former mayor, Federico Gutierrez, spent a lot of time, energy, and resources to make this park a reality. Its dedication was his last official act as mayor of Medellin, and this city is better for his tenure. Here's to the others who were instrumental in not only bringing the park to life, but to giving this city its own life back by renouncing violence and its empty promises, and teaching the kids of Medellin that there's a better way forward.
For those who decide to visit, a bit of advice. Take a cue from folks here in Medellin. Focus on the positive, the hopeful spirit that runs through everything that happens here. Leave the past behind, as they have, and help them create a better, brighter future for themselves and their niños.
Next post: Alumbrada, the holiday lights of Medellin. Thanks for reading.