The Interconnectedness of Violence and Natural Disasters: Lessons from Colombia and Turkey

Pablo Bogoya

Hatched by Pablo Bogoya

Oct 12, 2023

3 min read

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The Interconnectedness of Violence and Natural Disasters: Lessons from Colombia and Turkey

Introduction:

In recent news, two different events have captured the attention of the world - the perpetuation of violence by ex-FARC mafia in Colombia and the devastating earthquake in Turkey. While seemingly unrelated, these events share commonalities that shed light on the complex interplay between societal issues and natural disasters.

1. The Persistence of Violence in Colombia:

In Colombia, the ex-FARC mafia's control over criminal economies, particularly the drug trade, has led to increased violence and exposed political fractures. In departments like Cauca, the struggle for control has resulted in a surge of violence, highlighting the challenges faced by the Colombian government in maintaining peace. Despite the talks of peace, the ex-FARC mafia continues to wage war, exacerbating the already fragile situation.

2. The Aftermath of the Turkish Earthquake:

In Turkey, a devastating earthquake claimed the lives of over 22,000 people. President Erdogan acknowledged the government's delayed response to the disaster, attributing it to the slow pace of search and rescue efforts. The tragedy also saw instances of looting, which further exacerbated the already tense situation. With elections approaching, the disaster has become a political battleground, with Erdogan's opponents criticizing his handling of the crisis.

Common Themes and Interconnectedness:

While seemingly unrelated, the events in Colombia and Turkey share common threads that illustrate the interconnectedness of violence and natural disasters. Both instances highlight the challenges faced by governments in responding adequately to crises, as well as the potential for these events to influence political landscapes.

1. The Fragility of Peace:

In Colombia, the ex-FARC mafia's involvement in criminal activities showcases the fragility of peace agreements. Despite efforts to negotiate peace, the underlying issues and power struggles remain unresolved, leading to the continuation of violence. Similarly, in Turkey, the earthquake exposed the fragility of the government's response, revealing the need for more robust disaster management strategies.

2. Sociopolitical Implications:

Both events have significant sociopolitical implications. In Colombia, the violence perpetrated by the ex-FARC mafia highlights the challenges in achieving lasting peace and the impact it has on political stability. In Turkey, the earthquake has become a political issue, with opponents leveraging the government's response to gain an advantage in the upcoming elections. These events demonstrate how natural disasters can be manipulated for political gain, further complicating the recovery process.

3. Public Perception and Accountability:

The events in Colombia and Turkey have also raised questions about public perception and accountability. In both cases, leaders faced criticism for their handling of the situations, leading to public outrage and demands for accountability. This highlights the importance of transparent and efficient governance in times of crisis, as public trust plays a crucial role in recovery efforts.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Strengthening Peace Processes: In Colombia, the government must address the underlying issues driving the violence perpetrated by ex-FARC mafia. This includes ensuring social and economic opportunities for former combatants, addressing drug trafficking, and promoting inclusive governance to build trust and lasting peace.
  • 2. Disaster Preparedness and Response: The Turkish government should use the earthquake as a catalyst to improve disaster preparedness and response mechanisms. This includes investing in early warning systems, enhancing coordination between government agencies, and prioritizing community resilience through education and infrastructure development.
  • 3. Political Accountability: Both Colombia and Turkey can learn from these events by prioritizing political accountability. Governments must be transparent in their actions, address public concerns promptly, and establish mechanisms to hold leaders accountable for their responses to crises. This will help restore public trust and ensure effective governance during challenging times.

Conclusion:

The events in Colombia and Turkey serve as poignant reminders of the interconnectedness between violence and natural disasters. They highlight the fragility of peace processes, the sociopolitical implications of crises, and the importance of public perception and accountability. By implementing actionable advice to strengthen peace processes, improve disaster preparedness, and prioritize political accountability, governments can navigate these complex challenges more effectively. Only then can societies rebuild and recover, ensuring a safer and more resilient future.

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