For Colombians of my generation, it is hard to conceive of Colombia at peace. We were born into the longest-running armed conflict in the Western hemisphere, now in its 52nd year. The protracted war between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) became a distressing, yet routine, backdrop to everyday life.
Over time, the conflict permeated virtually all spheres of Colombian society. Politics turned increasingly toxic. Far-right armed groups emerged to counter the leftist guerrillas. The ideals espoused by FARC became intertwined with drug trafficking. Government forces committed well-documented abuses.
Many of us had relatives killed or kidnapped. Some, like me, fled to seek asylum—in places like Canada.
All in all, the conflict has resulted in more than eight million victims, including the second-largest number of internally displaced persons since the end of the Second World War. Only the war in Syria has produced more.