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Enrique's Shadow - Searching for my Brother for 25 years

Born in Southern Columbia, Enrique was only 15 years old when he went missing. This is his story, and the story of his family who searched for him for over twenty-five years. From just 10 years old Enrique worked hard to support his family. At 15 Enrique travelled to the town of Calmar, seven hours away from home. Living in a conflict zone was frightening for Enrique and his family and his mother was very worried about him.

When Enrique didn’t come to the phone, just a few days after leaving home, his mother, father and sister went looking for him. They were informed by terrified locals that masked men had come and taken Enrique away. Through persistent questioning Enrique’s mother discovered that it was likely that he was either taken to become a rebel soldier or killed.

Enrique’s mother searched for him over many years, even risking her life by taking his photo to members of the armed groups and questioning them. Enrique’s family never gave up on the hope of finding him. In 2013 they reported him to the Red Cross Missing Persons Programme and still attend a support group there.

Enrique's Shadow was commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross to celebrate the International Day of the Disappeared.

Discussion Points

  1. What are your initial reflections on Enrique’s Shadow? How do the family’s experiences differ from what you hear in the media?

  2. How and why did Enrique disappear?

  3. How have Jacinta (Enrique’s sister) and her mother adapted to what has happened to them? How do you think they feel?

  4. What would you have done similarly or differently in their situation?

  5. How should victims of armed conflict such as Jacinta and her mother be treated by their government?

  6. The conflict has been going on for over 50 years in Colombia – what do you think it is like having to live with the threat of violence every day?

  7. How did the authorities treat Jacinta and her mother?

  8. How does the media report these issues in different contexts?

  9. Is it always easy to spot when a news article is biased?

  10. How are you different, and similar to Jacinta and her mother?

 

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