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Colombian FARC Rebels Take Mannequin Challenge


BOGOTAFreeze! The Mannequin Challenge, the latest internet craze where groups of people make a video of themselves frozen in time, has an unlikely new participant: the Colombian rebel army FARC.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has spent much of the past half-century waging a bloody insurgency and holding hostages for years at a time, is now expected to disarm and disband as part of a long-awaited peace deal in the Latin American country. Apparently in search of ways to soften their image, the Communist rebels have now turned to the viral Mannequin Challenge, which has been taken up by groups of people on social networks, as well as notables like Hillary Clinton and British singer Adele.

Ahead of their planned disarmament and transfer to rehabilitation centers, FARC members are effectively recording some final moments of their hitherto clandestine lives in jungle camps, with frozen shots of fighters handling tools, playing chess, cooking or cutting hair in a makeshift barber shop.

FARC has turned to social networks like Twitter to communicate their messages and ideology in recent years, but now are focused on using them to help reconcile millions of Colombians with the idea of their reintegration into civilian life. The Mannequin Challenge follows other recent PR efforts, including guerrillas singing the Colombian national anthem, paying homage to the late Fidel Castro — whose regime mediated in their peace talks — and guerrillas singing Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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