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EL ESPECTADOR

Colombian FARC Rebels Take Mannequin Challenge

Screenshot
Screenshot

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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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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