Thursday, December 15, 2016

They found Peace

                            War is over? Wouldn’t that be nice to hear all over the world?  Well this Christmas we can say that it is over in South America. For more than half a century Columbia has been one of the most violent and isolated countries on earth. Can I really go there now to enjoy a cup of the best coffee in the world in peace? For the last 50 years Columbia has been known more for cartels, kidnapping and drug trafficking. Who finally cleaned up the place? It was the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia or FARC that fought the longest war in the western hemisphere until recently. What made them put down their guns and behave better? How do you end a 52 year war that left 220,000 dead and millions of families displaced? The army’s only focus was to overthrow the government. Billions of United States dollars helped but the government tried the most unusual ways of modern warfare. An advertising campaign was launched to attract the soldiers with some acts of humanity. Suddenly beauty and peace is attractive to a rebel army? Can this be done in Syria and with ISIS?
The Columbian government tried something new. They hired an advertising executive to get the FARC army’s attention. He did it with Christmas Trees and Soccer balls to convince the rebels to give up and go away without a single shot fired. Let’s try this in all police departments then. This sounds like something happening in a fictional movie but it is true. His name is Jose Miguel Sokoloff who is the creative genius who convinced a government to deal with the problem his way. All advertisers are experts in getting your attention to then buy something. He wanted their attention to listen to something.  In 2010 they launched operation Christmas. They went into enemy territory and found Christmas trees and fitted them with lights and motion detectors that would set them off.
They put up signs that said,  “ If Christmas can come to the Jungle, then you can come home.” At Christmas everything is possible. Roughly 5% of the army came forward. The focus was to demobilize as many soldiers they can. So they put more lighted trees till they all left for their willing families and put their guns down. Then they wrote letters and gave gifts and floated them in the rivers and streams. This attracted even more soldiers to simply put down the guns and go home. The President of Columbia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for ending the war. Just beautiful moving lights in the waters and twinkling trees made them all suddenly cherish their lives in their country.

They tried stickers on trees and beams of lights anything to intrigue the soldiers and to think of something other than death. Nothing worked more powerfully than when they had the mothers of soldiers say come home to sons they haven’t seen in w20 years. Fliers with the mothers pictures with their sons were placed all over the jungle on clothes lines. That touched the men to put down the gun and go home. Soccer was a very successful campaign.  They loaded signed soccer balls of famous players in helicopters and made the soldiers feel the rain of the balls.  They had stickers with the message go home and let’s play again. Leagues were formed as the men came home to play and Columbia smells of great coffee again.
Coumbia's spirit once dead by war has risin again. In the last 10 years international investment is up by 100%. Tourism is up by 240%. It used to be the murder capitol of the world at 6,000 per year. Now people party all night long in safety. Now they built escalators up the mountainsides to assist the poor s well as the wealthy people.
It is strange that most advertisors want to retain clients, in this case the advertisors want to get rid of the violent soldiers they attracted. 

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