THROWING STONES AT THE MOON: NARRATIVES FROM COLOMBIANS DISPLACED BY VIOLENCE

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For nearly five decades, Colombia has been embroiled in internal armed conflict among guerrilla groups, paramilitary militias, and the country’s own armed forces. Civilians in Colombia face a range of abuses from all sides, including killings, disappearances and rape—and more than four million have been forced to flee their homes. The oral histories in Throwing Stones at the Moon describe the most widespread consequence of Colombia’s human rights crisis: forced displacement. Narrators recount life before displacement, the reasons for their flight, and their struggle to rebuild their lives.

This project, and the work of Voice of Witness, is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

You can download free curriculum for this book here.

Voice of Witness is a non-profit organization that uses oral history to illuminate contemporary human rights crises in the U.S. and around the world. Founded by author Dave Eggers and physician/human rights scholar Lola Vollen, Voice of Witness publishes a book series that depicts human rights injustices through the stories of the men and women who experience them. The Voice of Witness Education Program brings these stories, and the issues they reflect, into high schools and impacted communities through oral history-based curricula and holistic educator support.

Praise for Throwing Stones:

“Here are the real and unforgettable voices of Colombia’s long nightmare. They tell us of normal lives shattered by trauma, suffering, violence, and redeemed by love, resilience, courage or hard-earned wisdom. I read these oral tales with a knot in my stomach, frightened and moved, and finally amazed by this lesson: when people find the strength to tell us what has happened to them, no matter how horrendous, a terrible yet universal beauty somehow emerges, always casting light on the mystery of being human.”
—Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name

“The truth about the endless violence that has driven four million Colombians from their homes is, beyond doubt, one of the greatest untold stories of our generation. We are indebted to the editors of Throwing Stones at the Moon: Narratives from Colombians Displaced by Violence for recording the courageous stories of survivors across this beautiful and deeply troubled country. May their invaluable testimonies get the attention they deserve, and thus break the silence.”
—Jan Egeland, Former UN Under Secretary General and Envoy to Colombia

“Outside the U.S. media’s lights and whir, the largest crisis in the world of forced displacement from home is taking place in Colombia. Throwing Stones at the Moon makes it personal through these narratives of loved and difficult life, vivid and specific to Colombia’s places and to the families torn and struggling amid the long war. Brodzinsky and Schoening convey these people’s tender and bitter stories, of resilience and loss, of cruelty and solidarity, in their own full voices. Stories that don’t end with an act of violence, but that call out for compassion, and for justice.”
—John Lindsay-Poland, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Fellowship for Reconciliation

“The soon-to-be-released book, Throwing Stones At The Moon (Voice of Witness, 2012) reads like a collection of literary short stories, but, in this case, the stories are both real and horrifying. The stories of those gathered in Moon are told by the Colombian victims of human rights abuses themselves…Given that these voices are rarely heard, this book is invaluable.”
Huffington Post

“Brodzinsky and Schoening have compiled a useful, moving set of oral histories. Death threats, forced planting of coca, bombings, maiming by mines, deliberate dismemberment, assassination of trade unionists and people seeking government redress and protection, and persecution of Colombian refugees who fled to Ecuador—these stories express a horrific experience and plea for humanitarian intervention. [An] extensive, poignant study.”
Kirkus

“Human rights journalists Brodzinsky and Schoening geographically organize intimate oral histories from individuals living through pervasive violence among Colombia’s drug cartels, military forces, and rebels. Often astonishing quotes double as headings…piquing readers’ curiosity and conscience…Readers concerned with human rights and Latin American politics will find this account of violence and survival both sad and inspiring.”
Publishers Weekly