They Shot Galán

A los hombres se les puede eliminar,
pero a las ideas no.
— Luis Carlos Galán

A woman closes the door to her children’s bedroom—her children sleep peacefully—and sits down in a white sofa. After a long day of work, she finally has some time to relax, a little moment of quiet to start enjoying the weekend.
A red robot that her youngest kid had been playing with wobbles but stays put as she grabs it from the floor and stands it by her cup in the coffee table. As she leans closer to her tea, to drop on a tray a few cookie crumbs she found in the sofa, the soothing scent of jasmine reaches her.
She grabs the remote and presses a button. The TV comes on brightly, the evening news.
“Ay,” she cries. Her mouth opens wide and she brings her palm to her lips. “¡Dios mio!”
It takes her some time to find the strength to spit any words. “¡Roberto! ¡Roberto!” she finally manages.
He’s in the kitchen, downstairs. He lowers the volume of the music. “Yeah? Are you calling me?”
“¡Dios mio!”
The urgency of her tone sinks in. “What happened?”
At that very moment their three phones start ringing loudly through their apartment. Who could be calling at this hour? It must be important! He walks right by one but ignores it and rushes to his wife.
“¡Mierda, mierda, mierda!” she says.
“Are you okay?” He starts walking the flight of stairs up to her, carrying a rag he was using to dry dishes.
“Roberto! They shot Galán!” She shakes back and forth a few times and tears rush up to her eyes.
The man stumbles as he reaches the end of the stairs, as if there had been one more step. “What? What are you saying?”
He regains his composure as he takes in her distress. Her hands are now covering her face; she’s looking in horror at the screen between her fingers and through her tears.
He turns to face the screen, where they show, once again, footage of Galán’s final moments: walking to a stage, waving at crowds; finally on the stage, about to give a speech to thousands of people; bullets raining on him, bodies crumbling on the floor.
The phones ring relentlessly.
A door opens and a boy in his pajamas comes out from his bedroom dragging a teddy bear. The commotion woke him up.
“Mommy, what’s going on?” He has never seen his mother cry before. He will never again see her so flustered. “Are you okay?”
The TV babbles tirelessly, against the loud clanging of the phones, as he was giving a speech in Soacha. We have uncorroborated reports that he...
“Ay, baby, it’s nothing, come here,” she says, dragging him to her and holding him tight, pressing him against her bosom, fighting her tears. The teddy bear falls down, bounces from the sofa and ends up under the coffee table. Why is his mother crying?
The phones finally stop ringing.
... in a hospital, we’re trying to learn more about his current state and we’ll let the...
“¡Jueputa!” erupts his father finally, eyes glued to the screen. “Just what we needed.” The rag begins to tear in his hands. “Between the mafiosos and the guerrilleros, this hijueputa country is really going to hell.”
The phones ring again. Fixated on the screen, the father takes a few steps, grabs the receiver, and pushes it to his ear. “Alo?”
In his confusion, the little boy starts crying too. What’s going on? Why is his father talking like that? He tries to look at his father but his mother won’t let go of him.
“Yes, Felipe,” says the father despondent into the phone. He clears his throat. “Thank you. Yeah, we just saw.” He sighs and listens, splitting his attention between the TV and his brother on the phone. “Yes. ¡Hijueputas!”
... here you can see his escorts trying to rescue him and bring him into...
“Mommy, are you okay? What happened?” She’s holding him so hard it’s beginning to hurt. He’s getting very worried.
“I’m okay, mijito. I’m okay.” The woman wipes the tears from her face with her white woolen sleeve and straightens her back. “Nothing’s the matter, just...” She breathes deeply. How is she to explain their anguish to her son?