Tuesday, June 28, 2016

zonas veredales transitorias de normalización: rural township based temporary normalization zones

I am thrilled by the recent break through in the Colombian peace negotiations, and spent several hours last Thursday getting weepy while watching the telesur live feed of the signing of the cease fire. Finally! The end of fighting in the world's longest war!

One of the things that they established was the process by which arms would be handed over. These zones are one of the two sorts of areas where 7,000 to 8,000 FARC guerrillas will spend 6 months demobilizing once the final peace accords are signed. Never in the Americas has a group this large demobilized, nor has it ever been done this quickly. Adding to the challenge, they will be demobilizing while other armed groups are still operating, and looking to move in on the areas that they have controlled (both neo (or post) paramilitaries and the ELN guerrillas). This peace transition is going to be difficult, and it can use all of the support and attention we can give it.

One of the ways we can support this process is by translating the terms involved clearly in ways that are more easily understandable to an English speaking audience. I'm also geeking out on this term because I am a geographer.

I noticed that Adam Isaacson first rendered these as “Temporary Hamlet Zones for Normalization” - but later when he tweeted this map, they had been simplified to simply Temporary Normalization Zones". It's important to clarify that the zones will not take up the entire areas in red here, only some small part of each, since there are many veredas in a municipio. He used the false cognate here municipalities, but as you can see from their size, they are quite large, and I translate the Colombian term municipio as county. You can have townships in a county, but you wouldn't expect to have a hamlet in a municipality. Maybe that's why he dropped the term on the map? You also wouldn't expect a hamlet to be a legal entity, or for there to be thousands of them, as there are veredas in Colombia. I also imagine a hamlet to be quite small, but a vereda can actually cover a fair bit of area, with scattered homes throughout. Often these are not gathered into any kind of village as the term hamlet might make you think. I have in the past posted here my argument for translating the Colombian term vereda as township, but I have since had people tell me that there are both urban and rural townships in English. Since the Colombian vereda is rural, I have added that term here for clarity, but I think it would work without the rural if space or time is an issue.  

Thoughts? Comments?