Apparently, according to German daily newspaper Bild Zeitung and the finely chosen words of scribe Ralf Schuler, I do indeed live in the “most criminal city in the world.”
How unfortunate for Mr. Schuler that during his press trip to Colombia he narrowly escaped being kidnapped by criminal gangs stepping off the jet way upon arrival at the shiny new El Dorado terminal, that he had to hole up in the Bronx where the only respite from the chilly high altitude nighttime bite was the bazuco offered in place of café Quindiano, that he dodged anti-aircraft fire from the FARC as his trip with German President Joachim Gauck took him from the capital to Medellin.
Now the Colombian press has gotten hold of Mr. Schuler’s article. And we like them are asking many of the same questions: “where and what are your sources for this article Mr. Schuler?”
Sunday’s article in El Tiempo is clearly meant to enrage, and it is working, with 541 comments and counting racked up at the base. There are 191 comments presently on the same article on the El Espectador site.
Mr. Schuler, What Have You Done?
Colombians are incredibly sensitive about the sort of criticism that now threatens to sully the careful branding that the country has been harvesting for nearly a decade. Converse with any Colombian and after lauding their country, the food, the people, the beaches and varied attractions, they will also be the first to complain about the insecurity, the corruption, the pollution and so on.
I would like to know how much Mr. Schuler actually knows of Colombia and whether he has been here for longer than the fleeting visit as part of the German President’s press corps. Colombia for a journalist is a hard sell as a good news item and there’s no knowing how long it will take to reverse the negativisms of the past 30 years. But, do we really need another piece of lazy reporting decanting virulent untruths?
So long a byword for cocaine and kidnapping, Colombia is now………. [fill in as you see fit].
But, as one journalist addressing another Mr. Schuler, wouldn’t it have been more challenging and ultimately more satisfying to buck the odds and write about today’s Bogota? Yes, you may be going out on a limb to write well of gritty Bogota, a city not without her problems. But, now you will forever be remembered in the same breath as writer Thomas Kohnstamm (he of the Lonely Planet guidebook scandal).
Now you have scores of resident expat journalists (sensitive pedants) and Colombians on your case. We can all assure you that Bogota is far from being the “most criminal city in the world.”