Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: Nudity: A gateway to peace?

It’s been a difficult few weeks with the constant news of terrorism and the threat of war. You’ve also seen the international movement to bring peace to those conflicts currently taking place in Europe. But there is another effort you may not know about that’s trying to promote peace in a different part of the world, and one that as a lesbian I can get behind 100 percent. Ladies, it’s an effort you need to support, too.

The drug wars in Colombia are infamous and have been ongoing since the 1960s. Basically, the conflict involves the government in Colombia, crime syndicates, paramilitary groups, and left-wing guerillas, and has killed over 200,000 people and displaced another 5 million. So the hatred is deep-seated.

That’s why a recent photo shoot with a former drug cartel leader and the ex-detective that investigated her gang is catching headlines, and made me nearly spit out my coffee at work when I first laid my eyes on it. This effort to promote peace shows Ana Pacheco and Isabel Londoño posing together, naked.

In the cover shot, Pacheco, a former senior member of the cartel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is naked with her arms and legs over former policewoman Londoño, who is kissing Pacheco’s cheek. The photo is reminiscent of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous naked pose for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Once sworn enemies, the pair agreed to pose like this in the Colombian magazine SoHo. Other photos included in the shoot show the women standing topless in an embrace, and pressing against one another wearing white, sweaty tank tops. Oh my.

But this wasn’t a reunion that they expected or initially felt comfortable with.

“At first I was surprised when they asked me to pose with hardly any clothes on with a guerrilla,” Londoño told The Daily Mail, “But I liked the message and we in Colombia are so used to strong images that we needed to do something shocking to reach the people and show them there is a way to peace.”

Pacheco told local media that although her initial reaction was one of hesitation, she decided to accept the invitation. “It’s been very important for my life, the image is about being at peace, and what’s more beautiful than two women from the opposite sides doing it. It’s time to ask for forgiveness from those I hurt during my time as a guerrilla.”

As much as I enjoy these photos, I hate to report that the two are not lovers in real life. In her interview, Pacheco says her husband has been really supportive about her career choice to continue modeling. Oh well.

Still, in this time of sadness SoHo’s effort is a nice respite from the contrary images of despair and disgust I’ve been seeing for far too long. My lesbian sisters and I will appreciate this display of togetherness, but what has the reception been in South America to these attractive women tangled up with little or no clothes on?

One reader of the magazine commented, “This is the peace we want in Colombia.”

I add with arms open, “En Estados Unidos tambien.” (In The United States also.)