Seven years ago, Columbia. A 22 year old Dutch young woman visiting is struck by social injustice, poverty and the freedom fighters of the FARC, the guerrilla army. In a haze of admiration and sincere drive to improve the world through stronger means, she decides to join, working as a translator and soldier. Slowly but surely she sees the FARC is a shadow of its ideals. A bunch of self enriching crooks in charge, “cannon meat” at the bottom, entirely corrupt, dangerous. It’s a constant “being hunted” by the Columbian Army (not the nicest lot either). She lost all contact with her parents at home of course. They know what she’s doing, but keeping it hush to not endanger her life. As it turns out later, she does write a diary, as I guess lots of soldiers do, using the name “Eileen”.

Tanja Niemeijer

Nov. 24, 2006: I’m tired, tired of the FARC, tired of the people, tired of communal life. Tired of never having anything for myself. It would be worth it if we knew why we were fighting. But the truth is I don’t believe in this anymore. What kind of organization is this, where some have money, cigarettes, candy, and the rest have to beg, only to be rejected or met with grumbling? This is how it was when I arrived almost four years ago, and it hasn’t changed.

I want to leave here, at least this unit. But for the time being, you know that you’re more or less a prisoner. What can you do? I don’t want to hear any more about being a communist, being honest, not wasting, being obedient. And then see how hypocritical the commanders, like braggarts and traitors, showing no mercy if you dare to criticize them.

Fast forward seven years. A FARC jungle camp is raided by the army. The guerrilla’s flee hastily leaving almost everything behind. Including Tanja Niemeijer’s diaries. The diaries are found and not much later, they are published in the newspaper, including the severe criticism on the FARC leadership. It is said the FARC recruits in European countries and part of her diaries were translated and used to smack some sense in people who are contemplating on joining.

For all we know, she has been disarmed and taken into custody for the information leaking she did by leaving her diary behind. Normally, FARC executes soldiers, but it is reported “as she is a foreigner” that will not happen.