Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Battle of the Urban Tribes


Skinheads walk thru Teusaquillo. Notice that the guy in the foreground is dark-skinned. 
Skinheads group up near the Santa Ana church. 
One of these guys wore a 'Good night white pride' t-shirt. 
While pedaling thru the ordinarily quiet and stately Teusaquillo neighborhood during today's May Day bike tour we encountered these groups of youths with cropped hair and dark jackets stampeding thru the streets. What were they doing?
They were gangs of skinheads, a weird and disturbing phenomenon in Colombia, facing off against each other. 

The skinheads take off in pursuit after the enemy band. 
The youths charged thru the streets, meeled about in the neighborhood's small park and then took off north again, yelling and swinging sticks at each other. They reminded me of packs of dogs, insects or some other supposedly 'lower' sort of animal which fights unthinkingly in packs.
The cops show up, but just a few of them. 
Bystanders and police whom I approached shrugged off the commomotion. These were only 'urban tribes,' they said. In fact, they were gangs of ideologically opposed skinheads: communists vs. anti-communists, some of them probably on their way home from the Primero de Mayo demonstration. 


The skinheads run thru the small nearby park.
In the confusion, I wasn't sure how many
groups, or 'Urban Tribes,' were here. 
This park has a small police station,
but the cops understandably felt outnumbered. 
I suspect, however, that these kids have little real ideology, but are instead acting out primordial instincts to join a group, adopt a label and lash out against those who are different. Rather than 'communist' vs. 'anti-communist', they might just as well have been fans of rival football teams, whom I have also seen fighting in public. 
Even so, I was comforted to see one of the skinheads wearing a t-shirt with the anti-racist song title 'Good Night White Pride,' altho that song, ironically, contains the lines 
One group chased their rivals out of the park and to the north. 
'You pick on the weak...You`re only strong in groups...Can`t do shit on your own'; sentiments which, I suspect, could apply equally well to either side in this fight. 

Caught one! Cops catch a member of one of the gangs. 
Fortunately, like two packs of dogs, these guys concentrated on each other and ignored the rest of us.
After waiting for reinforcements, the police arrived and herded the skinheads away. I don't know how it all ended. 

You're caught, dude. But he's the only one. 
Fortunately, too, these violent extremists are only a tiny group in Colombia, where most people are probably of mixed ethnic heritage. 


Neighbors watch from their windows. 
After the gangs had run off, these kids showed up and sang this anti-violence rap song. Nice. These same kids performed for us a few days ago in the Central Cemetery.




By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours



15 comments:

mauricio forero l said...

Unbelievable!! A group of dark skin, mix race skinheads??? Do they know the philosophy behind this word??? Once I had the opportunity to see a group of skinheads in Hamburg and they look very stupid, but these morons in Bogota are totally a new experience.

Mauricio Forero.

Miguel said...

I thnk those are the 'anti-racist' skinheads.

Mike

mauricio forero l said...

By the way Miguel,today is my birthday, I'm 49 now, f...ck I feel so old.


M.F.

Miguel said...

Happy birthday! We're all getting older.

mike

Carl Meek said...

Yeah I happen to know a few of these guys and they call themselves 'skins' but they are totally opposed to the notorious neo-nazi skinheads. They are following a fashion revival of the punk rock / ska music scene from England in the 1980's. Perhaps this altercation was a stand off between the two groups. BTW - yesterday was also my birthday!
Carl

Miguel said...

Yes, that was apparently what was going on, altho I didn't see any of the neo-Nazi skinheads, perhaps because they were outnumbered.

What I wonder is how much principle is actually involved in this - how many of these guys be in the opposite group if they'd just happened to grow up in another neighborhood, or fallen in with different friends?

Happy birthday to you, too.

Mike

JuanD77 said...

I had to mess with people like Mauricio Forero every day, they think they know the truth about what skinhead means, here is one video I know it would make you think about skinhead´s concept.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufKb5M9Uj4E

ElGordo said...

I´m going to tell you something that none of you know about that fight. Almost a month ago from that day, two of the red skins murdered, with no reason, one of the SHARP member, but you all think this happened because we are stupid and animals but we aren´t and also you thint you know everything but you don´t so don´t call us morons for reasons that you think are enough to do it.

Mik said...

Hey Mike, I am actually from Bogota and have been living in NYC since I was 20. I am 30 now and I am a dark skinned skinhead, an ANTIFASCIST SKINHEAD. As such I would like to invite you, and every other person who's commented on this, to REALLY look into the history of the skinhead subculture. Many here will find that many of you are ignorant about the subculture and whether this kids really have an ideology or not. Look up R.A.S.H Bogota.

Mik said...

I would also suggest that you look up something called Reggae Britannia.

Miguel said...

Thanks for your comments Mik. I'll look those things up. However, I'd thot that S.H.A.R.P. were the anti-racist skinheads.

Mike

Bernando said...

There is no such thing as an anti-racist skinehad or a racist skinhead for that matter. A skinhead is a skinhead and has nothing to do with politics. It's like saying someone is an anti-terrorist muslim.... Why would he do that since him being a muslim has nothing to do with terrorism in the first place.
The day skinheads stop excusing themselfs for what they are and leave their politics in the voting-both is the day the culture will be sure to prosper

Miguel said...

Hi Bernardo,

Thanks for your comment, but I'm afraid that there many racist skinheads. And also anti-racist skinheads, who probably are the exception to the skinhead norm.

Regards,

Mike

Mosher666thrash said...

Gosh its idiot people like mauricio i can't stand! why do you deny the good? Why do you stand for the bad? I expected better from older people and especially in this time period. use your common sense for once and maybe there won't be so much confusion. but other than that i think these skins are doing a great thing by teaching a lesson to those reds

Vlad Soviet said...

Que pena con ustedes que tiene una perspectiva de este echo, estos dos grupos luchan por el anti-racismo. la pelea se genero solo porque habían roces personales y hubo ese encuentro, los dos grupos estaban en la misma marcha luchando por el orgullo obrero. nadie es Nazi por favor debería saber que es lo que publica, las fotos no lo dicen todo.