Fearless Witnesses Gain Victory
SOMETHING new was thrust into the fight against Jehovah’s witnesses in Colombia in April, 1957. It was mob action. But also new was the support given them by the authorities.
The scene was a village of about 6,000, in the hills of the state of Bolívar, about thirty miles from the city of Cartagena. All day long the two special representatives of the Watch Tower Society assigned to that city had heard ominous threats as they engaged in preaching from house to house. Unfrightened, they continued to preach till the close of day, when they returned home, barricaded their doors and then, after supper, continued in personal study.
As it got dark the mobsters, who had threatened “to visit the Protestants tonight,” came. Hundreds of them, stocky men, church women, schoolteachers and students. Excitedly they shouted out: “We don’t want the Protestants,” “Out with the Protestants,” “We are Roman Catholics!” They began pelting the house with rocks. Neighbors questioned the mobsters as to the reason for all this violence and finally persuaded them to leave. The mobsters, however, vowed to come back the next night.
The next morning the witnesses phoned the Watch Tower Society’s headquarters office, advising them of the situation, which at once made arrangements to investigate. The local mayor was called on. He was surprised to see them but would give no assurance of protection. So the state officials in Cartagena were visited. While the governor was not at home, the acting governor was, and he at once ordered a radio patrol car and five armed police to accompany the witnesses back to the town where the mob action had occurred.
The arrival of the armed state police was something new and startled the vicinity where the witnesses lived. The mobsters, too, apparently were properly impressed, for they failed to make good their threats to return that night. Investigating the situation, the police found that, according to the neighbors, a schoolteacher, a Catholic priest and even the mayor were involved in the mob action. The state police warned the mayor not to let such a thing happen again and then left.
When the mayor was again interviewed by the witnesses they found him a changed man, ready to listen and co-operative. The school director was also visited and the matter was squarely put up to her. She likewise now respected the rights of Jehovah’s witnesses and promised to lecture the other teachers and the students that very afternoon on proper conduct and respect for others.