Tanja Nijmeijer

Tanja Nijmeijer

Dutch revolutionary internationalist
Country: Netherlands

  1. Tania Neymeyer: Dutch Revolutionary Internationalist
  2. From College to Revolutionary
  3. Becoming "Eillen"
  4. A Controversial Figure
  5. The Truth is Revealed
  6. A Reflection of a Wider Trend

Tania Neymeyer: Dutch Revolutionary Internationalist

Tania Neymeyer, a Dutch revolutionary internationalist and partisan translator in the ranks of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP), was born in the Netherlands. After completing college, Neymeyer enrolled at the University of Groningen, where she studied Spanish language and literature, as well as developed an interest in the history of revolutionary movements in Latin America. During her studies, she actively participated in student life, getting acquainted with left-wing activists and engaging in squatting.

From College to Revolutionary

While working on her thesis, which focused on the history of FARC-EP, Neymeyer undertook an internship in Pereira, Colombia, in 2000. During her time there, she participated in the "Caravana por la Vida" campaign, which aimed to draw attention to the struggles of the poor. According to her friends, living in Colombia had a profound impact on Neymeyer and motivated her to join FARC-EP. She felt a sense of shame for living a comfortable life while witnessing the stark inequalities in Colombia.

Becoming "Eillen"

In 2002, after completing her studies, Neymeyer returned to Colombia and established contact with representatives of FARC-EP. She subsequently joined them as a translator under the pseudonym "Eillen" (also spelled as "Eileen" or "Ellen"). In 2007, after an attack on one of the FARC-EP camps, diaries written by the partisan "Ellen" in English, Spanish, and Dutch were seized by the government army. In these diaries, she criticized the FARC-EP leadership, accusing some leaders of wearing Rolex watches while others, including herself, endured the most humiliating deprivations.

A Controversial Figure

The Colombian government launched a propaganda campaign against FARC-EP due to the critical content of Neymeyer's diaries. Parts of her diary entries, along with banknotes found within them, were published in the mainstream press, and the government declared Neymeyer either dead or wounded during the operation. In response to evidence of Neymeyer's continued existence, Fernando Araujo Perdomo, the Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that her life was under threat.

The Truth is Revealed

Raul Reyes, the "Foreign Minister" of FARC-EP, gave an interview to a Dutch television company, stating that his organization had no grievances against Neymeyer, and FARC-EP would facilitate her meeting with her family. Additionally, a video statement from Neymeyer was released on the internet, in which she greeted her relatives and assured them that she was safe. Following these developments, the government-controlled media reported that the banknotes in the diary entries were burned and not on a laptop, and that the female FARC-EP unit, during the attack, fled into the jungle while bathing naked.

A Reflection of a Wider Trend

Neymeyer's case is not unique. According to experts, at least 18 Europeans from left-wing organizations and squats in Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Greece have fought alongside FARC-EP since 2000.