Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I thought I had heard the worst humanity is capable of when I researched Darfur.
Then I started reading about the Congo (the DRC).
I confess that I was so immersed in reading everything I could about darfur, that I ignored the congo, except for a cnn piece about a small hospital where women, survivors, sang to try to comfort their souls. But I had no idea what kind of nightmares their souls had been through.
I urge you to read Eve Ensler's article in Glamour. you can find it here. Seriously. Take 10 minutes. Read it.
The atrocities committed against women in the Congo defy language. These women are the battlefield upon which the Congo's civil war is being played out. In the Congo, like in Darfur, these women are not only raped, but raped in front of their children and their husbands. They're raped by multiple men simultaneously, their insides mutilated by being gang raped and raped with guns or sticks, or having a rifle stuck up into their vaginas and discharged. Pregnant women who try to escape while in labor will run for days with a dead baby in their womb. The trauma is catastrophic. Those who survive don't know how to go on with their lives. All this before the question of AIDS enters the picture. Ensler called it "femicide". And it's been going on since 1996. 1996!
I trembled with rage and sadness and rage again as I read this article. It is hard to understand the kinds of devilish things human beings are able to do -- how they turn off their conscience, our sort of "on-star" guide to what is right and what is wrong, and not only choose to do something wrong, but choose to do something so horrifically and unmistakably wrong. I believe in God, a just and compassionate God, and yet, reading things like this make my soul whisper, "why?". The doctor in the article said something I love about how when he sees someone who is hungry or in pain, he can't just quote a Bible verse and tell them to run along -- he has to pair that with an ACTION. But since I am here, in my living room, unable to do much in the way of action, I did find myself turning to the Bible, flipping it open and letting it rest where it may... and this is what it said:
2 Corinthians 4:18
"...we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Not sure that would bring much comfort to those women, although who knows. And I don't include that verse as a reason to let your conscience off the hook, like, "well that stuff doesn't matter, because only eternity matters". It matters. We have to do whatever we can to stop things like this happening when we hear about it; I mean, that's common sense. I don't know. I'm rambling. I'm troubled. I can't get these stories out of my head, or my heart or my tummy. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that these things happen, ARE happening even as I write and as you read. It's hard not to resort to platitudes. It's hard not to get angry and just give up on the world. I've said it before and I'll say it again: PEOPLE SUCK! But I know that doctor is right -- action is the best answer. I'm going to try to find out which NGOs are best-committed to the Congo problem, and I'll post them when I find them. I think you can donate directly to the hospital in the Congo, through Ensler's vday project. I hope you forgive my grandiose tone. I'm just utterly flabbergasted by what I read and I'm attempting to understand it.
Until then, I'll leave you on a lighter note. A cat appeared on the fence today. She looked like she too had been through hell -- her fur was mangled and thin, her frame tiny and protective, her eyes darting and suspicious, but the most beautiful jade green. She didn't run when she saw me, and even allowed me to put a small tub of water in front of her. But with one sniff, she was offended, and darted away. I guess I should have served filtered water. Maybe some Fiji. I considered opening a can of tuna for her, but I didn't know if that was just one of those things that only cartoon cats (Tom and Jerry!) like to eat. I hope she comes back! I was able to snap a pic of her before she ran.
I'll be in a better mood tomorrow.
at 4:45 PM