Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rape in Congo

I attended a video about war and rape in Congo. There is an important material for cell phones and other electronic devices, Coltan, found in Congo. Approximately 1 million dollars worth of this material is stolen every day; therefore, there is an ongoing civil war in this country which became independent just a few years ago. This country has had a sad history of conquers by other countries, and slavery. This is related to Hemingway’s short story Hills like White Elephants, Emily Dickinson’s Tell all the truth but tell it slant-- and I heard a Fly buzz—when I died.
Hemingway’s story is about a couple, they are going to Madrid so that the girl can get an operation, her husband is trying to get her to do it, but she does not really want to. When I first read this, I remembered, “The Birthmark”, we can see the pressure on women, even if it is not their fault. During the video I saw, I heard many sad stories of women who suffer daily, because they get raped by soldiers. This has not only become a health issue because of AIDS, but also a psychological issue in this country, many times society in this country discriminates against these innocent women. Many blame themselves for getting raped and, they suffer constantly because they have become a target of war. If we relate this to Hemingway’s story, we can see that there is oppression from men towards women to serve them in some way, during Hemingway’s story I thought that the operation the girl was going to have was some kind of plastic surgery that her husband wanted for pleasure. We can see that he is making her do something she does not want, which is what is happening in these times of war.
Now, in Emily Dickson’s poem “Tell all the truth but tell it slant”, the lines that call my attention are the last two
“The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—“.
What was she trying to say through this? I think that she was saying we should tell the truth even if it is hard, maybe we can find different ways to do it, but if someone does not do it, then that person must be blind. I personally agree with her, we should always be in a healthy environment, not like all these people who have been suffering the consequences of war for economic reasons. I remember they interviewed a group of rapists and they said that they did it because they wanted women to suffer the same way they did because of war; I thought they were not telling the truth, their situation is blinding all of them.
In “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died” also by Emily Dickinson, there is a vision of death, someone is dying and even if the death is painless, there is a certain image of how awful it is to die. In Congo many women die, but it is nothing like it is described in this poem; there is a lot of pain that these women have to go through. I remember the part when they told us that they get raped with foreign objects and their internal organs get damaged, so they die in really painful ways. In the poem, Dickinson focuses on the fly at the end, it is what the speaker feels before s/he dies, I can relate to this in Congo because it is a country found in the tropics, it is a place in which there are lots of animals and insects, and for many women in this country, this might be their last sight before they die.
When I saw this video, I realized how many bad things happen because of money, many people suffer and we hear sad stories. People have written poems, stories and novels and movies have been filmed in which we can see all this suffering. We are in a community of Jesuits and we learn different values that lead us to act the right way, that’s why we don’t see the same kind of suffering, we should provide people with our knowledge and let all of them know that we are here and that we can help. We are very lucky to be here and we should take advantage of everything we have. And we always have to remember to tell the truth, like Dickinson says in her poem, or we will end up blind too.

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