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honor.

10 January 2008

i live a very secure life. i have my moments of personal insecurity–as many as most, a few less than some, a few more than others. i’ve experienced enough cognitive dissonance to spin me into depression that has kept me from fully functioning. but i live a very secure life. i know there are evil people in my world–not the world, my world. i’m sure there are people in my community who have committed unspeakable acts. i may have even encountered them. but i do not fear that evil. that’s not to say that i don’t take reasonable precautions or that i live in a self-generated bubble in which i think i could never be the victim of an unspeakable act. it’s simply to say that such unspeakable acts are not a daily reality i must confront.

on tuesday, as i listened to my usual dose of NPR while getting ready for the day, i heard a story about healing women and children who have been raped as an act of war, followed by a story about an american doctor affiliated with harvard who has tried to help her congolese colleagues. when the story started, my tendency to socially conscious outrage was immediately piqued. as was my academic interest in feminism and women’s issues. but i couldn’t maintain the distance necessary to have those reactions. these stories recounted such unadulterated evil that there was no way i could simply listen in outrage and interest. instead i stopped what i was doing, sat down and cried as i listened to stories about women and girls–little girls of 10 or 11–who had been brutally violated as an act of war. and about people who give everything to help them.

those 15 minutes of radio time forced me to realize how very secure my life is. and how very helpless i feel about making any difference. i don’t know yet what i can do–which organizations i can support, what work i could do remotely, how i can speak up about the cause to my own government. i plan to find out and, when i do, i’ll share what i learn. but in the mean time, i’m asking you to take 15 minutes and listen. it will be hard. these are devastating stories. but please–honor these women and girls, and the people trying to help them, enough to know their stories.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 January 2008 1:47 pm

    I too have heard stories of women…in Darfur (sp) and have wondered what I can do. Looking forward to when you find out! I’ll listen to the story when I don’t have my little ones running at my feet!

  2. 12 January 2008 9:36 am

    I had a similar experience when hearing the story of a little boy named Youssif, his face and body horrifically burned and disfigured, in Iraq. I cried while at the gym–at suddenly felt so guilty and disgusted with myself for having a gym membership, for owning a new car–and owning any luxury item (luxury being anything besides eating and a roof over my head). Living in So. Cal is disturbing on so many levels. I’m in education to try to do something.I’m so with you, I want to spend my entire life making a difference…a big difference.I will definitely listen to this and pass it on. BTW–a great book “Living High and Letting Die.” Related subject. Thanks for the post, and the reminder.

  3. 12 January 2008 10:57 am

    Thank you for this post.

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