Hearts of Darkness
October 7, 2007 9:00 PM Subscribe
posted by sy (38 comments total)
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about rape in the Eastern Congo, (nytimes, bugmenot here
) makes for hard and disturbing, yet important, reading.
In addition to the stories reported, one paragraph from the article stayed with me: "Many Congolese aid workers denied that the problem was cultural and insisted that the widespread rapes were not the product of something ingrained in the way men treated women in Congolese society. 'If that were the case, this would have showed up long ago,' said Wilhelmine Ntakebuka, who coordinates a sexual violence program in Bukavu."
I understand the work these sentences are trying to do, allowing the Times
to bear witness to rape without letting its readers draw easy conclusions about the "savagery" of distant, alien Africans. But I wonder if a better way to do this, though beyond the scope of a newspaper article, might have been to reflect on the ubiquity and ineradicability of violence in all times and places, from the Mongols
to John Atchison
. My hope is that, if we all hold the possibility for so much evil within us, that the places that seem most wretched must also hold the seeds of resilience and recovery.