Boko Haram kidnapped 200 Nigerian school girls a year ago.
They’ve also kidnapped 100s of other Nigerians in the year since.
Kidnapping, slavery, murder and theft seem to be the hallmarks of both Hoko Haram and ISIS.
Boko Haram kidnapped 200 Nigerian school girls a year ago.
They’ve also kidnapped 100s of other Nigerians in the year since.
Kidnapping, slavery, murder and theft seem to be the hallmarks of both Hoko Haram and ISIS.
The work of murdering innocents and destroying civilization continues apace in that part of the world afflicted by Islamic extremists.
Boko Haram’s latest atrocity was to attack a mosque in a village in Northern Nigeria named Njaba. According to witnesses, Boko Haram killers arrived at about 5:30 am and begin firing at people who were going to the community mosque. They specifically singled out men and boys to kill.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, ISIS bulldozed the ancient archeological site of Nimrud. This is part of a series of attacks on ancient structures which are treasure not only of Iraq, but the whole world. ISIS videotaped themselves last year destroying statues and artifacts in the Mosul Museum and also at the ancient Nergal Gate to ancient Nineveh.
From African News:
ABUJA, March 5 (Xinhua) — At least 47 villagers were killed in the latest attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno, one of the three most-hit states by the terror group, a local security source said Thursday.
Ahmed Haruna, a member of the civilian joint task force responsible for the security of lives and property in Damboa area of Borno said suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked Njaba village, about 87 km south of Maiduguri, the state capital, on Tuesday.
The incident was not immediately reported to local officials until Thursday, due to telecommunication challenge in the state, Haruna said.
According to him, a woman who apparently was a survivor of the attack reported the incident in Biu, some 100 km from the Njaba village where the attack took place.
From The New York Times:
BAGHDAD — The Islamic State militant group attacked the ancient archaeological site of Nimrud in northern Iraq and damaged it with heavy vehicles, Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said Thursday.
It was the latest in a series of attacks on ancient structures and artifacts in Syria and Iraq that the group has destroyed in the name of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Last week, Islamic State militants videotaped themselves destroying statues and artifacts in the Mosul Museum and at the Nergal Gate entryway to ancient Nineveh. The militants captured the city during its offensive blitz through much of Iraq last June.
From The New York Times:
ISIS destroys the tomb of Jonah. BAGHDAD — When the Sunni extremists ruling Mosul destroyed the shrine of a prophet whose story features in the traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism — the most important of nearly two dozen marked for destruction by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syriain the first seven weeks of its reign — small groups of residents gathered to mourn.
From New York Times:
ISTANBUL — The reports are like something out of a distant era of ancient conquests: entire villages emptied, with hundreds taken prisoner, others kept as slaves; the destruction of irreplaceable works of art; a tax on religious minorities, payable in gold.
A rampage reminiscent of Tamerlane or Genghis Khan, perhaps, but in reality, according to reports by residents, activist groups and the assailants themselves, a description of the modus operandi of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate this week. The militants have prosecuted a relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria against what have historically been religiously and ethnically diverse areas with traces of civilizations dating to ancient Mesopotamia.
Cardinal Wuerl delivered a powerful homily on the present-day Christian martyrs yesterday.
“We can go out those doors with ashes on our forehead … however … there are parts of the world where that will just as well be a death certificate,” he said.
“There are parts of the world where Christians are regularly martyred. Where their churches are destroyed, their homes burned, their children sold into slavery.
“The first thing we owe our brothers and sisters is a sense of solidarity with them. If they suffer, we should feel that suffering. And we owe them our prayerful support, but we also owe them our voice.
“It has gone on for the longest time, because of the silence. The silence of the world community, the silence of all of us in the face of this extraordinary violence against the Gospel of Jesus Christ”
These are powerful words, but I think we should go a lot further than they ask. We should — at the least — speak often of Christian martyrdom and Christian persecution. We should agitate to allow Christians who are being persecuted to seek asylum in this country. We should gather together in prayer services for persecuted Christians around the world.
We should write about these martyrs. Pray for them. Pray to them. Help the survivors. And get serious with our elected officials who don’t get the message. We are Americans. Our government is us. That means we have immense power to change things, if we will work together, and if we can keep our focus and not lose interest because of the next sensation.
We must not forget our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering and dying for His Name. Remembering is the least, the smallest thing, that we can do.
From Catholic News Agency:
Washington D.C., Feb 18, 2015 / 06:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholics owe solidarity, prayer and a voice against injustice to their fellow Christians being martyred and persecuted around the world, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., stressed on Ash Wednesday.
“(W)e can go out those doors with ashes on our forehead” as a public display of faith, the cardinal said. However, “(t)here are parts of the world where that will just as well be a death certificate.”
Cardinal Wuerl spoke at the end of his Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent which culminates in the Easter Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – followed by the celebration of Easter Sunday and the ensuing Easter Season.
On Ash Wednesday, Mass attendees may receive ashes on their forehead in the sign of a cross, to signify penance and the remembrance of human morality.
Focusing on the reality of Christian persecution in many parts of the world. Cardinal Wuerl pointed to Nigeria, India, Syria, Iraq and the Holy Land as particular areas of concern.
ISIS, the Taliban and Boko Haram seem to be in a race for the title of most barbaric terrorist.
Boko Haram specializes in attacking schools and churches and killing, kidnapping, raping and selling children. Four hours ago, Boko Haram attacked a village in Northern Nigeria, killing at least 33 people and kidnapping at least 100 others.
The Taliban attacked a school in Pakistan this week, killing 141 people, most of them children. Now it turns out that ISIS has murdered 150 women and girls for refusing to have sex with them and for refusing to enter into “Jihad marriage” with them.
“Jihad marriage” sounds like another name for rape. So, I guess that makes them mass murderer/rapists. No need to fancy this up with talk about jihad and such.
They’re murderers. They’re rapists. They are satanic. All of them.
In an inexplicable bit of terrorist logic, the Taliban attacked a school in Northwest Pakistan yesterday.
Mohammed Khurrassani, a Taliban spokesman, said the murders of these children were in retaliation for Pakistani Army operations which they claim have killed hundreds of Pakistani tribesman.
The Taliban attackers murdered an estimated 132 people, most of them children, and wounded another 122. They made students watch as they burned a teacher alive. It is reported that they beheaded some of the children.
The thinking that goes into specifically attacking a school and slaughtering children as a political statement is beyond me. This sort of thing seems to be happening more and more. In 2004, Islamic militants attacked a school in Beslan Russia and killed 385 people, most of them children.
Boko Haram has made something of a career out of attacking schools and churches. On February 25 of this year, they attacked a Christian boys’ boarding school, killing 29 students. Later in the year, they attacked a girls’ school, kidnapping 200 girls. These girls were forcibly converted to Islam and, according to Boko Haram, then “married,” which I believe means used to concubines, by their fighters. A truce in which the girls were supposed to be returned never happened. In July, they attacked another school, killing 42 people, most of whom were students. Then, on November 10, Boko Haram attacked yet another school, killing 47 and wounding 79.
We’ve been hearing for years about the big, brave men who throw acid in school girl’s faces. And now it seems the world is going to be treated to an increasing number of attacks on schools and school children.
This is organized barbarity. It is also cowardice. I don’t know what they teach people in the Taliban, ISIS and Boko Haram, but real men don’t murder, kidnap, rape school children.
Nigeria’s chief of defense, Alex Badeh, has announced a truce between the Nigerian government and Boko Harma and the possible release of the 200 school girls that Boko Haram abducted six months ago.
From BBC Africa:
Nigeria’s military says it has agreed a truce with Islamist militants Boko Haram – and that the schoolgirls the group has abducted will be released.
Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce. Boko Haram has not made a public statement.
The military has struggled to defeat Boko Haram, which has been fighting an insurgency since 2009.
Boko Haram sparked global outrage six months ago by abducting more than 200 schoolgirls.
The girls were seized in the north-eastern town of Chibok in Borno state, and their continued captivity has led to criticism of the Nigerian government’s efforts to secure their release.
The hostages are thought to have been taken to the vast Sambisa forest, along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.
Members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign said in a tweet on Friday: “We are monitoring the news with huge expectations.”
Nobody knows but me.
That is the lament of victims of discrimination and violence throughout time.
They are trapped in the unimaginable alone experienced by people who fall into the hands of human monsters. It is impossible to describe the depth of terror, horror, pain and absolute, total and complete isolation that is part of the shock of being helpless in the hands of satan’s disciples on this earth.
The survivors can’t tell of it, not really. Because if they try, there are no words. Because if they try, they find that they are speaking to blank walls of incomprehension and denial.
The rest of us don’t want to hear these stories because they remind us of our own deep helplessness. People who have never looked into the pitiless eyes of satan in another person’s face and known that they were his to do with as he chose, do not want to consider that the only thing separating them from a similar fate is geography or chance.
There is nothing special about American Christians that we have not been subjected to the violence that attacks other Christians around the world. We are not more faithful. We are not more holy. Quite the opposite.
The difference between them and us is a matter of government. It is not innate in ourselves. The tightening noose of social discrimination that Christians face here either is a harbinger of worse to come or not, and that, whether we want to accept it or not, does depend on us.
We can choose to fight back and not go there. We can boycott the products of media outlets that defame us. We can speak out about our faith and defend ourselves.
Christians who live in places where killing Christians is always a question and not an anathema, live their lives under a genocidal Sword of Damocles.
We can not turn our backs on them and their stories of great suffering because it upsets us to be reminded that satan walks the earth in human form. We must not avoid them for fear that satan will come at us through the rage we feel over their suffering, that standing witness for them can open a doorway to satan in our own hearts.
People are suffering and dying for Christ, and it is our vocation in these times to stand witness.
Christians in the Middle East and in much of Africa are suffering their own Shoah. They are being annihilated and driven from their homes. They are being kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery.
The satanic barbarity of ISIS, Boko Haram, the Islamic Brotherhood and al-Qaeda are a testament to what giving your heart to satan and following him can turn people into. These men who do these things are fallen, fallen, fallen. They are satan’s disciples.
They are fallen, but the Christians they murder are lifted up. They are martyrs to Our Lord in the same way that Christians have been martyred for Jesus throughout our history. They are His saints. Every Christian that ISIS and Boko Haram murders goes to heaven. And each one of their murderers — unless they face the horrible reality of what they have done and repent from the heart — is destined for the flames of eternal hell. They will burn there alongside Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, Osama bin Laden and all their followers.
No matter how they lie to themselves, these things they do are not of God. They are from the pit.
Our job, dear brothers and sisters, is to stand witness to our fallen brothers and sisters in Christ. We must tell their stories. We must lift them and their sacrifice up because they are being lifted up in the exact way that Our Lord was and for the same reason, so that the world can see them and be healed by turning to Him.
We need healing desperately in this world, and that healing we need can only come from one place: The Cross.
When we witness the violent persecution of Christians, we are seeing a re-enactment of Calvary in our world right in front of our eyes, today. Every Christian who suffers and dies at the hands of these satanic human monsters is Christ crucified again in real time in front of our eyes.
Can you wait with me one hour? Jesus asked Peter, James and John.
Will you run away from me again? He asks us. Will you shout crucify Him! as they did? Or, will you just walk away and hide your faces because bearing witness hurts too much?
We must stand witness to these our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering and dying for Him. We must. It is our charge, our call and duty. It is our vocation before God.
We must write about them and develop a literature for them as the Jews did for those who died in the Holocaust. Because this is another holocaust. It is the holocaust of Christians in an entire region of the world.
Satan’s lessor disciples; the ones who make fun of Christian persecution and who try to bully into silence those of us who must bear witness, are our small cross. Their carping bits of nastiness should be meaningless to us. Offer up whatever pangs you feel for those who have died and pray for those who do this, then keep on keeping on bearing witness to the truth of this martyrdom of a whole people for their faith in Christ.
It is painful and exhausting to stand witness to atrocity. But we must do it, and we must do it in the Lord.
Any lessor action would be running away from Him all over again.
It’s an old myth, the story of villagers who sacrifice a virgin to the neighboring dragon in order to keep the dragon from annihilating them. Unfortunately, like most myths, it has its base in terrible fact.
British police, due to what we are told was a kind of politically correct paralysis, essentially collaborated over a long period of time with local Pakistani gangs who repeatedly gang-raped British girls as young as 12 or 13 and then used them as forced prostitutes in their home-grown sex-trafficking rings.
In the clear hallmark of discriminatory police everywhere, these British cops blamed the victims and refused them the police protection that was their right as human beings. Here in America, we would say that the Rotherham police denied an entire class of their citizens — the young girls of their city — their civil rights. By any standard of human rights on this planet, they also denied these young girls their human rights.
What the report of this massive, on-going, police-enforced gang rape and selling of young girls by local Pakistani men amounts to is a violation of the civil and human rights of the girls of Rotherham by the officials of that city.
We are being told that the local police and the rest of the community were so fearful of being called out by the forces of political correctness that they offered up their city’s young girls to avoid it. This echoes tales of heretofore mythical villagers, offering up their daughters to appease the dragon. Only this is real life.
Is anyone believing this? Were these cops so afraid of being called Islamaphobes that they allowed young girls to be repeatedly gang raped and sold to avoid doing their jobs?
Is that what Britain has devolved down to?
Frankly, my first thought was that the Rotherham police were probably getting paid off. I can’t imagine that the police — the police — were so cowed by the politically correct whatevers that are evidently running Britain that they not only allowed, but enabled this to go on for decades. So, I thought of corruption and bribery, and to be honest, I thought it almost hopefully.
Because if the Rotherham police were not being bribed to look the other way and the story really truly is that they allowed these young girls to be raped because they were afraid of violating some sicko idea of political correctness, then our good friends the British have gone insane and suicidal.
Evidently, a woman who tried to blow the whistle on the rapes was sentenced to “sensitivity training” for doing it. Maybe the cops really were afraid of being denounced and sentenced to re-programming if they did their jobs. Whatever the reason, they are filthy misogynist rapist enablers and claims of cowardice in the face of politically correct sensitivity training don’t excuse them. That much is sure.
We’ve gone a long way down the road of politically correct bullying here in America and it’s getting worse. But I don’t think our cops — at least not Okie cops — would be afraid to prosecute crimes of this nature just because the perpetrators were Muslims. In fact, I’m sure they wouldn’t be.
I don’t know British law, but my first — entirely American, totally Okie — take is that the police in Rotherham ought to go to prison along with the rapists. The rapists should spend the rest of their lives in jail. When they leave prison, it should be in a box. The police who allowed this to happen should take a perp walk in front of television cameras so the whole world can see what useless cowards and traitors to their duty and their community look like.
Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, Kathy Schiffer wrote a post yesterday about three churches in Columbus, IN that had been graffiti’d with a verse from the Koran threatening physical violence. The word “infidels” was spray painted alongside it. And I watched a video last night of another helpless American being beheaded by ISIS. That, added to Rotherham, seems like a lot.
The Anchoress looked at the rapes in Rotherham and saw the actions of conquest. I look at it and see patterns.
I’ve been reading for months about ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, kidnapping Christian girls, and raping them and selling them into sex trafficking. Boko Haram kidnapped almost 300 school girls for the express purpose of selling them into sex slavery.
Does anybody see a pattern here?
The politically correct crowd can yak about “racism” and “Islamaphobia” all they want. What we are dealing with is violent and vile misogyny of almost mind-boggling proportions. And it’s not just the rapists who are misogynists. Whole countries — entire nations — are willing to sacrifice their girls to the dragon of politically-correct lies.
The Rotherham police can now join the cops of Juarez who allowed young women to be kidnapped, raped and tortured to death and would not lift a finger.
Their response was the same as the police in Rotherham. They made fun of the families who tried to get their help and said the girls were “prostitutes.”
Spineless and misogynist British cops who allow savage violence against young girls, and the gangs of Pakistani rapists/pimps in Rotherham who are supported and enabled by politically correct bullies, are certainly bad enough. But they’re just the little finger on the left hand of the whole truth.
We also have a pattern of one particular group of people — of whom the Rotherham rapists are a part — engaging in terror tactics against helpless civilians in a number of places around the world. Not only do they kidnap/rape/enslave and sell young girls, they burn, behead and annihilate whole populations.
In the West, they respond to criticism just as the rapists of Rotherham have responded; by running to their politically correct protectors and claiming that they are the victims. In the Middle East, they respond by making videos of themselves as they murder helpless people to use to recruit more murderers from places like Rotherham and, presumably, Columbus.
If it raises your politically correct hackles for me to say that, I put before you the kidnapped, raped and sold girls in Nigeria; the kidnapped, raped and sold girls in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, et al; the raped and sold girls in Rotherham. Alongside the kidnappers/rapists/slavers, I put before you the police who colluded with the kidnappers and rapists. And alongside the police I put the political correctness enforcers who attack anyone who says the truth.
Then I turn your attention to the burned out churches and piles of beheaded bodies in the Middle East.
We have created a lethal brew of enforced helplessness and passivity in the face of violence and evil. We are binding this together with cords of misogyny that places the value of young girls at zero.
We justify it with self-righteous claims that anyone who speaks against it is a racist who hates Muslims. The obvious response to that is Who is the racist here? Who is raping whom?
I, for one, do not hate Muslims. I believe that there are a lot of Muslims who feel trapped between these rapists and the larger society. But we do those people no good by allowing the savages among them to run free and terrorize all of us, including them.
The perpetrators of these crimes — and I include the murderer of James Foley and Steven Sotloff — must be brought to justice. Their collaborators in government who deny citizens their human and civil rights by refusal to do their jobs need to be brought to justice alongside them. The purveyors of political correctness who enable rape/slavery/murder/genocide must — for our own survival, and common decency — be ignored and dismissed as the blithering fools they are.
Are we, on both sides of the Atlantic, going to stop being enthralled by lethal politically-correct lies and put down these atrocities and those who commit them in a way that stops them cold? Or, are we going to try to avoid a fight by giving our children to the dragon?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In a world beset with narcissistic -isms, Christianity is the one light.
Every other philosophy, sooner or later, gets around to death. But the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is a message of life. And that light of life and love not only illumines our deepest darkness, it plants hedges around our most pitiless impulses.
In a world where the power to kill helpless human beings is labeled “compassion” or a “human right,” both compassion and human rights become matters of definition, and the defining is done by those who want to kill at will. What is in fact, monstrous, we call good. And what is in fact good, we call monstrous.
Christianity, with its unyielding call to life and love, is the light that shines in this darkness. And the darkness hates it.
This attraction — I cannot call it love, for love is not in it — to ever deeper darkness grows from our most selfish impulses. It creates an upside down world based on language mis-used that demands that everyone — everyone — accede to the lies of manufactured definitions of our finest words. Killing, we are told, is a “right” of the killer, as in abortion is a “right.” Murder is compassion, as in euthanasia is compassionate. Genocide is godly, as in the bestial behavior of Boko Haram and ISIS.
In this upside down world of lying definitions, we can pretend that homosexual couples are the same as a man and a woman, is the same as groups of people consorting sexually, is the same as … whatever. We can label the deliberate killing of people who are slightly different from the norm — such as those with down’s syndrome — a moral necessity. We can reduce women and children to commerce with surrogacy and egg harvesting, sex trafficking, prostitution and porn and call it variously, freedom of expression, creation of families and, once again, the “right” of the purchasers.
Whatever our dark desire to degrade, exploit or kill other people, we can use our facile gift of language to construct a lie to convince ourselves that it is good.
This darkness slides over all life like sludge from a tar pit. It seeks, always, to take us back to the time before; before Christ, even before Abraham. It wants to take us back to the time when we used our big brains in the service of our reptile brains without the hedgerow of Christian teaching to fence them in.
Without God, without Christ, we are capable of anything. There is no bottom to our depravity, no end to our malignant craving for self-gratification. Because we are not animals. Or rather, we are not animals entirely. We are made of the same dust of this earth as any other living thing on this planet. But we alone of all the life on this planet teeming with life have the breath of God within us. We know that we are creatures. We know that we are finite and temporary.
And, if we will admit it, we also know that there is an Other, a being outside ourselves, greater than us, Who is both infinite and eternal. Our inchoate longing for this Other can haunt us. It can drive us to brittle anger and rageful hate that sends us screaming through our years, leaving a past of toppled lives behind us.
The terrors we weave of our unsatisfied longings for God and our refusal to live in the light of His life are the terrors that only a living soul, a creature made in His image who rejects that image in an irrational self-deification, could devise. We are not just animals. We are cathedral builders and bomb builders, poets and beheaders, we are slavers and freedom fighters, abortionists and mothers who lay down their lives for their child. We are the men who protect their families, and the men who kill their families. We are destroyers and builders, killers and nurturers.
No animal possesses this grandeur of good and bottomless capacity for evil. We do.
That is our darkness. It is the darkness of freedom that runs so frantic that it becomes a prison. We are, and we have always been, free. We are not spiders who spin the same web from one generation of spiders to the next. We are free. We can create. We can destroy. We can reject this Other, this God Who calls us but will not force us to love Him. We can even create alter-gods of our own devising, bastardized versions of the real God in whom we attempt to deify our deepest darkness.
The Light of Life that is Christ is the only beacon in the darkness of the hidden places in our own souls. The Gospel message is the message of life. Christianity is the religion of life.
The darkness fights to overcome it with weapons that appeal to our vaunting need to be our own gods. It uses our great facility for language, our enormous creativity, to shape the lies, excuses and bogus philosophies of false belief and disbelief that become tools for tearing down our common humanity and the walls of our civilization.
But the darkness, however many it pulls into its quagmire of lies, never overcomes the Light of Life. This Light shines through us, through ordinary weak and willful Christians who are as afflicted by the fallenness of this world as any other human. We are different in that, though we stumble on the path, we know the Way.
Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, is the bulwark against the forces of death. It shines the light of Life into the darkness of abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, egg harvesting, surrogacy, human trafficking, the destruction of the family and the whole range of degradations, humiliations, and destructions of the human person who is made in the image and likeness of God.
The howling hatred which is directed at Christians and Christianity is the rage of those who wallow half alive in the sludge and do not want to be awakened from their nightmare. Christianity is the religion of life. It defends life in this world, and, to those who are willing to accept Christ, it gives eternal life in the next.
We are not made for the sludge pits of evil that so many of us call home. We are eternal beings who are made for the Light.
Our great dignity is that of all the creatures and living things on this planet, we alone are free. God sets before us each and every day life and death. We can chose the life of His Light. Or we can chose the death of our many false gods and self gods.
It is no accident that the powerful ideas of the value of the individual, the splendid notion of inalienable human rights and the essential equality of all human beings came into existence within Christendom. Such ideas could not have come to fruition anywhere else. Only the Light of Christ, the enlightening mustard seed of Christianity which teaches that there is neither Greek nor Jew, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus, could have grown and blossomed into the progenitor of the idea of universal human rights.
This is not a Western notion. It is a Christian teaching.
Even the hairs of your head are numbered.
If you have done it for the least of these you have done it for me.
Blessed are the poor.
If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that you may have life and that you may have it abundantly.
Christianity is growing rapidly throughout the world, even as we are moving into a new age of martyrdom. It is growing the way it always has: By voluntary conversion. People who are attracted to the Light, who hunger for Life, are drawn to Jesus because He is the Light and the Life.
Christianity is the religion of life because Christ is the Light of Life.
And the darkness will never overcome Him.
I read a book this weekend, Even Silence has an End, by Ingrid Betancourt.
Doctor Betancourt is a former senator and candidate for the presidency of Columbia. She was kidnapped by FARC Communist rebels while she was en route to a campaign appearance in her race for the presidency and held prisoner for six years.
Even Silence has an End describes her long years in captivity. A number of her fellow captives have also written a book, Out of Captivity.
If I read the other book, it will be after I give the subject a rest. There’s only so much of the brutality and injustice that FARC visited on these people that I can take.
What interests me today is the extremely toxic personality conflicts that developed among this small group of abductees and the hatred that it engendered in them toward one another. Small group toxicity and the resulting nastiness affects all of us as we go about our jobs and workaday lives. It poisons our relationships and wounds people deeply. It also makes us less effective in what we are trying to accomplish. Instead of getting good things done, we end up wasting our energies scratching and clawing at one another.
It sounds very much like this is what happened among these captives during their long years of helpless insecurity at the hands of brutal guards who might beat, starve, put them on forced marches or even kill them at any time.
One of the comments the American authors made about Doctor Betancourt is absurd and abusive on its face. “It was her own arrogance that got her kidnapped,” one of her fellow captives said.
Let’s be clear. The abduction of Ingrid Betancourt, as well as the other captives, was caused by the criminals who abducted them. FARC did this.
According to Even Silence Has an End, what happened is that presidential candidate Betancourt was scheduled to make an appearance in an area that officials had recently declared guerrilla free. She was supposed to have armored vehicles and military escort. When she arrived at the jump-off point, her armored vehicles and military escort were withdrawn. The orders probably came from her political opponent, the president.
Doctor Betancourt does not say that the president wanted her to be abducted. She says that he was trying to keep her from making the campaign appearance.
Whatever the motives behind all this, she had gone into dangerous areas before and decided to go ahead with the campaign trip. She was abducted while she was en route to the engagement.
Does that make her abduction her “fault?” No. She was abducted by FARC. It is their fault.
What is astonishing is that this intelligent person is so messed up by his captivity that he doesn’t “get” that.
It is a mark of the damage that prolonged and intense association within toxic little groups does to people’s thinking. Leadership plays a huge part in this. if the leader — and by that, I mean the one who has the power — wants people to settle down and get along, they usually do. But FARC had everything to gain by pitting these prisoners against one another. If they had worked together, it would have made escape much more likely.
By dividing them emotionally and keeping them focused on hating one another, FARC had a much more manageable group to deal with.
One of the oddball claims that the other prisoners have made is that Doctor Betancourt retained authority, even as an abductee. She certainly was the most high profile prisoner, which would have made her more valuable to FARC. She also had dual citizenship with France, and the French went to bats for her and kept on fighting for her throughout her captivity. This, too, would have made her more important to FARC.
At the same time, the other prisoners, including the Americans who wrote Out of Captivity, were pretty much forgotten and ignored by everyone but their own families and sometimes not even them. They had less value to FARC because of this. They also had to live with the emotional damage this abandonment did to them throughout their captivity and for the rest of their lives.
It is important to note that Doctor Betancourt was chained with a chain around her neck. She was also starved and put in solitary confinement. When she attempted escape, the FARC soldiers gang-raped her as punishment.
If that’s what it means to be the queen bee of a FARC prison camp, I think I’ll pass.
The interesting point in all this is that these captives might very well have managed an escape, and they certainly would have been much less damaged emotionally by their captivity, if they had not yielded to the manipulations of their captors and fallen into obsessive small-group hatred and internecine rivalry.
They needed leadership and discipline within their ranks. They also needed to work out goals for themselves that would have allowed them to function as a unit without attacking one another. I can think of no better goal for a group of abductees who are being unjustly held prisoner than escape.
They got confused — and apparently are still confused to this day — as to who their enemy was. And that made a hell of their hell, which continues to run their emotions, even after they are physically free.
This sad tale forms teachable parallels with Christians today all over the world. I’ve heard from more than one person that part of the trouble in forming a Christian resistance to the genocide taking place in the Middle East is internecine rivalries between different Christian faith traditions. I see it all the time in the internet rivalries and name-calling that goes on among Catholics on internet websites.
We are feuding with one another over whether or not to say the mass in English or Latin, whether or not to hold hands during the Our Father, and whether or not or even how much to bend our faith to politically correct cultural dictates such as gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia. Even our own priests are all over the map about these things.
At the same time, we are carrying on these absolutely moronic feuds among ourselves, we are seeing a genocide of Christians in Muslim countries that just keeps intensifying and growing. We stand silent while Christians are imprisoned in North Korea, while their churches are razed in China and while they are mocked and unjustly reviled here in the United States and in Europe.
Much of the reason why is that we are wasting our energies and our time fighting with one another. We need to remember that we are not, ever, truly in the power of those in power in this world. We answer only to Jesus Christ and we are citizens of His Kingdom before any other.
We need to stop fighting with one another. That is the devil’s handiwork in our lives.