Monday, March 31, 2014

Disappearing the Dead

During my trip with CPT to Colombia in the summer of 2005, we hear about the displaced and the disappeared.  One of the things I notice time and again in lands torn apart by the violence of war is the absence of the men, especially the young ones.  In my prayer journal, I wrote at the time about that absence . . .

Where are all the men?  Dear God, where are all the men?  And what kind of a world have we made when a woman’s prayer of most hope is “let me die first”?  O God, forgive.

Esperanza?  Where is esperanza?  Where is hope?  Donde esta?

Fathers and brothers and husbands and sons killed and killed and killed until there are no more men and women are left to look for and bury their bones.  In this land of widows and orphans, men are literally an endangered species.

With a violent death, is there always frozen a moment, the last ordinary moment, the moment before?  Is it the moment you imagine could change it all if only it were changed?  Left instead of right?  Or is it only the frozen, beautiful moment of before?  The moment just before the moment when ordinary time ends?

Seven years later she still mourns and does not forget that no priest was permitted, no proper words allowed to be spoken, when her murdered husband was buried.  Cut off, under threat herself, she notices the absence; it is a part of the litany of her suffering, their abuse.

They even disappear the dead here.

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