STOP THE DAILY RAPES IN DARFUR
1. It Was Good To Be Raped
"It was my only option: to get the firewood by myself, in order to prevent the deaths of the good men in the camp. My daughter begs me not to be outside, since she knows what happens. But while being raped is my humiliation, it is salvation for her father."
2. My Decision Is For Rape
“My camp is my home, and the men here are part of my family. I don’t want to let them die by the hands of the melitiamen. So I made a decision in order to keep the men out of danger, I get the firewood myself. That is my gift for them; to face rape every day.”
3. Rape is The Best Option For Me
"Rape is happening every day outside our camp. But my leaving to get firewood is the best way to protect the men against the guns of the militia. I don't want to see anybody die. So there is no other option for women here, there is no other option for me."
4. We Choose To Get Raped
"We choose to sacrifice ourselves for the men, because they can't leave the camp to get firewood. It is a matter of life and death. So we choose to preserve their lives. We choose to go out ourselves. We choose to get face to face with the militiamen. We choose to get raped."
According to what I can see on the web, this campaign was commissioned by Amnesty International Hungary and cooked up by the DDB Advertising Agency in Budapest, by Holly Fleming, Giovanni Pintaude, and Rodrigo Fernandes. The agency site is a hodge podge of Flash technology ... maybe it works in some other browser but not this one. I found some DDB photos on Flickr. I have not been able to find out much more than that about the people or the process - beyond the posters themselves and the texts. I may come back to this later ...
On the face of it, to me at least - it is simply too good to be true. We know from various reports that these rapes are brutal in the extreme. That it is common for women to throw down their bodies in support of their menfolk and community is not believable. That it happened once, in an aften repeated and exaggerated story is more like it - again, to me.
In one of Thomas Pynchon's books is the story of a girl being raped and given the choice of death by bayonet or pistol, and choosing both.
Some excellent photographs from Patrick André Perron taken in 2007: The Art of War, Faces of Darfur. He doesn't want his images reproduced, understandable I suppose ...
There are wrinkles ... Violent rape can perforate the bowel requiring surgery which is not always (often? ever?) available. Rape often enough results in pregnancy. The babies born from these events ... who can say? Is it difficult to love them? I have read reports of prosecutions for adultery under Moslem law, not prosecuting the rapist, but the woman!
Eric Reeves' essay, written in the fall of 2008: Refusing to Save Darfur.
"The longest, best reported, most unctuously protested genocide of the past century continues unabated."
How can I get on with this?
OK. Horror, revulsion, outrage, even depression ... emotional states beyond compassion are certainly not effective. Neither hand-wringing, nor diddling with pictures stolen from the internet. Dunning politicians? Going there? Going there as a white Christian with no Arabic? Go there to do what?
I will have to come back to it later; I have a toothache today; can't think; what I got to this morning, walking to the supermarket, was that this whole infernal machine is "chosen" by the victims, who are, effectively, all of us.
Stop choosing it is all I can think of.