Sunday, 31 October 2010

Forty Days for Life: a meditation

I had hoped to spend some time at the London vigil for the Forty Days for Life, but circumstances have conspired against.

However, I share the dialogue below from Ingrid Betancourt's Even Silence Has and End, which I read yesterday evening. This book tells the story of Ingrid's six years as a captive of the FARC guerillas in the Colombian jungle. Clara was with Ingrid as a member of her election campaign team when both were seized by the guerillas. During their time in captivity, they found it very difficult to get on with each other. Some six months or so before this dialogue, Clara had expressed a wish to have a child with one of the guerillas, since she was worried she would be too old to have children after her release. This dialogue occurs just as Clara has revealed her pregnancy to Ingrid, and takes place about two years into their six years of captivity:
"You're the first to know. Can I give you a hug?"
"Of course you can. I'm happy for you. It's the worst time and the worst place, but a child is always a blessing from above".
Clara sat down next to me and took my hand and said, "I'm going to call her Raquel."
"Fine. But think about some boys' names, too, just in case."
She remained thoughtful, staring into space. "I'll be a father and a mother at the same time."
"The child has a father. You have to tell him."
"No! Never!"
She got up to go, took a step, and then turned round again. "Ingrid?"
"I'm afraid."
"Don't be afraid. Everything will be fine."
"Am I beautiful?"
"Yes, Clara, you're beautiful. A pregnant woman is always beautiful".

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