October 20, 2009


Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 9:10 pm by Tamara

In the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” there’s a bitter, disillusioned quote by Joaquin Phoenix’s character, a journalist, who says that even if Westerners do hear about the atrocities happening in Rwanda, all they’ll do is say “That’s so awful!” and then go back to eating their dinners. That piercing challenge and condemnation is my favorite part of the movie.

Today I heard about how soldiers in Guinea, Africa, stormed a stadium of protesters and then murdered and gang-raped a still unknown number of women. They reportedly stripped them and then raped them in broad daylight, shoving guns into some of the women’s vag—s and then shooting (I’d be more graphic, but I’m pretty sure our internet filter would block me from my blog). Guinea is a primarily Muslim country, and one woman interviewed reported being told that “Women belong at home, and if you want a political protest, we’ll give you one.” They said this as they beat and repeatedly raped her. It’s feared that many of the women victimized are too afraid to come forward and seek medical attention because of the cultural and emotional shame.

I wondered if I should give a warning before this post. But WHY? Shouldn’t we know? Shouldn’t we care? Shouldn’t we DO something? And WHAT?!? What can I do?

As I sat down to write an update, my brain was schizophrenically bouncing between the mundane details of my life and the things I’ve been researching about human rights, refugees, immigration, etc. I decided the other day that I need a new topic to dig into and gnaw on. Islam has been my “topic” for years now. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on, talked with countless people about it, done presentations, befriended converts from Islam, gone to Islamic countries…. But I’ve been noticing lately that all the new books I pull off the shelf about Islam sound…like something I’ve already read. I know I’m not even close to knowing all there is to know about Islam, but it’s all starting to blur. So, I started praying, “what should I plunge into now?” And *bam!* up came refugee issues. Now where should I go with this? Human rights issues? Effects of war on third-world countries? Immigration and asylum policy? I think I’ll research them all. If my stomach and soul can handle it.

Oh, God’s grace is so deep. Why doesn’t He destroy us all? How can He stand to watch us do the hideously evil things we do? After just a few days of reading about these issues, I feel sick. And then yesterday I read Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Why, Lord? How can your grace and love be so deep? And how can I have such a shallow understanding of them?

I don’t think we “go back to our dinners” because we don’t care; I think comes from a feeling of helplessness. I know I feel helpless. I’m outraged and horrified and broken over what just happened in Guinea, and what’s happening in countless other countries. But what can I do? I don’t know. But I’m determined to find out. You can probably expect to hear more about this in the months to come. At least I sure hope you can. I don’t want to go back to my dinner. God, help us to defend the helpless in your name. Hosanna, Lord! Deliver us!


1 Comment »

  1. Andi said,

    Wow…. I want to know WHAT CAN I DO!!!!! I don’t want to go back to my dinner either … but like you said I feel helpless. What can I do from Millions of miles away? What can I do to help these women! Tamara I love your blogs they always make me think :) What an encouragement to not just sit back but to actually FIND out WHAT CAN I DO! Thanks!

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