Chapter 8 - Shoot Them!
Chapter 8 - Shoot Them!
"I was still working as a journalist at the time," said Ursula quietly. "Journalists are trained to observe; not to intervene. A human being may be impelled to intervene by the force of conscience, but I was a professional journalist on a professional assignment. That option wasn't open to me. I wasn't allowed to love. I had a professional protocol to follow. It was in my blood to observe. I was trained to do this. I was good at it. I observed everything. Except, Peter, this was all that I did."
"Could you have done more?" I asked.
"I don't know. Honestly, I don't know!" she replied.
I saw tears forming again.
"My Nicaragua story was printed in our national newspaper with a big headline proclaiming my heroism," she said. "I became a celebrity, but I couldn't talk to anyone about my experience out of sheer shame that it happened at all. I was ashamed that I was still living. Am I making any sense?"
I nodded, but I wasn't sure if this was honestly done.
"It happened so fast," she said, "not at first, but later on it did. I had been sent to Nicaragua and El Salvador. My El Salvador story started with the body dumps."
She explained that the 'body dumps' were certain areas outside the cities where families or friends were frequently searching for the remains of their loved ones who had disappeared without a trace. They usually found them there, often mutilated. She said her report was a collection of their stories. One brave soul had told her that it was far easier to bear the pain of finding them dead, than not knowing, and having to live with the endless pain of imagining them being tortured.
Ursula told me she could easily imagine the pain these people must have felt, out of the background of her own experience in Afghanistan. She had been careful not to get too close to anyone, so as not to have to suffer the same pain all over again that she had suffered before in Afghanistan. She told me that she still had all of the pictures on file of the people of her experience in Afghanistan, years earlier, both on film and in her mind, including the pictures of the people of Kohlm. She told me that she hadn't been able to look at these pictures for a long time. Still, she told me that when she was in El Salvador, she felt that the victims of the massacre in Kohlm had been a thousand times luckier. Their life had ended in the flash of a moment. Those who were cycled through the body dumps were evidently put to death slowly over periods of months, becoming disassembled in the processes of torture that few had witnessed and even fewer could comprehend.
She said that a security official had told her during an interview that over the years forty thousand people were cycled through the dumping grounds. The death squads executed some of them. Others were tortured to death by the secret police or one of the numerous private security forces like the goons of the 'electric' company. The same official told her that some of the death squads were even feared by the police. He had told her that entire villages had been wiped out in this manner, usually without a warning or anyone knowing why. There is always this buzzword in the air, something about communism, pro or con, which stirs the rampage that keeps the killing going. "Most people didn't even know what communism is all about," she added.
I told her in a quiet voice that I had heard about the body dumps, but that I had never been there. I told her that I could imagine what she saw, because brainwashing is a deadly game no matter who is involved and what the buzzwords are. I told her that brainwashing kills people as human beings. I said, "It takes away our right to be ourselves."
Agape novels by
Rolf A. F. Witzsche, free online books,
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