Last year, on our last full day in the country, Ruby took the testimony of one of the founders of the Committee. I was incredibly sick so I stayed at the house. Unfortunately, incredibly unfortunately, something went wrong and Side B didn’t record. That is, after the point in which she was put in a truck and captured, there was nothing recorded.
So on Monday we redid it, her testimony. The worst part of the hardest testimony we’ve heard. I want to talk about it, but it seems inappropriate on something as impersonal as a blog. I don’t know who’s reading and who’s not and what they’re getting out of it, but I want to say this: this shit is not easy. It weighs on me. You may have noticed my lack of details in writing these posts? Maybe you haven’t, because you haven’t heard it and don’t know what I could be telling you but am not. Well, it’s not because we’re not being told details, it’s because I don’t think about the details. While I’m here, I don’t name the details. Right now, as I’m writing this, only one detail from her testimony comes to mind unbidden, and it’s the one detail I’ve spoken aloud: that of the soldiers who captured her, before taking her out of her house, burning her underwear and raping her with their rifles. This is before taking her, this is the precursor to her capture.
I’m really glad it’s my last week. I don’t think about the details and I don’t talk about the details while I’m here because I don’t think I can. I don’t think I can think about it in the evening and then get up in the morning and do it again. But, after three weeks and a lot of details, I can’t not think about it and I can’t not talk about it and I need to go home and sleep on a mattress which isn’t box springs and I need to not eat meat every day and I need to talk about it.
This morning I said goodbye to Ruby and Alex, who both fly today. I wanted so badly to go with them. I don’t want to be here alone and I don’t want to come in to the office tomorrow and I don’t want this work. Someone else, take it, please. Write this book for me, carry these details for me. –Which is of course precisely why I don’t talk about it in detail with 99% of people I know: no one should have to hear these stories and carry them every day. I don’t want to put that on anyone.