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DRC: A Woman’s Revolutionist Mind

After soldiers targeted her daughter, Neema contemplates a radical and miraculous response: love.

"Why have I been afraid to speak about love and forgiveness?"

It was 7pm when my phone rang. The streets were pitch black except for the cell phone lights that guide one’s way when walking in my area. On the other end of the line was my 24-year-old daughter, crying uncontrollably. Minutes ago, I had asked her to pick up a phone card for me and she had set out to the kiosk at the end of our little road. At the kiosk, a soldier had come up behind her and beat her profusely.

When my daughter returned home, she was shaken and bruised but okay. I was relieved, but my thoughts were aflame. A brave friend went back into that dark night to investigate what had happened. We learned there was not one but two soldiers who conspired to attack my daughter. After she finished paying at the kiosk, she heard them say behind her, “Let’s beat this girl. Yeah, we won’t let her pass.” She was struck in the face while the other slapped her so hard it knocked her to the ground. The beating continued until finally the man at the kiosk intervened. At that point, the two assailants turned their attentions to the man who tried to protect my daughter, but the group of men who had gathered around the kiosk took action and scared them off.

How is a mother supposed to act in a situation like this? This act of violence against my precious daughter was random, committed by two who had supposedly given their lives to the service of safety. How am I to feel about these soldiers? Am I to vent all my emotion toward them and desire just punishment? Am I to blame the other boys standing by who let these men beat my daughter, but then valiantly defended their male friend? Am I to hate them, hate their parents? Isn’t this hatred, this violence, the very thing that has been bred into our culture and rooted in the very fabric of our society?

Then I asked myself: What would affect the outcome I would hope to realize? And surprisingly, the answer back to myself was: A Miracle.

Just a moment before I had been feeling hopeless and impotent, caught in a net of evil in a sea of ruined hearts and minds. But now, rays of hope began to replace the desperate cry within me. Fear and panic dissipated as an odd feeling of peace flooded my being. I was feeling a field of immunity come over me, as if all the strands of corrupted nature that had found me, trapped, and imprisoned me were suddenly no longer able to hold me. It was not that I was stronger, but that I had become of a different nature; one for which those cords had no effect. My mind had been seized, but now I was free!

And what was the nature of the miracle that had transformed me? Love.

It sounds trite to say it. As I see the words on the screen, I’m almost embarrassed to continue. But instantly I recognize that’s the old mind and not the new trying to trap me again in a prison mentality. Why am I afraid to speak about love and forgiveness? Why is it easier to talk about how we’ve been victimized and abused? And who is my audience when I go on like that but those who have also been caught in that net of evil. And is there any end to that line? That victimized chorus would sing for eternity.

I thought about those soldiers. What caused them to pick my daughter at random? It suddenly seemed to me that these were minds that were little different from the one I had: minds that see everyone and everything as separate from themselves. In my case, I am continually being victimized. I am always on the defensive, watching out for those ruthless takers who are always trying to take advantage of me. Certainly these soldiers had been in my shoes before, suffering how I have suffered. So now, they have vowed never to be victims again. They’ve seen that the world is full of takers and those being taken. Given these choices, they have decided to become takers. This whole line of logic is a problem. The idea that there are takers and those who are taken may be the fundamental problem afflicting the whole world.

To my surprise, I am now seeing through a mind that wants to embrace those soldiers, love those soldiers, care for those soldiers. I know this sounds crazy, but I am experiencing something within—something life changing. How do I communicate that? I’m experiencing something. I want to meet those soldiers, sit down with them, and have a conversation. I want to explain to them what I’m now seeing. In effect, I want to be their eyes for a moment to show them my new viewpoint.

This incident has made this fact so clear to me. If I love them, they will feel love, and if I don’t, they may not. And if they loved me, or more specifically, if they loved my daughter, they would never think of harming her. These young men are brothers to my daughter, and she their sister. These soldiers are my sons, and I their mother. Shouldn’t I as their mother sit down and speak with them about this matter, heart to heart?

Does this thinking sound fanciful to you? It may. It probably would have sounded fanciful to me yesterday morning. But today I’m feeling liberated from a mind that continually held me captive to governing thoughts tailored to keep me subject to schemes that victimized me, that kept me afraid, skeptical, and poor.

What’s interesting is that with this new mind, I can see that everyone else somehow inherently knows this too. It’s just that we’ve suffered under the burden of an oppressive interpretation of all of our bad experiences. Instead of suggesting love and forgiveness, instead of suggesting dialog and interaction, that old mind taught us to fear, separate, reject, and avenge.

I am going to go meet those boys. I want them to know that I think of them as my sons and that I love them. I may scold them as any loving mother would, but they will feel my love and know that I am scolding them because I love them and have embraced them as my sons, and that I think and expect better of them. They may reject my loving embrace, but that will not stop my love. And I know they will remember. You can’t forget a mother’s love.

And my daughter? Well she’s their sister, and she’s going with me.

May there still be suffering ahead? More than likely, yes. But that suffering will no longer imprison me as it did before. It will become my soapbox to liberate another, perhaps a multitude of others, perhaps even the one being used to “net” me. For I see that he and I are together, and he needs me. He needs my love, that he too may be freed.

Comments

Starland's picture

you did it!

I celebrate you! You have found love and thus you have found freedom. You will never be a victim ever again.
K-lee

K-lee Starland, Ph.D.

Mukut's picture

Power of Love

The power of love never fails. It may be difficult in the beginning,to overcome the feeling of pain and anger. But in the end it is love that conquers all.

Beautiful piece.

Mukut Ray

Stella Paul's picture

Non violence is the most powerful tool

From what Mahatma Gandhi taught us, and what I have deeply believed in and have experiences, there is not a more effective weapon to fight violence than non violence. And so I support your decision which I find more logical than it may appear to others. Love!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Hummingbird's picture

I hear you

While I was reading your post dear Neema I recalled my feelings when I saw a footage from Syria of a group of soldiers loyal to the regime lost a battle with the Free Syrian Army (the rebels) and met a deadly end. I couldn't believe it but I cried. They were just young boys, my fellow citizens and soldiers who were entrusted to protect us. I cried for them although they were shooting innocent people day and night, I cried for them though they were torturing civilians even children and play them as if humans were toys. I felt so sad because they chose to kill their own people, and they end up dead.

You are truly a revolutionist woman dear Neema, thank you for this great article and can't wait to meet you soon

A drop of rain can revive the earth, be the drop.

Hummingbird

starseed's picture

The Language of Love

Dearest Neema--our beloved Sister, Mother, Auntie and esteemed elder,

The Language of Love that grows forth from the beauty of your heart and soul is the Language of Our New World. Your forgiveness, acceptance, inclusiveness, empathy and strength which you generously give to those who are hurting, fearful and destructive, is a treasured blessing. Thank you for this humble, yet powerful reminder that we are all related.

I open to receive and add my love to yours, that it may grow 'round the world.

Aloha, Mahalo -- Phyllis

Donatila Sifa RUHAMANYI's picture

Tu es brave!

Da Neema,
Je bénis l'Eternel pour les sentiments et l'attitude que tu as affiché dans ces moment pénibles de ta vie! Cette paix, cette quiétude, cet amour, tu ne pouvais les trouver nulle part ailleure. Dieu les injecté en toi. Nasikiya kukupenda tena zaidi. Que le nom de l'Eternel soit béni à jamais.

Je transmet mes chaleureuses salutations à toutes les femmes qui combatent aux côtés des femmes qui souffrent de l'injustice, de la marginalisation, la discrimination, du rejet et tout autres sortes des maux, tout simplement parce xqu'elles sont fmmes. Je

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Dear Neema!

Dear Neema,

I've met you in person since you wrote this story, and know how magnificently strong and powerful you are. To be so strong for the good that you can show love to those who have shown abuse to your loved one is true transcendence.

I have great respect for your work.

With Love,

Rev. Sarah

Corina.Bobina.'s picture

The Brave

Neema,

Thank you for your grace and inspiration. I'm a college student in the U.S., taking many classes regarding women/gender rights and ways to oppose oppression. At times I feel defeated by the enormity of evil and despair in this world. I turn to the news stations to be updated on world events and find sadness. How can I, one young girl from Portland, Oregon, make any amount of change? You helped me find an answer.

Neema, we need more people like you in this world. You inspire me to re-ignite my love for the world and all of it's beings. You inspire me to face my simplest of struggles from a place of humility and compassion. I hope your daughter has healed well and that your interaction with the soldiers is well received. Thank you for sharing your story and wisdom.

All is not lost.

Love,

Corina.Bobina.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Gandhi

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Love is the way to Peace

Dear Neema thank you for such a beautiful piece and a wonderful solution to violence.We cannot fight violence with Violence. We can only spread love and show the perpetrators that love is the only way to peace. Stay blessed Neema and continue with your good work.

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
a.kiddu@gmail.com
cfmlegal@gmail.com
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

gritona's picture

this story

Thank you so much for this Neema. it is very beautiful, like you are. Someday I hope I can be more like you.

lotsa love dear sister

paul

pauli siemering

Y's picture

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your resurrection of The Sacred Spirit with us. I am now sharing my words with you. Blessings to you.

Women are Giving their Wombs for Tombs
Today is a day of prayer for peace in Syria for the Roman Catholics of my country and the world. Educating myself and my friends on the emotions felt by my sisters in similar war-torn countries is my form of prayer-in-action. I have turned to WorldPulse to hear of the horrors of war from the perspective of women -- sisters, wives, mothers, grandmothers. This is my call to action, the wailing of those who are first-person witnesses, not those like me who sit in the comfort of my home and watch the silent screams in magazines.
I found a poem called "Syria- Rent the sky in every land" written by Kenyaby philo Ikonya Gacheri of Kenya on March 13, 2012 at 8:30 PM. http://worldpulse.com/node/50564. This was a year and a half ago, and still the people of Syria are living in increasing terror. How is this possible in human society?
"Women are giving their wombs for tombs." This is a phrase from the poem that particularly strikes me, as I often ask my sisters why we women continue bearing children with abusive beasts calling themselves humans. Is it time for women, the world over to close their wombs in protest? Would this stop war?
It is not the men who are the best war correspondents, but their pictures and words seem to be most heeded. I salute the brave women telling these war stories from their wombs. I am old. My hips are weak from work and child bearing. My old husband needs my care at home. What more can I do in this effort?

Yvette

sgrace1224's picture

Admiration

Neema,

I just wanted to tell you that I applaud your bravery and am in complete admiration of your warmth and love for these 2 men. I wish I could say that I would do the same, but the truth is, I probably wouldn't. I don't have any children myself, and maybe that's why I still have much to learn when it comes to unconditional love, but I do hope some day to possess the same warmth and forgiveness that you have. Thank you for sharing your TRUTH with our community and I pray that you and your daughter were able to break the cycle of violence concerning the 2 men.

All the Best,
Sara

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