September 26, 2010

"I had this belief that I couldn’t just accept to be treated as an object. It was a problem of dignity."

"But it wasn’t that. It was just that I couldn’t accept that they would call us by number, because I thought it would make it easier for them to kill us if they had to kill an object, a number."

Ingrid Betancourt describes her captivity... and its aftermath:
Betancourt says she made some immediate decisions about her new life: First, she would wear perfume every day; second, she would never deny herself the opportunity to eat cake.

"I promised to have ice cream in my diet, and I promised to change my priorities," she says.  In the jungle, one of the few books Betancourt had access to was the Bible, and she read it over and over again.  One passage stuck out:  "It says that when you cross the valley of tears, and you arrive to the oasis, the reward of God is not success, it’s not money, it’s not admiration or fame, it’s not power. His reward is rest. So that’s what I want for me now."
Her book is a big best seller. I wonder how many readers come to that cake-and-ice-cream part and think: Yes! I must eat cake and ice cream.... even though in their whole lives they've never left the oasis.

32 comments:

Triangle Man said...

In her interview she described her generation's admiration for Che Guevara and the romanticization of revolutionaries. She thought of the FARC this way until she was imprisoned by them and she realized that they are merely a militarized drug cartel.

Paddy O said...

"I wonder how many readers come to that cake-and-ice-cream part and think: Yes! I must eat cake and ice cream.... even though in their whole lives they've never left the oasis."

Very nicely put

chuck b. said...

It's all relative. Who gets to decide.

ndspinelli said...

In 1987 we adopted our son from Medellin, Colombia. I spent a week in Medellin and Bogota, bringing home our 2 year old son. This was @ the peak of the reign of Pablo Escobar and the cocaine narco-terrorists. It is not hyperbolic to say Escobar and his "mafia"[that's what they called them in Colombia] ruled this beautiful country. Among many acts of terror, these criminals took over the Supreme Court and killed judges who were present.

The hard working, good people of Colombia finally got fed up and took back their country. I would suggest you read a compelling book, Killing Pablo, to get a good picture. I would also highly reccommend the ESPN doc, The Two Escobars. I often poke @ attorneys. They often deserve it; there aren't too many Atticus Finch's out there. However, it was the police, army, and incredibly brave attorneys who have now made Colombia a shining star and strong ally of the US. We helped them kill Pablo, and they are a grateful people.

edutcher said...

When The Blonde was pregnant, she had all kinds of trouble, particularly with food. Her gall bladder went bad a couple of days before the doctors decided to induce labor (the baby was 3 months' premature and died at six months). The strain almost killed her.

After all that, she decided she'd never deny herself all the little goodies she liked.

You appreciate life a lot more after it's frailty has been made apparent to you.

kalmia said...

I hope that "wearing perfume" thing is just a metaphor. There's nothing more obnoxious, revolting, and nauseating than having to smell this crap on the people (women and men) who wear perfumes and colognes to work day in and day out.

vza said...

"However, it was the police, army, and incredibly brave attorneys who have now made Colombia a shining star and strong ally of the US. We helped them kill Pablo, and they are a grateful people."

Yes indeed, and the courageous leadership of Alvaro Uribe Velez!

William said...

Liberals mock fundamentalists because they are unwilling to draw the lines of descent from apes to man. I would mock liberals like Betancourt because they are unwilling to see how Marxist ideology causes men to become such brutes. By describing them as a militarized drug cartel, she is making them fascists and gangsters. They weren't, or rather revolutionary Marxists are fascists and gangsters.

Clyde said...

There's nothing like prolonged deprivation to make someone appreciative of life's small luxuries, but it shouldn't take that sort of deprivation to make us appreciative. Life is short. Enjoy it while you can. Very few people say on their deathbed, "I wish I'd eaten more tofu." Have a slice of cake, a la mode.

Big Mike said...

@William, me too.

The limousine liberals can normally use their money to shield themselves from reality. This time it broke down for Ingrid Betancourt.

Life in the Fifties said...

@kalmia

Oh, but I think there is something"more obnoxious, revolting, and nauseating than having to smell this crap on the people (women and men) who wear perfumes and colognes to work day in and day out."

Listen to yourself

Palladian said...

"I hope that "wearing perfume" thing is just a metaphor. There's nothing more obnoxious, revolting, and nauseating than having to smell this crap on the people (women and men) who wear perfumes and colognes to work day in and day out."

The stench of your joyless, abstemious self-righteousness is far more malodorous than even the worst eau that such swill-merchants as Creed or Le Labo could concoct. I'm spritzing on some Dior "Poison" in your honor.

Joe said...

There's nothing more obnoxious, revolting, and nauseating than having to smell this crap on the people (women and men) who wear perfumes and colognes to work day in and day out.

Yet still less obnoxious that the twits who don't use antiperspirant, brush their teeth, wash their hair or shower/bathe. A magnitudes less obnoxious that smoking or having stale booze wafting off someone.

A light amount of cologne or perfume, even if part of an antiperspirant or body wash can be quite pleasant.

k*thy said...

Yes! I must eat cake and ice cream.... even though in their whole lives they've never left the oasis.

And I would bet that there'd be just as many who wouldn't eat it for fear of having to leave the *oasis*.

mr said...

I hope that "wearing perfume" thing is just a metaphor. There's nothing more obnoxious, revolting, and nauseating than having to smell this crap on the people (women and men) who wear perfumes and colognes to work day in and day out.

Somehow, I think you missed her point.

lemondog said...

How many have lived their whole lives within an oasis?

"I had this belief that I couldn’t just accept to be treated as an object. It was a problem of dignity."

From Wiki :

Nonetheless, recent books by fellow hostages Clara Rojas and Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes paint a picture of a more complex and less heroic person, who sought and obtained privileges because of her status as a well-known political hostage.

Regardless of privileges she may have gained, the experience of all that survived could only have bordered on six years of hell.

Skyler said...

One need not be a prisoner to be guilt free when eating ice cream. One merely needs to exercise a few hours a day.

traditionalguy said...

Life is a blessing that we need to thank God for every day. God also told to rest a day a week so that we could appreciate our blessings which do not require a 24/7 slaving away...only a Marxist strong man like Chavez requires that kind of suffering.

traditionalguy said...

An ironic part of the statement by Betancourt is that to preserve her life she wanted her captors to call her by her name and not just a number in an expendable group.That is exactly what the Tea Party was organized to say back to the Donald Berwicks that Obama and Pelosi lied about turning millions of numbered Medicare folks over to so they can be "handled" as a group. Palin needs to ask her to become an honorary Momma Grizzlie so she can share with the world the issues of life and death we all now face at the hands of Marxist Monsters.

prairie wind said...

One need not be a prisoner to be guilt free when eating ice cream. One merely needs to exercise a few hours a day.

Ha ha! This is the funniest response yet! Exercise if you want to, not because you are "guilty."

Another sour chuckle comes from seeing Betancourt's experience turned into a discussion about whether one should wear cologne and about who deserves to eat ice cream.

Synova said...

The problem with perfume is that a person has to keep on putting on more of it to smell it. This goes for all sorts of smells that we become accustomed to, body odor or hospital smells or fish or burning plastic.

The solution is probably to switch it out fairly regularly for something "fresh" or else just remember that even if you can't smell it anymore, other people can.

madawaskan said...

OK-

What the hell-since this thread has reached a certain level.

One of the weirdest feelings of guilt plus feeling like an object or I don't know what was when I use to work out on a treadmill in front of prisoners.

Do w/ that what you will.

prairie wind said...

I'm flummoxed, madawaskan. I have no idea what to do with that.

SteveR said...

Che Guevara and FARC sigh That's either intentional ignorance or stupidity.

Belkys said...

She was not kidnapped. She was warned by the government., but lay off his bodyguard and went into the terrorist arms by herself. Read the Clara Rojas´ book if you want the true account

Luke Lea said...

After such an ordeal, what's with all the criticisms around the web of Ingrid Betancourt's minor character flaws and lapses in judgment? I don't get it.

c3 said...

It says that when you cross the valley of tears, and you arrive to the oasis, the reward of God is not success, it’s not money, it’s not admiration or fame, it’s not power. His reward is rest. So that’s what I want for me now.

Paraphrased but I assume she's alluding to the 23rd Psalm

A bit of irony since its a passage commonly read at funerals.

I wonder how she feels about the last verse now:

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


It warms me to consider that a former Marxist was comforted by these passages.

themightypuck said...

I suppose that's why drug use in jails is so high.

fivewheels said...

Yeah, of all the subjects ready to be mined here -- wrong-headed admiration of Marxist revolutionaries, the ability of people to find comfort in the Bible, hedonism in general -- I didn't see the perfume angle coming.

I did expect "I am not a number" references.

And I don't think you have to cross the valley of tears to think it wise to savor ice cream and cake. Or in my case, barbecued pork and bourbon.

SteveR said...

After such an ordeal, what's with all the criticisms around the web of Ingrid Betancourt's minor character flaws and lapses in judgment? I don't get it.

I don't begrudge her making any good she can, its amazing she survived. But what she chose to do was not a "lapse in judgement" or the result of "minor character flaw".

My abilty to admire her survival, to respect her tenacity, etc. has to start with being able to relate to the situation she was in. And I cannot. I am sure there are harsh things being said, but without writing a book, basically she would be able to get on with the vast majority of people ever thinking anything about her.

Luke Lea said...

Steve R writes: "I am sure there are harsh things being said, but without writing a book, basically she would be able to get on with[out] the vast majority of people ever thinking anything about her."

But her story seems worth telling for the same reason that tales of the Holocaust are worth telling. It has intrinsic human interest. And throws light on and draws attention to the humanitarian/political crisis in Columbia, where the U.S. is deeply invested. I believe there are hundreds of others like her still being held in captivity, though I am ashamed to say this is the first I have heard about them.

rhhardin said...

Objects do not constantly seek approval.