Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt
If asked to describe this book, my reply would be it’s a gripping memoir by a resilient woman. Born in Colombian city of Bogotá and raised in France, Ingrid Betancourt gave a cold shoulder on her comfortable life to return to her native country of Colombia to contest for presidency. “Like Alice in Wonderland, I was falling, falling into a bottomless well,” Ingrid writes. “This was my black hole. I was being sucked down, dragged down into the bowels of the earth. I was alive only so that I could witness myself dying.” The Colombian native ordeal began in February 23rd 2002 when she was abducted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia well known as FARC while campaigning in the isolated town of San Vicente del Caguán. She was a presidential candidate for Colombia’s Oxygen Green Party and after her capture, Ingrid would end up spending the next six and a half years in the jungle as a prisoner. FARC is known worldwide as quasi Marxist guerrilla organization notorious for drug trafficking, hostage taking tactics and murdering Colombian national government soldiers.
At the beginning of the story, Ingrid writes: “I had just lost my freedom, but I was not willing to surrender my identity.” Spiritually it is even more gruelling. “The days seemed endless,” Ingrid writes. “Stretching cruelly and slowly between anguish and boredom.” It is evident that Ingrid was craving for her children, Mélanie and Lorenzo, who lived without her with each day she spends in the captivity. In my thinking, “Even Silence Has an End” is an account of a woman’s battle to escape as the prisoner of men who openly despised her. Without doubt, Ingrid’s well-documented facts on her story are mindboggling and jaw dropping. Her unwavering spirit makes this extra ordinary account extremely special to read. “Even Silence Has an End” is a classically chronicled personal and heart moving account of an individual who suffered for her belligerence to take on men. According to the story, Ingrid was chained day and night for much of her life in the jungle and never stopped dreaming of escape. Ingrid’s experiences in the captivity was not a cakewalk as she lives through most agonizing physical conditions. Ingrid was abused, starved, invaded by armies of bees, red ants, tarantulas, anacondas, bears, wild boar, Jaguars among others in various camps where she was held.
“Even Silence Has an End “is more or less like a meditation on the very stuff of life fear and freedom and what inspires and motivate it. Ingrid shares how she adapted to listening to her mother and two children broadcast to her over the radio and with her daily prayers, she was able to do the unimaginable through the pain and agony of the moment. In my soul searching after reading the book, I can confidently say the memoir of Ingrid Betancourt courts controversy in many aspects. For example, none of us would even dare to allow kidnappers get anywhere near us and therefore am one of those believes that human beings do not deserve to be kidnapped. One thing that I don’t sympathize with Ingrid is her ignorance of advice. My mother once told me that when you were told not to do something, you shouldn’t at all. One time she asked me not to visit the then racial hotspot of St. Alban in Melbourne and warned that I will take full responsibility for my actions instead of heaping the blame on the racism buffoons. In case of Ingrid, she has not acknowledged in the book the fact that she went against the grain and rubbished everyone’s advise in the end endangering herself as well as people close to her. Ingrid entered the rebels held areas on her own will after being advised against it and after being informed of the dangers posed, and signing a release form stating that she assumed responsibility for entering the FARC territory. Ingrid demonstrates a heart of a courage and resilience.
This book is Ingrid’s version of events and I strongly believe that it is as valid and deservedly, one of the most authoritative memoirs of a captive. Additionally, Ingrid’s is an interesting character and an excellent author by world standard in the way she exposes the intrinsic human condition of captives. This story is an individual effort meant to draw global attention to the sufferings of hostages of terror groups. That kind of passion is what motivated me about Even Silence Has an End. I did not find it comforting that Ingrid advocate equality for Colombia when she keeps living expensive life, earning millions of dollars yet she cannot show any commitment to help the communities that are suffering from captivity by rebels. Ingrid clearly received special treatment, while she herself treated everyone else in a ruthlessly. There is some evidence in the book that Ingrid was a bit greedy because after being rescued, the other hostages, including the three Americans showed appreciation to those who endangered their lives to save them but Ingrid pure greed made her decide to sue them. Its only after it became evident that all the evidence and testimony pointed against her, did Ingrid agree to drop the charges. The testimony offered by all her fellow hostages portrays Ingrid as cruel, heartless and abusive human being, who was determined to put the lives of others in danger to satisfy her selfish plans. Me think, Ingrid’s story is an attempt to repair her battered image but I salute her accounts consistency.