Monday, January 31, 2011

Event #1 Rape in the Congo + Poetry

In all of the poems the authors speak about the beauty and hardships of life and how these things can be intertwined in a single unit. This theme relates directly to the presentation on the Rape in the Congo video event. Billie Bolton’s poem starkly contrasts Valediction with pet peeves dominating a relationship instead of the refined love that surrounds John Donne and his wife. Rita Dove’s poem is very much like The Flea in the sense that a single dance, or animal, can bring together the love of two people. The flea brings together the blood of a married couple while the fox trot brings two souls together to forget their worries and dance in unity.

The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo is a documentary of the wartime atrocities against women in this city. This documentary focuses mainly on the sexual assault and rape of the women living in Bukavu. Women are raped and mutilated daily in Bukavu by soldiers from both sides of their war. Even the Congolese army, meant to protect the people of Congo from the Rwandan rebels invading, massacring, looting, and raping, are raping their own women. Often the husbands of women are killed or flee when soldiers come out of the jungles to rape villagers. The rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo are a horrific atrocity and are an ongoing problem that requires the attention and concern of the world.

In A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning John Donne speaks of leaving his wife on a trip yet the distance that is going to be between them does not bother him due to his strong love for her. He speaks of having such a refined love that the distance between their hearts is an expansion instead of a chasm, thus reassuring his wife of their unity, asking her not to mourn. This refining process can be seen in many other analogies, such as the quote: “pressure either breaks pipes, or makes diamonds” and in the Christian viewpoint of God’s love as a refining fire.

The poem Fox Trot Fridays shows how Rita Dove appreciates the fox trot as a way to escape the troubles in her life. She relates the dance to a paradise with wonders and that the dance night is the day of the week that all of her troubles can be cast aside and she can focus on the dance. After attending the video event on the rape in the Congo it is apparent that everyone needs a place to get away and forget his/her troubles. For the mutilated women in the Congo it is extremely hard for them to feel at peace or with the community, their churches, however, provide them with the day of the week (Sunday) where they can go and forget their grief and troubles in a way that Rita forgets her heartbreak and troubles on fox trot night.

In Billie Bolton’s Memorandum the author writes poetically about her pet peeves from her ex-boyfriend. In her memo she seems to exhibit a lot of jealousy. She shows her insecurity with her boyfriend’s obsession with celebrity body parts, his addictions to things that draw his attention away from her (T.V. fantasy football, shopping, cell phones, etc…) and even his devotion to the Virgin Mary. This poem shows not only the jealous aspects of the author but draws a common theme with her boyfriend’s addictions: technology. Technology can be seen to be the driving force behind her messy relationship, just as it can be seen to ruin relationships in the world today, distracting people from what really matters, each other.

John Donne’s The Flea shows an unlikely union of his wife and he, one that is more sacred than their marriage. By the flea biting both of them, it has done what marriage can only do figuratively, intertwine their lives (blood is the source of life) and, in innocence, make them one. This poem can be seen to show how nature can do what humans fail to do, this flea does what their marriage cannot and what his wife will not, intertwine their blood, it shows that the innocence in marital sex is similar to the innocence in nature.

The rapes in the Congo are the most atrocious acts being committed in our world today. The poems and the video on the Congo have a sense of religion and marriage as part of their central themes. The loving relationship that John Donne has with his wife and the intertwining of their blood in his second poem show a sense of beauty. The memo that Billie Bolton writes to her boyfriend shows the brokenness in their relationship and Rita Dove shows the beauty of unity in the fox trot. Dove also writes about how the dance takes away the troubles of heartbreak and grief. In the Congo, however, there is only one escape from their abuse, the church. The women are raped and their husbands often leave them, showing brokenness in their relationship, starkly contrasting the beauty in John Donne’s relationship.

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