I apologize in advance. Usually my posts are on the happy, optimistic, and cheery side…but this one isn’t going to be. It might also turn into a bit of a rant. I blame it on the fact that a couple of days ago it was 65 and sunny and today it’s been snowing all day. March. Ugh.

Last year, two of my classes (Sociology and Improvisation) combined into a third seminar class, a Learning Community requirement by my college called Society on Stage. The seminar was taught by both the professors from Sociology and Improvisation, and we focused on the issue of human trafficking. We did a lot of research all semester for the seminar. We even had guest speakers who had survived human trafficking ordeals. Every week we’d meet, share our research, and discuss our findings and our thoughts.

Meanwhile, in Sociology we were learning about social issues and in Improvisation we were learning to break out of our shells and perform in front of each other.

At the end of the semester we combined what we learned in both classes, and worked as a class to put together a performance of a student written play called Stuck in Traffick to raise awareness about human trafficking on campus. The show was a huge success. We had a full house and really opened the eyes of the campus to the issue of human trafficking. All semester I had been discouraged learning about the atrocities occurring in our world that I had heard nothing about until then. I felt powerless to do anything, but after our show I felt as if we had really done something, however small, to move in the right direction. The first problem with human trafficking is ignorance. Hardly anyone knows the extent of the problem, so it slips through the cracks as an issue of paramount social importance.

Since that class, I’ve taken the issue of human trafficking to heart, so it is no surprise that I am thinking about choosing it as my topic for my final research paper in my Gods, Kings, and Justice class this semester. There’s going to be a paper and a presentation, the whole sha-bang, and today I went to my professor’s office to sign up for a presentation time. After penciling my name in on April 20th, I starting chatting with my professor about my ideas for my topic. I told my professor that as part of the Sociology class I had researched the Democratic Republic of the Congo with two classmates and was horrified by the injustices occurring there.

My professor kindly lent me a video about the issue in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hoping it would help me narrow down my ideas for her project. I am thinking about human trafficking, slavery, women’s equality issues, and the issue of rape as a weapon of war in the DRC…I have to focus in on one issue or this research paper could turn into more of tome.

After my classes ended, I trekked through the snow to the library to watch the video since I didn’t have a VHS in my room.

As I watched, the feelings of helplessness and horror I had felt last year in my Society on Stage class came flooding back. The gut-wrenching stories the women in the video shared were absolutely devastating. The war in the DRC has been being waged for 10 years over valuable resources and power. It is an economic war fought by men, but the women are the true victims.

The stories are so horrible that I don’t even feel comfortable recounting them here. If you really want to learn more, it’s easy enough to find information online. As I walked back to my dorm (still in the @#*$% snow) I couldn’t help but wonder a few things.

Why all this suffering? It’s a question that’s been asked through the ages; why do we suffer? People, myself included, have answered this question with variations of “there cannot be light without the dark,” that is, without suffering we can’t know or appreciate happiness. You lose your job, that’s suffering, but when you eventually are re-employed you have a new appreciation for your work and have learned from your experience (hopefully). You break your leg, that’s suffering, but when you heal and can walk, run and dance again, you find that it brings you new joy that it didn’t before.

But the suffering I saw in that video today doesn’t fit that bill. The women in the DRC are enduring unimaginable suffering. How can you tell a woman who watches her husband  murdered in front of her, her daughters raped, then endures being gang raped herself by soldiers who are supposed to be protecting her, that her suffering is for a reason? I see no reason there.

It makes you lose your faith in things, such horrific things happening. I not only find myself asking “how can I do something?” which is a hard enough question as it is, but “why is this happening in the first place?” what sort of world to we live in that allows these things to go on every day? Where is the justice? Where is the uproar? Where is the absolute indignation that women and girls as young as two are being raped in the jungle of the DRC by the hundreds of thousands?

I’m sitting here at my desk, in a cozy college dorm room, receiving an education, safe, with a loving family, with my friends, doing what I love, with a whole future ahead of me, while around the world an unspeakable monstrosity is occurring. Why? Why do I get to live luxuriously while others suffer…suffer more than anyone should ever have to suffer?

It is hard to have faith in anything larger than yourself when such unfairness exists. Why would any god, any divine being, any spiritual energy, allow for such things? Yes, suffering exists in duality with prospering and joy, but suffering to this extent? It’s disgusting. It’s not right. It makes you question the world.


About MMM

Resolving to write in 2011!
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4 Responses to Faith

  1. Paul says:

    Mere: I very deep and troubling issue, which you have very thoughtfully provided insight, and asked, of course, the unanswerable question: WHY? One response that I share for you to give thought: our human society is filled with the spectrum of thoughts, experience and joy; it is also by the contrast that we come to understand the limitations of human capability. I agree, that there is no explanation for this hopelessness and despair for these young woman in a very underdeveloped part of the world. The pain, sadness and horror they live should not be experienced. However, it is through your exposure to this human element that you can come to appreciate that God gives us all the ability in the world to analyze, conceptualize and act. YOUR acting, which is characterized by sadness and anger (sadness) insures that our intelligent and gifted selfs’ are able to RESPOND: if only to educate and inform, and challenge those so much more fortunate to come to heightened appreciation. There are many many world rights groups working on this horrific section of the world, andthe resources are being assembled and coordinated by the very minds and energy captured in your blog. It is easy to despair, but more important to contribute your thoughts, energy and ideas to the solution: and educating others is a huge step.
    I know that we can also provide world relief support in a varietyof ways, not just financial. Last years dance effort is one such example. While your blogs are normally very optimistic and positive, it is this thoughtful and sensitive one that caught my heart for its’ sensitivity. Bring your generations energy and commitment, dancer!

  2. Taylor says:

    Tough stuff. 😦 I know how you feel. Last year I took a year long course on discrimination in the US and how we can go about changing it. But some of the things people face here are nothing compared to other places. Like you, I don’t have the answer either. But at least we’re informed, that’s how I see it. We’re not going on living blissfully like nothing bad has ever happened. There’s a drive to change things and to better the world. Its not pretty, but maybe that’s why suffering exists? So that we have to reach out and help so that the world is a little smaller and a little bit friendlier for everyone. Who knows? Not me, that’s for sure.

    • MMM says:

      Good insight, Taylor. At least we are informed…I like thinking that at least this might bring people together, make everyone reach out and help someone else. That’s a good way of thinking about it 🙂

  3. Julie says:

    Dear Meredith, This is where I feel so sad as a parent — that this is the word you are inheriting. I have read about these atrocities and this is where I rely on my healing. I go deep into meditation and send healing to suffering sisters across the globe. During my energy classes, I heard many stories of women abused. My anger and outrage welled up just like yours and propelled me to at least try to alleviate suffering in my own small sphere of influence. As to why this suffering exists, I have no answer except to say that human beings are causing the suffering, not God. When enough of us will no longer tolerate it, it will end. There seems to be a “non-interference clause” in our spiritual contracts — angels and spirit guides cannot interfere with the free will of humanity. But they can intercede if we ask, to relieve suffering, or to help us relieve suffering. The energy of your outrage is what changes the world. Thanks for sharing it with us. Love you babe.

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