A KCRW Story

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

While driving yesterday I was listening to the KCRW, which is Southern California’s leading public radio.  I wish I could remember the show but I don’t.  I’ve actually tried to search for it but came out empty.

In any case, the show was about what is happening to a group of women in Iraq; women that have lost their male protectors due to the war and internal instability, and are rapped by other men and then pushed away and abandoned by their own families.

The woman being interviewed (I don’t know if she was a journalist or worked for a women’s organization) was describing the shelters these victims are forced to go to; mostly rat infested basements with no windows and very little food.  These are not government sponsored shelters; they are supported by foreign women organizations and single donors. Also because these women are undesirable to their own society they have to hide and keep quiet. They become human shadows.

The woman giving the interview was going on about the dire situation of these victims when she was asked by the radio interviewer if she thought, prior to visiting the shelters, that what she was going to see was better or worse than what she saw.

The interviewed woman took a pause and said something like “the conditions in which these women live are the most precarious possible.  At night the rats come out and go on their makeshift beds.  They crawl around the children. But…” – and her BUT is what really moved me – “one day the radio was playing a very popular song and all of a sudden the women in the shelter got up and started to dance and sing with each other.  They laughed, they danced, they sang and I thought to myself how little it takes for humans to find laughter.”  I’m paraphrasing the interviewed woman’s dialogue as I don’t remember the exact words.  But what’s important is that these women going through horrific life experiences could find a moment of respite from their lives with each other in the beat of a popular song. That is the strength of the human spirit which searches for moments of happiness and of sharing.