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Marieke Hopman

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28 december 2016

Coming back from CAR again

28 december 2016 | By | 4 Comments

Dear all,

Since two days I am again back in the Netherlands, and even on the plane I started working on processing the results. There is so much information, so many impressions, and I am hoping to have a report and a PhD chapter finished in two months..!
Today I wanted to make the last video journal but I cannot really get myself to watch the images just now. It is my second time coming back from CAR and it is not necessarily easier. I guess when you are in the middle of it, you kind of absorb and postpone all emotional reactions. Then when coming back, it kind of hits you in the face. Which is normal and good, but, I just need a minute :). So the video is coming up soon, but not just now. In the meantime I just wrote a poem – it’s not a very good one, but I think it explains very well what it’s like coming back, and what reality in CAR is like. For now, it is all I can do not to get back on the next plane to Bangui…

It is usually around 4PM
I’m studying, I’m reading,
I’m listening, I’m understanding
taking a nice, analytical
distance

Until at 4PMDCIM100GOPROGOPR0383.JPG
it hits me
reality
I go out for a cigarette
my stomach starts hurting
I go to the toilet
I sit, I shit,
I lost
again

Reality sweeps me off my feet
turns my head upside down,
saying
Remember what you did?
Remember whom you talked to?
Remember you did not go back
to see if they were still
alive?
Remember the one trustworthy
government official
with his crooked reading glasses
who told you everything
who got killed?
Remember the girls?
Remember those you left
behind, who are waiting,
hoping, praying, while
things are getting worse?
What are you doing,
sitting on a sofa, reading
a book?
When do you go back
to die with them?
What gives you the right
to leave?

I know I don’t have a right to anything. I don’t
need to take this warm shower, wear
these warm clothes, glasses, wine, throwing
away the food that we did not finish,
using lamps,
heating the whole house,
playing violin.

But I don’t know what
else to do.

Comments

  1. Ineke Thierauf

    Dank voor je updates en je impressies. Je gedicht geeft me kippenvel en raakt me.

  2. Marieke Hopman

    Dank Ineke!

  3. wiron

    Nice one, Marieke, hard one- take your time to absorb all past and new and see what’s in store for you next. You’re on the right track. Enjoy the hot shower.

  4. Marieke, Strong and moving. However, responding to the last sentence of your poem: you know what to do. Just continue what you started. Be a witness, be a voice.

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