The Jungle, as we imagine it through movies and books, is a misty and strange canopy far outside the realm of our polished neighborhoods and sleek technology. It is a place of fantasy; an archaic world of ancient ruins and exotic beasts. As well-fed Americans, the rainforest is something we thinking about “saving” from time to time, or view on our flatscreens for 45 minutes on a lazy evening of channel surfing. But for a handful of special survivors, The Jungle is a long and winding nightmare years-long in the making. For Colombian activist and politician, Ingrid Betancourt, the Amazon Jungle is the stage for her own personal tale of capture, hell and redemption.
Betancourt was kidnapped on February 23, 2002 while campaigning for the Colombian presidency. Her captors, members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), intercepted the travelling party en route to the town of San Vincente del Caguan in the “demilitarized zone.” Held as a political hostage with fourteen other captives, Betancourt endured six years in the far reaches of the Amazon jungle shackled, beaten, starved and subjected to psychological torture at the hands of her tormentors. In her book, Even Silence has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle, Betancourt recounts the horrors, fears and struggle to maintain hope and humanity inside a living nightmare.
A Nominee of the Nobel Peace Prize and the recipient of the Legion d’honneur and Concord Prince of Austurias Award, Betancourt will share her experience firsthand at the Louisville Free Public Library’s Main branch tonight. Beginning at 7pm, she will read from Even Silence has an End and express the lessons of courage, resilience and strength her kidnapping imparted. Freed in 2008 by the Colombian Army, Betancourt is now determined to shine a spotlight on the plight of hostages and terror victims throughout the world. Her deeply personal message of freedom and humanity is a soul-shaking walk in the darkness of an unknown wilderness.
This event is free, but tickets are required. Order online or call 574-1644
The Library’s Main branch is located at the corner of 4th St and York St
Photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Free Public Library website www.lfpl.org