I Saw a Man Die on Oprah

I saw a man die on Oprah yesterday.    It wasn’t of embarrassment.  It wasn’t a character in a movie.

It was a real man. A young man.  A man who had a name I do not know.  A man who had a family and dreams,  I suppose.   Maybe both of these had died long before.

I was watching her show because she was telling stories of women in the world.  Women who have made a difference.  Women whose lives had been changed.  An African woman who dreamed great dreams and made them all come true. An Indian woman who had taken a loan and built a business that bought her freedom and respect.  A Congolese woman who spoke with courage about being raped in a culture where you don’t speak of being raped.

Then, in the midst of footage from the DR of Congo, where they recorded the woman’s courageous telling of her rape, there it was. Maybe ten seconds in a montage of other footage.

Two rebels in fatigues holding a young man in ragged clothes at the edge of a bridge.  One solider had his feet.  The other his hands.  As the man twisted and cried out with desperate pleas, they threw him over the side of the bridge.

This wasn’t a movie clip.  There wasn’t a mattress or inflatable waiting at the bottom to break his fall.

And then to make sure they had ended his life, they slid their guns from their shoulders and fired repeatedly into the water below.

Ten seconds over.  On to another scene.

But this scene replays over and over in my mind.  I was and am physically sick.

I’m not oblivious to what is happening in the world.  I’m removed but not oblivious.  I read books by survivors of unspeakable atrocities. I follow news reports and organizations like Invisible Children and Falling Whistles that fight to end these wars in central Africa. I write my government leaders telling them it must be a priority to end these wars. I show movies that tell the stories of Night Commuters, Glue Boys, and young men like Sunday to my youth and challenge them to get involved.  I’ve been to Kenya twice, will return two more times this year, and have talked with people who have scars from machetes or family members that only exist in memories and stories because their lives were stolen.

But this. This ten second clip cut through all those and went straight to the heart.

His horrific murder was captured on video and that intimate moment was shown to 7 million plus individuals in the world.

As a f—— passing clip.

Oh God, how could you possibly forgive us for sitting by while this is happening.

I saw a man die on Oprah yesterday.  Today many, many more die in silence from our silence.

Please, please help me make some noise.

1.  Learn about what is happening in the Congo.

2. Sign a petition to get President Obama’s attention that this must stop.  Arrest Joseph Kony, end the war, and help restore the regions of conflict and rehabilitate the people that live there.

3.  Call, email or write your members of Congress.

4.  Share this with your friends and family members.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “I Saw a Man Die on Oprah

  1. Thanks, Melissa. Sean Carasso, of Falling Whistles, is a friend of mine from my youth ministry days. We keep in touch, and are working to figure out how to best support this organization and its message, but more importantly the people for whom this organization lends its voice.

    Thank you for making us aware. I look forward to the day that Oprah takes a hour to talk about this human atrocity and lends her voice to these young boys.

    And thank you, Emerging Women (http://www.emergingwomen.com) for posting this. In our venture for equality we have to remember that it is not a fight to get ahead, or promote only ourselves, but rather a legitimate fight for equality–which includes all those who are getting left behind and voiceless. That fight needs to make sure that we are not so focused on ourselves that we barely notice the death of a man…and many like him. Thank you, Emerging Women, for keeping that on the fronts of our minds. I am sad that Oprah missed that, but glad that you did not.