Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

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by Ingrid Betancourt
     
 

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A Bolt of Lightning tore through the forest, landing a few yards from me. In a burst of light, the space around me was revealed in all its horror. I was surrounded by gigantic trees, and was only two steps from falling into a ravine. I stopped short, totally blinded. I squatted to catch my breath among the roots of the tree just before me. I was on the verge of

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Overview

A Bolt of Lightning tore through the forest, landing a few yards from me. In a burst of light, the space around me was revealed in all its horror. I was surrounded by gigantic trees, and was only two steps from falling into a ravine. I stopped short, totally blinded. I squatted to catch my breath among the roots of the tree just before me. I was on the verge of finally taking out my flashlight when I noticed intermittent flashes of light in the distance, headed my way. I could hear their voices now. They must be very near, because I heard one of them shout that he had already seen me. I camouflaged myself among the roots of the old tree while praying to the Lord to make me invisible.

I followed their progress from the swinging of their beams of light. One of them aimed his beam at me. I closed my eyes, unmoving, waiting for their shouts of victory before they seized me. But the light left me, came back for an instant, then went away for good, leaving me in silence and darkness.

I got up, still trembling, leaning against the hundred-year-old-tree to recover my wits. ... From memory, I cleared a path where I thought I'd seen a passage between two trees while I waited for the next flash of lightning to free me from my blindness. The guerrillas were gone.

My relationship with the night world began to change. It was easier to move ahead, my hands reacted faster, and my body was learning to anticipate the lay of the land. The sensation of horror was beginning to fade. My surroundings were no longer totally hostile. I began to think of these trees, these palms, these ferns, this intrusive undergrowth as a possible refuge. The fact of being soaked, bleeding from my hands and fingers, covered with mud and not knowing where to go-all of this lost its importance. I could survive. I had to walk, keep moving, get away. At dawn they would resume the chase. But with every step, I kept repeating I am free, and my voice kept me company.

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Editorial Reviews

Larry Rohter
Even Silence Has an End,…is gripping not just for its heart-wrenching portrayal of captivity, but also because of the sharp and useful psychological insights it offers. With her life at stake, Ms. Betancourt proves quite perceptive in analyzing human behavior: the morale-sapping mind games that captives played with one another as well as the strategies she used in hopes of preserving some shred of dignity and keeping her guerrilla adversaries off balance.
—The New York Times
Caroline Elkins
Captive for more than a year in the jungles of Colombia, ­Ingrid ­Betancourt took to her insect ­infested cot, drained by despair. Fat Martha, her aptly nicknamed guard, had brought fresh news: the hell in which ­Betancourt was living wasn't harsh enough. A veritable concentration camp, complete with chain-link fences and barbed wire, was being thrown up in haste under the canopies of the country's impenetrable interior. In her gripping memoir…Betancourt captures the despondency wrought by Fat Martha's pronouncement with a blend of power and self-awareness that inscribes not just this one disturbing moment but her account's every page.
—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594202650
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/21/2010
Pages:
544
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Born December 25, 1961, in Bogotá, Colombia, Ingrid Betancourt was a politician and presidential candidate celebrated for her determination to combat widespread corruption. In 2002 she was taken hostage by the FARC, a brutal terrorist guerrilla organization. For more than six and a half years, the FARC held her hostage in the Colombian jungle. She was rescued on July 2, 2008.

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