Through Nick Kristof’s twitter and his blog, I got to know about Somaly Mam and the organization (AFESIP) she had started up which eventually led me to read her book, The Road of Lost Innocence: As a girl she was sold into sexual slavery, but now she rescues others. The true story of a Cambodian heroine. While the details and numbers were relatively disconcerting, I wasn’t as horrified as I assume I should have been. No, it didn’t break my heart nor did I tear, it was merely information to me. The story of an incredibly brave and strong woman, recounting her nightmarish life to bring awareness to others in the world, like me, whom are very much sheltered from the terrors happening out there. Driven by her own experience to help others who have encountered what she did and to prevent it from happening to others.
I saw many reviews by readers claiming that they could feel her pain and imagine the terror the victims felt when reading. Really? How? Did you compare the sufferings to that of yours in your sheltered world? The anguish of being sold by your parents against your parents refusing to buy you a LV bag? The terror of being abused daily against being cane for mischief? In all honesty, I can’t imagine the depths of what they’ve been through neither can I imagine the look in their eyes as described by Somaly. I understand that it was horrible but I cannot comprehend in the way that only the party involved can. Would you die of the pain you’ve imagined from a shark bite? Not for me. So no, my heart didn’t break when reading, even if it did, it would probably have been shallow based on my own experience of having my heart broken by some minor matters.
And because it is the norm to feel strongly reading about such happenings as majority would, I guess, something is wrong with me since I don’t feel much at all.
Anyway, utmost respect to Somaly for being able to face her past and turn her pain into determination to help others. In my eyes, you have succeeded from the very first girl you had saved.
On a side note, how is that we all came from Adam and Eve, moved on to inhibit different ends of the world and end up with massively varying cultures and behaviors? If we’re influenced by the external environment, by the people surrounding us, how did the world end up with such great discrepancies? Unless we were influenced by the characteristics of animals during the time of Adam and Eve, humans are not born ‘blank’. It appears that certain characteristics are inborn rather than nurtured from our external environment.
Next up, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. Such books create awareness and offer a tiny glimpse of the pain and suffering we know not of, out in the huge world we belong to. It also acts as a reminder for us to count our blessings, complain less and live life fully.