Friday, May 13, 2011

"I lied."

“Five feet high, six feet long, three feet wide.
That was the size of the hole in the ground where a CBC journalist was kept after being kidnapped in Afghanistan.”

So read the headline published in the GLOBE AND MAIL dated May 12, 2011 and written by a Sarah Hampson.

The article is about Mellisa Fung, a CBC journalist who was kidnapped by Afghan men while reporting in that country in 2008 and subsequently held for 28 days. Now, she has written a book about that experience in “Under an Afghan Sky.”

“ I lied.”

That phrase by her caught my attention. Perhaps, because she hits on an issue that parallels a lot of us Survivors who had attended residential school. Apparently, Mellisa had disclosed details in her book that she was reluctant to share previously in face-to-face interviews – “that she was sexually assaulted by one of the captors with a knife held to her throat. When she was debriefed in Kabul after her release, she was asked if she had suffered sexual abuse, “I said no,” she says quietly.

“ I lied.”

She didn’t want to be seen as a victim “but as a writer and journalist, it didn’t feel right not to put it in.” Lying was and still is the kind of attitude regarded as the norm of most of us who attended residential school; lying is some cases for 30 – 40 years. Now, for residential school survivors, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission perhaps is a way to share his/her story of the truth. For many then and now, we should perhaps get past that notion of  “I lied.”

Melissa spent 28 days captured in that hole, how much more of a story do we have. For me, it was 13 years captured in residential school, in that bed, three feet high, six feet long, two feet wide.