ON THE OCCASION OF THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY
OF DIALOGUE BETWEEN NATIONS AND
THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
OF INGRID WASHINAWATOK
1999 – 2009
I AM ONLY A WITNESS
Natalie Drache, Producer
Dialogue Between Nations/dbn.tv
|This is not my story. I am only a witness swept along by
circumstances. Moved by tragedy I picked up one event among
millions and said basta. Enough is enough. A kidnapping. A
murder. A jungle. It could have been another person. It could
have been another country. There are thousands of displaced
peoples walking across my TV screen with donkey carts, and water
cans and lengths of poles to make shelters. It could have been a
child, raped and tossed aside. It could have been, it could have
been. But it wasn’t. It was Ingrid.
I did not know her. I heard her voice and her thoughts touched
me. I heard her voice and I looked around the room, to see where
it came from. A group of women, strong and powerful, were
sitting together. I felt too timid to approach. But I did. Me,
the outsider. A witness. I met the voice. I was interested in
more information. The women offered me a document. I looked at
the name of the author.
Ingrid Washinawatok. Who was she? I asked the voice if she
would sign it.
I had been taping audio through the speaker system in a
Conference Room at the United Nations in Geneva. I listened over
and over to that voice, her voice, distorted by the decibels,
the earphone pressed against my microphone. I listened and was
Time passed and just as I was thinking about her again, the news
came that she was one of three Americans murdered by the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. There were calls for
justice. Questions asked.
But the answers, the answers, where are they? In UN-speak, in
criminal courts, in the smoke of burning incense, in the damp
growth on the banks of a contaminated river, in the child who
washes and drinks from it.
As a witness to her voice, not her face, not the laugh I have
been told about, a clarity ran through my earphones, offering a
vision – a place of dialogue, and a place within from which it
Nations began with
with Ingrid’s voice circling on the wheels of a tape recorder.
Ten years ago something inside me, something starved by a
holocaust, compelled me to place Flying Eagle Woman
O’Peqtaw-Metamoh at the centre of the dialogue that became this
Thank you to all those who have shared your hearts
and your skills in the realization of Dialogue Between Nations
May 17, 2009