Friday, July 04, 2008

Betancourt’s Independence Day

Wonderful to hear about the release of former Columbian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. I won’t comment on the controversy surrounding the release because, in a way, it doesn’t matter. What does matter: Betancourt is alive and free after so many years. For a time, many of us doubted if either of those things would ever be true. In any case The Telegraph deals with that aspect, and all others, with an even hand here.

Not long after Betancourt was taken hostage six years ago, I reviewed Until Death Do Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia (HarperCollins/Ecco), the then-new biography of the “beauty contestant-turned-social-activist.” From my 2002 review:
Until Death Do Us Part is a compelling book. It reads, at times, like fiction. The well-bred girl making the perfect match and throwing it all aside in order, she feels, to save her country. A knowledge -- or even an interest -- in Colombian politics is not required. In simple -- and often quite lovely -- prose, the book is a true life political thriller, a deeply personal tale and -- at its core -- the story of a courageous woman making difficult choices.

“Now that I’ve arrived at this point,” Betancourt writes in Until Death Do Us Part, “will they kill me too?” One hopes, having read her frank and generous book and considering her current perilous position, that they do not.
I’m so, so glad that our worst fears did not come true.


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