The Not So Silent Scream
by Tony Ryals

The cameras aren't rolling for a photo-op , as in the White House. But if they were, they might be filming in black and white or perhaps in a reddish hue as she takes the can or small paper box and adds water to help it go down a little better. It's extremely bitter, burning - extremely alkaline or acidic- as she swallows it.

But a minor bitter pill to swallow in a life filled with bitter pills. No birth control pills though, or RU-486.The US government with its protestant-fundamentalist leaders is united with the Catholic Church to see to that.

This Mexican , Nicaraguan, Peruvian, Guatemalan or Columbian girl-child swallowed her bitter brew in hopes of a lucky, safe abortion-away from the scrutiny of a prying and unhelpful Church and State -WAS SHE RAPED? Or was she the victim of her own hormone ecstacy or hormone hell, performing a reproductive behavior that in the end only led to grief? Is it really any of our business? Perhaps it was a minor brief pleasure, (or perhaps it wasn't), in an otherwise dreary, marginalized life where tortillas to quench that other drive-satiating a lingering hunger, is sometimes extremely hard to come by.

If she is a rural illiterate woman she might even occasionally envy the neighbor's cow, who is plumper and better fed than she. And more capable of producing milk than she would ever be. At least the cow, the cow could eat the grass now that the forest was cut and gone.

If this woman-girl-child is one of the urban poor, the millions upon millions driven to the city as population pressures make living off the land increasingly impossible, her plight is perhaps even worse, if that's possible.

This Latin woman-girl-child could as easily be from Asia, India, the Middle East or Africa. Born into her economic and sexual caste. No way out. At most a baby-machine, and not a very good one at that.

If she is of the urban middle class she may find an expensive dehumanizing illegal abortion, perhaps with dubious results. But if you're the 'doctor' - who's going to complain about a few complications from an illegal abortion?

The police working for the church and state won't help. Maybe they’ll rape her for her efforts. Who's to complain? She was the one who had the illegal abortion. Both a criminal and a sinner.

Back to the poor campasina girl-child who has swallowed her bitter potion and is now writhing on the dirt floor of the family's one room scrap and cardboard shack-still muddy from leaks of the last rain.

Her mother has returned from her three or four mile walk into town to purchase a little bit of milled corn flour -hardly enough to stave off the hunger of her several children through the night.

And now to find her eldest daughter writhing on the floor, vomiting blood,as if her insides were dissolving. She'll be dead before her mother puts together the pieces. Although never the bigger picture of the religious holy men kissing W's ass in Washington. The son of the landowner next door will never confess his role in the nightmare. (Not that he's rich, not that he could afford another mouth to feed). But he'll never experience the nightmare or really be touched by it any more than W and his high priests will be by their religio-political decisions.

Had things gone right the abortion would have occurred, and although internal damage and pain would have lingered for some time, this girl-child(murderer?) would have survived. Now she would be saved the slow recovery, for she was now dead in her mother's arms, after releasing her last gasp, her not so silent scream.

And perhaps just as well, for with her poor malnourished body, the only milk she may have provided might have come from a few drops she might have stolen(a thief?)from the landowner's cow next door.

If she were caught she might be raped again. A vicious cycle.

Meanwhile, back in Washington D.C., W, the 'education president', takes his photo-ops with the very religious, pious, and of course affluent, men whose reproductive politics, ignorance, and laws just caused the death of this woman-girl-child (were they her true murderers?)


Copyright 1997, Tony Ryals