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Lions Roar : March 2014
When I Enter the City of Joy In war-torn Congo, Eve Ensler learns what love can really do I DO NOT KNOW how to end the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I don’t know where governments end and corpo- rations begin. I cannot show you exactly how the mining of the coltan that is in your cellphone is linked to Jeanne being raped in her village. I don’t know how to move the UN Security Council, or the secretary-general, or the European, British, or Canadian Parliament, or Congress or Downing Street or the White House. I have made impas- sioned visits to all these places and have left each time, crushed and bewildered. I do not know how to arrest the war criminals or the corpo- rate exploiters. I do know that the minute I enter the City of Joy everything seems possible. It is green and clean. It is the lotus rising from the mud. It is the metaphor for a new beginning, for building a new world. Three of the ten principles governing the City of Joy are (a) tell the truth, (b) stop waiting to be rescued, and (c) give away what you want the most. In the City of Joy I know how to do things: how to hug Telusia, Jeanne, and Prudence, and how to remind them not to turn their gaze away because the shame they carry is not their own. I know how to lis- ten and how to keep asking questions. I know how to cry and that if I love the women of the Congo, and I don’t close off my heart, that love will cut a path, a plan will be revealed, and I will find the money and everything that is necessary. Because love does that. ♦ From In the Body of the World: A Memoir, by Eve Ensler. © 2013 Eve Ensler. Reprinted with permission of Random House Canada. recovery is ongoing, and for those of us who live in the belly of imperialist white suprema- cist capitalist patriarchy, our recovery is also ongoing. Our decolonization is ongoing and we have to remain critically vigilant. Question: Are there any practices that you recommend—meditation or prayer—to bring us back into our bod- ies and our spirits? bell hooks: I really believe in great therapy. [laughter] Any time you have good therapy that is healing, it brings you into your body. It answers the questions that your body raises. And I definitely depend on spiritual practice, meditation, affirmation, as part of that healing. Eve Ensler: I really believe in dancing. [laughter] If the women of Congo have taught me anything, it is that dancing is the answer to trauma. The women of Congo dance like no other people I’ve ever seen in the world—they dance in a way that is trans- formative on the cellular level. I’ve seen a woman who’s gone through terrible trauma, and the women gather with her, and they dance and they dance. The fact that we put dancing down is an indication of the patriar- chal confines we’re in. I think people should dance all day long. I think it should be a part ofwhatwedo.♦ Spring 2013 graduates at City of Joy. All are survivors of violence. PHOTOBYJAVIERSORIANO.COM bell hooks and Eve Ensler at The New School PHOTOBYPAULAALLENFORV-DAY/DRC.VDAY.ORG SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2014 51