Martin Amis Writes About the Violent World of Young Men in Colombia

From The Times of London:

Martin20amisThe classic venganza, in Cali gangland, is not a bullet through the head but a bullet through the spine. Some thought has gone into this. ‘One month after the attack,’ says Roger Micolta, the young therapist from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), ‘the victims ask me, ‘Will I ever walk?’ Two months after, they ask me, ‘Will I ever f***?” The answer to both questions is invariably no. So the victims not only have to live with their wound; they have to wear it, they have to wheel it: everybody knows that they have lost what made them men.

At the municipal hospital in Aguablanca, at therapy time in the mid-afternoons, crippled innocents, like limping Bryan, are outnumbered by crippled murderers – by cripples who have done much crippling in their time. They go through interminable sets of exercises: pull-ups, sideways rolls. Girlfriends and sisters take hairbrushes to their legs, to encourage sensation. One young man, inching along the parallel bars, keeps freezing and closing his eyes in helpless grief. Another has a weight strapped to his ankle; he is watched by his mother, who reflexively swings her own leg in time with his.

Read the whole column here.