Blood River: a Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart

Published: 2021-09-12 14:30:12
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Category: Death, Broken Heart

Type of paper: Essay

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There are many ways in which Tim Butcher emphasises danger during this passage; he does this through his language and through using other techniques such as using triplets. One example of danger is at the very start of the passage (bottom of page 59) and this is where we see the first use of a triplet – using this technique emphasises just how dangerous the Congo can be: “Thoughts of assassination, acid baths and dismembered bodies” This triplet is used to show the possible, brutal ways of facing death in the Congo - the fact that these are Butchers thoughts imply that he is worrying about facing his death in this way, the horror of it is something no one wants to experience. Butcher also uses an accumulative effect with this list of three as the next situation appears to be worse than the previous.
Regardless of this, these three horrific examples are murders which are clearly planned and they show no respect for the dead. An assassination is usually an intentional act aimed at specific subject. As for the other two, acid baths and dismembered bodies seem to be two ways of hiding evidence and getting rid of a body. Neither of these three acts are accidents; all of them are intentional and done on purpose. Following on from this sentence, he mentions that the list of three were the only dark images on his mind.
By saying that they weren’t the only images shows that there are many other situations he could be faced with, all of the same sort. The word ‘dark’ conveys the idea of how negative each of his thoughts are as it has connotations liked with is such as death and violence. Already from this first paragraph in the passage, we can see how much potential danger Tim Butcher could be faced with. Another way in which Tim Butcher presents danger is by using an anecdote of a friend who came close to death at the exact same airport he is at now – this makes the potential danger towards Butcher seem higher.

The fact that his friend came close to death at the same place as him shows just how high the chance of him also facing death is. What really puts more emphasis on how dangerous the area is is when Butcher mentions his friend covers international crisis. This shows that he will have experienced many types of problems in his past – but none as bad as the Congo. Tim Butcher during this passage shows the majority of danger and problems through his choice of diction and emotive language. During the anecdote, he mentions that troops loyal to Mobuto were becoming increasingly desperate and were hoping to escape. Desperate’ shows how much troops wanted to escape from the power of Mobuto and the phrase ‘hoping to escape’ makes us think that the troops know escaping may be hard or even impossible, but they still try. The Congo is evidently a dangerous place especially for Journalists, as journalists are suspected to be Spies – Congolese people have no time to waste and judge this very quickly, we can tell this as Butcher tells us his friend was Seized. Being seized shows that an arrest was sudden and there was no hesitation in doing it. It comes across as forceful and out of the blue.
After being seized, journalists are also stripped at Gunpoint – this shows a sense of danger as stripping someone to their underpants is immediate humiliation and shows vulnerability. Being held at gunpoint means that his friend was facing death, but to make this situation worse, the guards had him in this way for several terrifying hours. We can see here that the experience was being prolonged over seven hours; this makes the situation tenser for the victim as they could be shot at any minute – this is what makes it so terrifying.
This section of the passage instantly tells us that the Congolese people are willing to kill. Shortly after this it is mentioned that it took hours of desperate pleading to convince the guards they were simply journalists. Desperate pleading shows how innocent the journalists are as they know having tapes gave the Congolese people the wrong impression. By the use of the word convincing, it implies that the guards weren’t taking their word for it and genuinely believed they were spies.
Tim Butcher has again used the idea of the situation being prolonged over a long period of time to emphasise how serious it was. By mentioning they were ‘simply journalists’ it shows how strict the guards are in the Congo; it must have been obvious that the visitors were just journalists and the Congolese people should know they get visitors but they take things too far. During this passage, there is another example of vulnerability being shown; this occurs when an Asian lady lands into the airport and has her luggage taken off her and she has to auction for it to given back to her.

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