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I'm not posting this on the front page, because there is a high probability that it isn't "happy" or "clean" enough.

Update [2005-5-8 17:53:12 by Plutonium Page]: I changed my mind. The folks in the comments convinced me that we need to talk about this, even if it is shocking. Oh, and please don't hit the recommend button. The only way I could preserve the comments was to promote my own diary.


Whether male or female, if you call yourself a feminist but you don't appreciate the plight of the women in this story, you are not a real feminist.  You don't know what "women's rights" are until you read this story.

If you only want happy stories of fertile women in their comfortable American homes on Mother's Day, stop reading right now.  If you are content to think that we, as a nation, are doing our best to promote human rights in the world, stop reading right now.

However, if you want to know what's going on in another part of the world, a war-torn part of the world, a place called DR Congo, turn the virtual page.

If you are unfamiliar with the situation in DR Congo, this link will give you some background information.

And, here's the story, from the pages of Ms. Magazine, about what has happened to the women there:

It took Thérèse Mwandeko a year to save the money. She knew she could walk the first 40 kilometers of her journey, but would need to pay for a lift for the last 20.

So she traded bananas and peanuts until she'd saved $1.50 in Congolese francs, then set out for Bukavu. She walked with balled-up fabric clenched between her thighs, to soak up blood that had been oozing from her vagina for two years, since she had been gang-raped by Rwandan militia soldiers who plundered her village in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Finally, she arrived at Panzi Hospital.

Here, Thérèse takes her place in line, along with 80 women, waiting for surgery to rebuild her vagina. Dr. Denis Mukwege, Panzi's sole gynecologist and one of two doctors in the eastern Congo who can perform such reconstructive surgeries, can repair only five women a week. The air is thick with flies. It reeks from women with fistula: rips in the vaginal wall where rape tore out chunks of flesh separating the bladder and rectum from the vagina. Yet Thérèse, 47, is happier than she's been in years.

"Until I came here, I had no hope I could be helped," she says.

Across the DRC are tens of thousands of women like this: physically ravaged, emotionally terrorized, financially impoverished. Except for Thérèse and a few fortunate others, these women have no help of any kind: Eight years of war have left the country in ruins, and Congolese women have been victims of rape on a scale never seen before.

The article goes on to mention that rape is used as a weapon, a very powerful weapon.  Men are raped as well as women.

More specifics on the clinic:

The ward where Thérèse waits for surgery is run by a social worker, Louise Nzigire. The women tell her they are "not women anymore." They are often too physically damaged to farm, or bear children, and there is such stigma associated with rape in Congo -- where female virginity is prized and the husband of a rape survivor is considered shamed -- that rape survivors are routinely shunned by husbands, parents and communities.

Nzigire believes rape has been a cheap, simple weapon for all parties in the war, more easily obtainable than bullets or bombs: "This violence was designed to exterminate the population," she says quietly.

And, as you can imagine, many of the women are infected with HIV because they were raped:

An estimated 30 percent of the women raped in Congo 's war are infected with HIV; as many as 60 percent of the combatants are believed to have the virus. Shami also suffers continual pain in her shredded vagina, but has had no medical help since the rape. There is a hospital in Kibombo, with six wards: Four are empty; two each contain three iron bed frames, stripped of any mats. The director, Jean-Yves Mukamba (the only doctor for this region of 25,000 square kilometers) knows he is surrounded by women suffering raging venereal infections, HIV, prolapsed uteruses, torn vaginas.

"I think it was a large majority of the women here who were raped, almost all of them. But I can't help them with just my bare hands," he says. When he decided, late last year, to consult with sexual-violence victims, more than 100 women turned up the first morning.

"I had nothing, not even antibiotics, to give them." Not that antibiotics would have helped much: "Most cases were traumatization of the genitals: These women had been raped with a tree branch or the barrel of a gun, or a bayonet. When you see a woman who was forced by 10 men -- the trauma..."

There are UN peacekeepers there, but as you may know, some have contributed to the sexual exploitation - and often assaults - of the women.


I'd add more, but I really can't.  The article speaks for itself.  Maybe a contribution to Amnesty International might be in order right now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:54 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just saw this, too (4.00)
    KABUL, Afghanistan - The United Nations sounded an alarm for women's rights in Afghanistan on Thursday after three young Afghan women were found raped, hanged and dumped on a roadside with a warning not to work for foreign relief organizations.

    Women's groups rallied in the capital to protest the killings, which came weeks after another woman was murdered for alleged adultery - examples of brutality that appear to have survived the Taliban's fall.

    The bodies of the women were found Sunday in Baghlan province, 120 miles north of Kabul. Officials and doctors said they had been raped and hanged. A note found with the bodies said they were killed for working for international aid groups.

    Article here:

    http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/world/story/5FF121E03A31533586256FF9000BEC81?OpenD ocument

    Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by jaysea on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:18:33 PM PDT

    •  Yes, I saw that too (4.00)
      I was clicking around a bunch of women's blogs (linked off a Ms. Magazine blog), and saw that.

      I am so glad there are protests about what happened to those women.  Very glad.

      Thanks for posting that, jaysea!

      •  Page (none)
        Reading this was heartrending. So of course, I sent my donation to Amnesty International, and then I signed up for Ms. Magazine.  I was a subscriber to Ms. years ago.  I'm glad they are still around.

        I think you for doing the diary, and for frontpaging it.  I just wish I could do more. I think we all do.

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Sun May 08, 2005 at 07:24:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Reading points (none)
        Thank you for putting this issue in the forefront of people's thoughts. It is extremely disconcerting, especially given some of the smaller matters which seem to consume the media in recent times.

        If anyone is interested in reading more of the Democratic Republic of Congo's affairs, a few links that I have gathered over time are as follows:

        MONUC's Quick Facts

        Official White House Press Release (that I was able to locate)

        DRC's most recent fighting

        American University of Kinshasa

        The situation in DRC is extremely unfortunate for the women, but moreso for the children that depend on them. Jan Egeland, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator stated, "I am just desperate to get attention to the 'tsunami' coming in Congo every four months," as he pointed out that as many people died of preventable causes within this time frame as had died in December's massive tsunami off of Indonesia.

      •  I'm glad you posted it instead of me... (none)
        because if I had, I wonder whether I would have gotten as big a response.

        One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.--Bobby Kennedy

        by blksista on Mon May 09, 2005 at 03:45:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But I thought Afghanistan (3.75)
      was a "success story" for BushCorp?

      Guess they don't count women's rights - or safety even - when they ring up the score.

      The stakes are extraordinarily high, and it has never been more critical for us to give voice to our values. - John Kerry

      by MH in PA on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:10:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  PLEASE read my post below (none)
      to see how we can help these women directly, through sponsorship with Women for Women International.

      THANKS!

      •  Wouldn't a pre-emptive and ... (none)
        .... interventionist foreign policy be to the benefit of these women? Doctors w/o Borders and Amnesty cannot halt these atrocities. Armed goons like the militia in Congo have to be met with force and ended.

        Does anyone really belive things are worse for Afgani women now that the Taliban is out of power? I concede that there still are terrible crimes comitted there, not unlike the many crimes comitted here. Why does no one make the case that military force (US or UN) is needed to resore any semblance of society this region?    

  •  PlutoniumPage.... (4.00)
    please frontpage this diary. I don't care if others find it not "happy" or "clean," but I want it posted to remind everyone here that in other countries, it is a death sentence to have been born as a woman.

    What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

    by slinkerwink on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:22:03 PM PDT

    •  I'll think about it (4.00)
      thanks for asking...
      •  Yes (4.00)
        put it on the frontpage please - whe can not honor mothers on the frontpage and at the same time be reluctant to put rape and misuse of women (and men) up there.

        And thanks for posting this.

      •  I am more than please to see this here (none)
        on the kos and thanks for recognizing this state of inhuman behavior.

        As a woman and a nurse, I am quite aware of this situation.  I am truly ashamed of the world to have let this occur.  This is like the article said, a contract against women and a way to stop the proprogation of their tribes, etc.

        Let alone the absessent behavior of the raping of the men as well.  Leads me to believe that some of the administration went to Africa and the conflicts there to learn their dirty was of treating prisoners in Iraq, Afganistan, and Getmo.

        We, as a world, are sinking into such an abyss with our wickedness and our negligence that I am truly wondering about where we are in our mind thought of humanity.

        Hotel Rowanda was very good to review and I am sorry that mroe ppl have not seen it and commented on it.

        We, as just part of the human chain of the worlds caring of others, are to be put to shame for thsi atrosity.  I really wonder where the UN is on all of this....Have they addressed this and what can they do and and how can we help.

        Thanks again, P. P. for your endevering to show us the world tonight.  Heart renching, isn't it??

        •  MONUC (none)
          The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely complex, yet is being addressed by the United Nations via MONUC, a sub-organization devoted to peacekeeping efforts. This does not include the efforts being made by individual nations and other organizations with the same intent.
      •  Up Front (none)
        Good work for the visibility of women's issues, Page.
    •  I agree (4.00)

      Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

      by jaysea on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:32:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or Intersexed (4.00)
      Which is what i am, so of course ive got my own axes to grind but i think it's worth mentioning anyway ;)  Come to think of it that's sometimes not too popular over here also.

      It just goes to show that it's all in who you can get away with controlling. (Controlling sex seems like a safe thing to get away with)

  •  is amnesty involved? (none)
    A donation to Amnesty's not a bad idea.  Do you know if they help these women?
  •  Campaign to End Fistula (4.00)
    This UNFPA site focuses on obstetric caused fistula (usually from a bound baby that cuts off the blood supply to soft tissue), but they would be a good place to send money.

    http://www.endfistula.org/get_involved.htm

  •  Sickening (4.00)
    Women have been used as a weapon of war since time immemorial. The fact that it is still occuring and so many turn a blind eye because it's happening "over there" reinforces how far we still have to go to be truly civilized in this world. I was similarly struck by the continued use of children as soldiers in war -- get them young, abuse them, de-humanize them, ostracize them and ensure they will never be able to go back to their communities or live normal lives. I wrote a diary about it a couple of weeks ago that went by with about 3 comments. I think it was during the "runaway bride" brouhaha.

    Thanks for posting this & I second the request that you front page it -- some of these women are mothers too & deserve our thoughts on this day.

  •  Another example of why (4.00)
    - you're the one front pager I really care for.

    But it should have gone on the front page. Why the hell not? Not 'happy' or 'clean' is precisely why it should have gone there.

    The DR Congo continues to be the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. An estimated 1,000 people die  every day of the indirect effects of the so-called low-intensity war, which means that the death toll of 9/11 was exacted over this weekend. The rapes, in addition to atrocities of every other kind including cannibalism used as a terror strategy in the Hemu/Lenda conflict as well as directed against pygmies (Mbuti), continue unabated with the world not giving a shit. There are supposed to be elections next month and that is when the fragile 'peace' (with some of the worst scumbags sharing power as part of the arrangement) may come totally unglued. Just don't expect to hear about it on the useless CNN/NBC/whatever it's called. Maybe the NYT can spare a page and a half.

    Equally smart, more cosmopolitan, less crowded: join Booman Tribune!

    by Sirocco on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:39:44 PM PDT

  •  I hate that my first thought when reading about (4.00)
    horrors like this is that men are animals. It seems too general and unfair to men, but Jesus Christ...this is unforgivable. Villages and villages of violent, animalistic sociopaths.

    Women can never yield an inch to any gains they have made in society, ever.

    In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.

    by ablington on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:40:05 PM PDT

    •  "women can never (4.00)
      yield an inch to any gains they have made in society"

      Amen. And I agree, not because I think female gains are outside the case of any other kind of progress. When it comes down to it, most men can overpower women. Most men do not use that advantage in societies we consider civil, but societies whose violence others ignore are so out of control that the gender difference is no longer just used to maintain power--it turns into a weapon to destroy the other gender.

      I would also thank Page for posting this, especially on mothers day, and for those that supported front-paging it. Yesterday I read an article on the BBC site (a similar one was posted on al-Jazerra today) about the rise in honour killings of Palestinan women, both Christian and Muslim. It is unfortunate that when even the smallest possibilities for progress open up, there is a reaction against women. Iraq is another case in point (though the term progress in that respect, I know I am stretching.)While the framework of the govt. theoretically includes women, in quotidien practice, repression, if not rape of women is on the rise.

      So while all hats are off to our maternal aspect, when we are valued equally as citizens will be the shining day.

      "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

      by Miss Devore on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:02:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's unfair (none)
      to animals. Only humans have the capacity to be so efficient in their brutality.

      "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?" -- Slim Pickens in "Blazing Saddles";
      "I have more than 2 problems." - the Coach Z

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:48:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shakespeare's Richard III, Act I, Secne II (none)
        LADY ANNE

            Villain, thou know'st no law of God nor man:
            No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.

        GLOUCESTER

            But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

        Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

        by Goldfish on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:39:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I honestly believe (none)
      That given the chance women can and would be ever bit as brutal as men. Abu Gharib showed us that, if you require proof.

      It's fallacious to assume because women have not been the ones committing history's great atrocities, that women are intrinsically more civilized them men. Try reading some police reports about mothers who murdered their own children by placing them in bathwater so hot that it boiled of the child's skin, and tell me if you can honestly say women are any better.

      Humans are capable of unspeakable horror no matter what their gender.

      Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

      by Goldfish on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:44:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No it sure as heck did not (none)
        That given the chance women can and would be ever bit as brutal as men.Abu Gharib showed us that, if you require proof.

        No logic there. If you had a large group of women, with a few men in it, and the women perpetrated abuse, and the men went along, that would demonstrate what you claim.

        What Abu Gharib demonstrated is that if you have a large group of men in charge of something, and some women are present, they will go along with the "torture du jour". That's all it demonstrated -- because (don't take this the wrong way, it's just a fact on the face of it) this was/is a male-thought-up (PNAC, early '90's), male-started, male-run war.

        -----
        Not exactly sure why the stats re mothers and child abuse. Both women and men in the US kill roughly 500 (of their own) children under 5 years of age per year. The difference is in methods used. Men primarily use guns, kill their wife/ex-wife, kill the chilren, then kill themselves. Women tend just to kill the children,  not with a gun.

        I would ask, what war in history, complete with atrocities like rape, has ever been started and carried out by women, (even with a sprinkling of men involved after the fact)? It would seem to me that would address the underlying point you're trying to make.

        Reframing the news and people's views of our world: HeroicStories.com, free subscriptions.

        by AllisonInSeattle on Mon May 09, 2005 at 01:47:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  pondering (none)
      I read your comment just minutes after it was posted.  I was tempted to comment on it earlier, but refrained from doing so given the context of the diary.  And yet I continued to think about it this afternoon and evening.

      And I have to get it out: your first couple of sentences make me cringe.  I can understand your initial reaction, given the horrible events described in the diary.  But I wish you had followed up with something a little more thoughtful.

      We really need regular, extended discussions of gender and sexuality.  I've been discouraged by some of what I've seen on those topics here lately.  It seems like the elephant in the room that we aren't ready to deal with.

  •  Medicines aren't enough (4.00)
    They won't stop or prosecute the rapists. They won't end the warlord culture that has plagued this part of Africa for many years now.

    Only a concerted military effort will stop the endless cycle of violence and rape. Not just peacekeeping, but hard warmaking.

    Maybe the Belgians could pitch in with a battalion or two, to repay the Congo for Leopold's crimes against humanity.

    The US, of course, has no troops available, even for the easier tactical situation in Darfur. We have other priorities for our exhausted military. And we are only concerned with "freedom" where there are oil wells involved.

    It would be a great day when we get to see how these terrorists stand up against real troops, instead of civilians armed with farming tools.

    But, hey, it's Africa, so who cares. The world is channelling the gangster in "The Godfather," who proposed to market heroin only in black areas of NYC because "they're animals anyway."

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:44:11 PM PDT

    •  I will quote you (none)
      "It would be a great day when we get to see how these terrorists stand up against real troops, instead of civilians armed with farming tools."
      We already know what happens: They are real cowards. They will not fight a regular army. Their balls shrink to the point of dissapearing. They are pure chiken-shit

      If you want me to go back to the place I was born , tell your companies to leave my country (Leon Gieco)

      by cruz del sur on Sun May 08, 2005 at 07:01:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ghosts of Rwanda on the big screen (none)
      I just saw Frontline's documentary about Rwanda at a filmfest with a packed audience on the big screen. It was an entirely different experience from seeing on tv.

      Viewing it this way had a physical impact - you feel ill with shame that our country (under our president) let this happen. It's hard to watch as an American and especially as a Democrat.

      If you could get that movie out there in theatres, even just to progressive cities, it would raise a lot of awareness. There are some amazing anecdotes of small, courageous acts by random unarmed peacekeeping soldiers who saved a lot of lives.

      It can be done.

  •  Don't be ridiculous (3.57)
    you don't need to be a feminist to react appropriately to the plight of these women—you just have to be a human being...

    What am I doing on DailyKos? I'm Running for the Right...

    by RFTR on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:52:08 PM PDT

    •  Funny (4.00)
      George Bush isn't doing anything about it.  He tells us it's so great Saddam's rape rooms are gone.  Rapes are being used as a weapon in Africa and I don't see us sending any troops in.  In fact, we withhold money for family planning, condoms and AIDS education because they won't teach "abstinence only" AIDS prevention.  Tell me, how would that help these people?  I feel angry that there is very little I can do but give money, but George Bush is the president, and he can do so much more.  Where is his leadership?

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:08:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're not gone (none)
        According to Sy Hersh, rape is also used as a weapon in Iraq. Specifically, US troops are raping children   at Abu Ghraib:

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/7/14/193750/666

        And far from being punished, the people responsible have actually been re-elected --- first in the US, now in the UK too.

        •  So must we collectively call (none)
          for investigation of acts by American soldiers?  Has this/is this being done?  Any charged yet (for rape of boys and women, in addition to other charges of torture of prisoners)?  Anyone know?  Googling isn't bringing up much beyond the links in the post above. . . .

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:35:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Just be ready (4.00)
        for the GOP to raise that we didn't get into Africa in time to stop this under a Democratic administration, either, as I recall. . .

        I do recall that feminist organizations in the U.S. as well as internationally were asking, asking, asking for intervention, to no avail -- at least by governments.

        Bless Amnesty, Doctors w/o Borders, etc., for not worrying about whether the pollsters said it was okay to get in there and help these women.

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:42:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  www.one.org (none)
          Is another organization trying to eleviate the poverty and aids epedemic in Africa. It is Bono's humanitarian effort. Please go to site to read more. I just contributed two weeks ago. Thanks PP for front paging this. It is an issue that should be on the front page of every newspaper and the lead story on RWCM instead of Jacko or Runaway Bride crap.

          The more understanding one posesses, the less there is to say and the more there is to do.

          by Alohaleezy on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:12:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  george bush isn't human.... (none)
        ....of that i am certain...

        ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

        by FemiNazi on Mon May 09, 2005 at 01:16:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  NO one (none)
        is doing enough to fix these problems.  And by drawing a partisan line, you are doing these women (and men) a great disservice.  Instead of squabbling over whose fault it is, can't we devote our energies to fixing the problem??

        What am I doing on DailyKos? I'm Running for the Right...

        by RFTR on Mon May 09, 2005 at 04:29:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If that's true (none)
      then I guess, based on your other post, you are neither.

      "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?" -- Slim Pickens in "Blazing Saddles";
      "I have more than 2 problems." - the Coach Z

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:52:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  NOT EVEN A HUMAN BEING::: (none)
      To say the punishment for these cowards,would be one that can't even be describeable:::
    •  More and more (4.00)
      I am beginning to think you have plenty to learn about what is appropriate.  I mean, what is with you?  Nobody even said what you are complaining about - PlutoniumPage was addressing those who are self-identified feminists.  She didn't say you had to be one.  It seems to me your response to this diary was to immediately hone in on a few words to go off on a tangent and pick a fight over.  Go ahead though, what is your beef with feminism?  Because clearly, that is what you reacted to instead of the real issue at hand.  Have at it.

      Fight this generation, fight this generation...

      by daria g on Sun May 08, 2005 at 06:35:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  few things turn my stomach like reading about rape (none)
    There are some conversations in life where I have nothing to add because it is something so outside of my life experience that I just don't have the words.

    Rape is the world's oldest weapon.  I don't know what it would take to phase it out.

    Public Interest Law: Twice the schooling - half the pay.

    by chassit on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Question for my fellow liberals: (4.00)
    Would this (or the comparable on-going situation in Darfur)justify a military intervention by the US?

    I sure think it is, but given the outraged reaction of most here to ouster of Saddam Hussein, I'm not sure what Kossacks generally believe qualifies as a military action justifiable on human rights grounds.

    •  I think so (none)
      I would support it, as long as there was a clear purpose and international support.  I would have supported going into Iraq if we could have gotten world support.  This is everyone's problem.

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:09:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who cares about international support? (none)
        Right is right, wrong is wrong, popular is popular.

        The "international" community (through the UN) would have never supported any intervention in Sudan- China made it clear it would block anything in the Security Council.  Does that mean that if the US decided intervening was the right thing we should do, that we should allow the Chinese to veto?

        A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

        by JakeC on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:21:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (none)
        if it's morally right for the world community to take action it's morally right for the U.S. to take unilateral action.
        •  I'm not going to discuss (none)
          if it's morally right for the world community to take action it's morally right for the U.S. to take unilateral action.

           the moral relativity of unilateral with you except to note that multilateral action from the world community is far more effective and also note that the present day unilateral action has been and will continue to be a catastrophic strategic failure.  I believe that it will be viewed for in the history books as the worst foreign policy failure decision in the history of this nation. Quite frankly I don't trust the 'leadership' of either political party to make intelligent decisions about unilateral wars at this point.

          The lessons of Abu Grahib have apparently not either been learned or have been forgotten by quite a few of the newer folks here. It's sad to think that there are people still willing to believe that our purpose for invading and occupying Iraq was humanitarian, much less insist that we continue to do so particularly considering that the policies and decisions emanated from the worst this country has to offer.
          Even the majority of the American public now recognises that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was an error and was not worth it. It stikes me that we have a good deal of work here at home to do before we have any moral authority in the rest of the world again.

          "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

          by colleen on Sun May 08, 2005 at 09:05:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Proves the lie of Iraq (4.00)
      The fact that we have NOT intervened here militarily proves that our motivation in invading Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with humanitarian claims to save a population ravaged by a brutal dictator. The human suffering here is so much more immediate and just as broad, yet we stand by.
    •  Maybe (none)
      if Bush had made that argument, he might have gotten support from liberals, not to mention the rest of the world (although the counter-case certainly could have been made that there were other, more pressing humanitarian crises to deal with). But he didn't, and the reason why is because his base doesn't give two shits about humanitarian issues, unless they involve fetuses.

      "The true axis of evil in America is the brilliance of our marketing combined with the stupidity of our people." Bill Maher

      by incertus on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:26:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why does it matter (none)
        which argument Bush made? If Bush justified an intervention in Darfur as "stopping the Sudanese government from getting WMD", would that make the military intervention any less valuable to the women who are being brutalized there every day?
        •  Because (none)
          the reason nobody got on board with Bush is because they knew he was full of shit about WMD and the threat Iraq posed. Political leaders in other parts of the world aren't going to put soldiers in harm's way without some sort of cover, and as recent elections elsewhere have shown, those who went along with Bush have paid the price (except, it seems, in Australia).

          And honestly, can you say that the conditions of women in Iraq are that much better now than they were under Hussein? Six of one, half-dozen of the other currently, with no real change in sight far as I can tell.

          "The true axis of evil in America is the brilliance of our marketing combined with the stupidity of our people." Bill Maher

          by incertus on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:44:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Too soon to tell (none)
            I don't think we know yet whether Iraqis will be better off. I'm trying to pose a hypothetical question about what liberals would do if a) they were in power or b) there was a chance to engage in a humanitarian intervention, but to do it we have to put up with a bunch of lies out of Bush (or his ilk).
            •  Case in point (none)
              Afghanistan had (and still has) a horrible human rights record under the Taliban.  Bush invaded as retribution for 9/11.  Very few people, liberal or not, objected.

              Life ain't nothin' but a funny funny riddle- Thank God I'm a Unitarian!

              by scott on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:10:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Apples and oranges (none)
                The Afghanistan invasion was far more legitimate than the Iraq invasion--the Taliban had been put on notice during the Clinton administration that they'd be held responsible for any further attacks by al Qaeda. Iraq was nothing like that--it was a war of aggression by the US, plain and simple. In neither case was the humanitarian aspect even broached, even though legitimate cases could have been made in either case.

                "The true axis of evil in America is the brilliance of our marketing combined with the stupidity of our people." Bill Maher

                by incertus on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:38:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  2 years. (3.50)
              I don't think we know yet whether Iraqis will be better off.

               It's been two years since we invaded and the conditions there are worse.

              To answer your inquiry. The Taliban, yes and yes to Darfur, Congo, and other cases of genocide. And yes with the UN's and unilateral support.

              No to Iraq and yes, after two years we have a strong sense that the people of Iraq are not going to be 'better' certainly not for at least a generation. I find it remarkable that folks are still trying to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq as an humanitarian venture.

              "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

              by colleen on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:58:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Two years is a blip in the history of a nation (none)
                we have a strong sense that the people of Iraq are not going to be 'better' certainly not for at least a generation

                Maybe you have some access to a crystal ball that tells you how this will all turn out, but I don't and I don't think any country recovers from a war in two years. The Germans had not recovered from our invasion by 1947. Were they better off in the long run for being rid of Hitler? Hell, yeah.

                •  PS (none)
                  I really didn't mean to get into a debate about the Iraq war. I already know I am in the minority here on that. I asked my initial question originally because I was interested in finding out whether Kossacks would support military intervention for humanitarian purposes , such as the situation in Darfur. In the context of the Iraq War, I'm certainly happy to concede that there are reasonable arguments on either side of the debate about whether it  was humanitarian in effect.
                  •  Since the neocons have sanctioned rape too (none)
                    at Abu Ghraib, and rewarded those who sanctioned it with promotions, AG Gonzalez! Why the fuck would we trust the Bush administration to solve the problem rather than make it worse?  I sware liberal hawks have memories the size of a gold fish. 2 seconds.  You guy are the dems the promoted that rape room sancitioner Gonzalez.  You dem enablers wouldn't make rape go away either, since like Lieberman you consider the behavior "progressive"!

                    Stop the war! Draft Bush voters!

                    by NoAlternative on Sun May 08, 2005 at 10:56:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think UN support should be required (none)
                At least until the UN gets rid of the security council veto that allows any one of five nations to block anything that they don't like. Each country that has veto power has repeatedly abused the veto, or the threat of such, for political reasons.

                We've done it consistently with anything Israel-related.

                China's done it with anything related to Taiwan (and other things I can't think of right now).

                France most recently used it to block us from getting a hearing on Iraq (not that this was a
                bad thing, I just think their reasons for doing so were very cynical and self-serving).

                And Russia stopped the UN from getting involved in Kosovo, which forced NATO to act on it's own.

                As long as the UN allows an elite cadre of nations the power to veto actions that it doesn't like with out even showing cause, I do not believe the UN has the moral authority to say what actions are and are not illegal.

                This is not a call for unalitralism, mind you. I believe in the primacy of international law. I believe every effort to build an international consensus should be made before force is used, and I believe it should be done with wide international support whenever possible.

                However, when an oligarchy of nations has the ability to dismiss any claim based only on their selfish interests, I do not believe we can afford to subject such important issues to such a body.

                Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

                by Goldfish on Sun May 08, 2005 at 09:21:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  NO! (none)
      Instead, we should encourage regional nations and groups to solve their own problems, rather than look upon us as the world's policement.

      Every single such situation results in a hue and cry about why is the US not involved. And the deeper we get embroiled in everyone's problems, the more problems we create around the world and for ourselves.

      There is the question of intervention for national security reasons. WWII, recent overthrow of Taliban (incomplete, but nevertheless) make the grade, but many of the others simply draw us into unending "interventions". Of course there may be exceptions, such as genocide, but even there we should encourage the world and the region to step in first.

    •  With UN Backing (4.00)
      This is one where I think UN intervention is justified, for sure, and I'd support US participation.  But I wouldn't go it solo, or even as the lead.  This can't be seen as an American effort, even if the intent is humanitarian.  (remember Somalia)
    •  Absolutely (4.00)
      We are still one of the few countries with the ability to intervene militarily in situations like this.  And we have a moral obligation to do so -- to prevent these awful things from happening. Sure, we need to be very clear about why we are intervening, we need to involve other countries, and we need to have an intelligent strategy for the operation.

      Some problems just can't be solved through earnest discussion, economic sanctions, or group hugs. Sometimes, you have to kick a few doors down to save lives.  This is one of those times.

      In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

      by Paul in Berkeley on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:39:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Intervention in Iraq is different (4.00)
      Yes, the Iraqis were ruled by a dictator, but so is much of the world.

      The Iraqis had day-to-day stability under Saddam Hussein.  Much of the suffering of the Iraqis in the ten years prior to his overthrow was due to international sanctions.  Prior to the sanctions, the Iraqis enjoyed a decent standard of living.  The status of Iraqi women has gotten worse, and is going to get even worse, now that Saddam is gone.

      Human rights was never an issue in Iraq.  Saudi Arabia and Egypt both practise widespread oppression of women, wholesale violations of civil rights, and practise torture of their political opponents--and they are "allies" of the US.

      Iraq was invaded and occupied to get its oil.  End of story.

      There is no political stability in Sudan or DR Congo.  An occupation of those countries by outside forces might provide stability, not provoke instability, as it has in Iraq, and would NOT be intended to grab the resources of those countries.

      Too much to hope for, I know.

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:54:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  stability?? (none)
        The Iraqis had day-to-day stability under Saddam Hussein.

        Look, most of the reasons given for invading Iraq were bullshit, but there was a good humanitarian case to be made.  Don't downplay how awful Saddam was to his own people just because you think Bush shouldn't have invaded.  Iraqis suffered terribly under him, even before the sanctions.

        "Stability" is how dictators justify their own rule--it's how China justified the Tiananmen Square massacre and their other repressive measures.  North Koreans have "day-to-day stability".  I don't think we liberals should be backing them up.

        •  I don't see anyone doing this. (none)
          Don't downplay how awful Saddam was to his own people just because you think Bush shouldn't have invaded.  Iraqis suffered terribly under him, even before the sanctions.

          I see them honestly pointing out that the Iraqi people are not any better (and indeed are worse off) under US occupation. What annoys me in these sorts of discussions is the unexamined belief that our presence there has made/will make life better for the people there when this is demonstrably untrue.

          "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

          by colleen on Mon May 09, 2005 at 06:48:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see it done all the time. (none)
            I think we could say it's demonstrably untrue that our presence there has made people's lives better, but we don't know yet whether it will.  Iraq is a bloody mess at the moment and that's mostly our fault, although insurgents are blowing up their fellow Muslims and Iraqis by the dozen and they also share the blame.  

            I'm not defending our invasion of Iraq, which I disagreed with, and I agree with most people here that we launched this war for geopolitical rather than humanitarian reasons.  Nevertheless, we don't yet know how life will be in Iraq several years or decades from now.  We each have our guesses, and mine is that they'll be better off in the next decade than they were over the last three.

        •  Of course Saddam was terrible to his people (none)
          Saddam gassed the Kurds.

          Saddam slaughtered rebels in the south (the so-called "marsh Arabs").

          Saddam routinely tortured and murdered his political opponents.

          By the way, Saddam did all of that, and more, during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s with the full knowledge and support of his loyal ally, the United States of America.  The US even obligingly permitted Saddam to fly helicopters into the south of Iraq AFTER the allies' victory in Gulf War I so that he could slaughter those who rebelled against his rule--a rebellion that had been encouraged by one George Bush, Senior.

          I am particularly well-versed in this last outrage, because I was in country with the Desert Rats and we soldiers thought...well, we thought we ought to be on the side of the rebels and help them throw off Saddam's rule.  We couldn't believe that not only were we not supporting the rebels, but that the US allowed Saddam to deploy choppers into the southern "no fly" zone.  It was a disgraceful act of betrayal--in the name of "stability".  The Emir of Kuwait didn't want any fighting on his lovely border, and neither did the Saudis--who cared about the Iraqi people at that point?

          But the fact remains that the US and the UK supported Saddam through his worst acts against his own people...until he did something they didn't like.

          So no, there is no "humanitarian case" to be made for these same nations that supported the Butcher of Baghdad to now turn around and say, "Oh, is Saddam terrorising his own people?  How very, very wrong of him!"  

          By the way--if you want to find regimes that are far more repressive than Saddam's, which the US could easily overthrow, you needn't look any farther than Saudi Arabia--oh, but they are America's ally, aren't they, and help manipulate the price of oil so it is favourable to America.    So their repression is a-ok.

          Iraq:  Women were allowed to drive, to divorce their husbands, to wear modern clothes, and lived in a relatively crime-free society.  

          Saudi Arabia:  Women have no rights whatsoever, cannot drive, must go veiled in public, and are treated not as human beings but as chattel.  Women who are raped are cast out of their families and often are killed by their male relatives in "honour killings".

          Both societies dealt harshly with rebellion, routinely imprisoning, torturing, and killing political opponents--but given the choice of living in Iraq under Saddam or Saudi Arabia as it exists now, I'd choose Iraq.  

          Your idea of Iraq as this daily horror show is quite inaccurate, by the way.  On a daily basis, Iraqis got out of bed, went to work, and went about their business unbothered by Saddam.  It was only when they took an active anti-Saddam stance that they got into trouble.

          And as far as the Iraqi people "suffering" under Saddam--well, yes, half a million of them died in the past ten years...because of cruel international sanctions led and enforced by the United States and the United Kingdom.

          There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

          by Shadowthief on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:12:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Would it help? (none)
      That's the question for me. I think in this case it might, but I don't know enough.

      As for Iraq, I can't see that things are really better now than before the invasion. Instead of government brutality under Saddam, there is now lawless brutality from terrorists and insurgents.

      "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?" -- Slim Pickens in "Blazing Saddles";
      "I have more than 2 problems." - the Coach Z

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:00:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even an unarmed US/UN intervention (none)
      What we learned from Rwanda was that (foreign press) cameras were very often enough to stop killing of Tutsis. Sounds bizarre, but I think it taps into some deep human potential for denial. But with cameras there, they know denial won't be an option.

      Two Unarmed, uniformed UN peacekeepers, who stood outside a church full of children were also able to keep rebels at bay. Just two guys standing outside the front doors, who told the rebels there would be no killing here.

      Radio jamming was considered in Rwanda too, but the US decided it violated freedom of speech. Haven't heard whether it's been tried in Sudan - anybody know?

    •  Saddam ousted yes (none)
      But not in the deceiptful way Bush did it or for the reasons given.

      The more understanding one posesses, the less there is to say and the more there is to do.

      by Alohaleezy on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:14:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would support such action (none)
      Only if it was clear that intervention would do more good then harm, and not aggravate the situation. I would say this is hardly a sure thing, and thus would probably oppose the use of force, except to enforce some settlement or cease fire.

      I do believe that war for humanitarian reasons can be justified, but it must be made with a very clear objective, and with a plan for what to do after that objective is achieved.

      In situations like this there one might have overwhelming desire to take action, but actions
      most always be calculated against the most likely reactions. It is far better to take no action, if that action would lead to even greater chaos and strife.

      Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

      by Goldfish on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:57:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  bush never said we were going into iraq... (none)
      ...because of the rape rooms...it was all about wmd....he doesn't give a shit about darfour because there's no oil there.

      ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

      by FemiNazi on Mon May 09, 2005 at 01:19:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent quesiton (none)
      And yes, I think militarily action is certainly justified to stop such atrocities.

      I don't think there's any moral question as to whether or not it would be justifiable.  The question that remains for each country, e.g. the U.S., is: how many of our people are we willing to sacrifice to help some other people?

      Of course, people are people, and maybe it shouldn't matter.  But nobody really thinks this way; everyone cares about their own family, their own people, their own countrymen more than those to whom we don't feel as strong a connection.  I don't think we as a country have ever really resolved this question; we sent troops to Somalia to help famished people against appalling warlords, but bailed after 18 GIs were killed.  Evidently we didn't think it was worth our lives when it was purely for helping others with no clear benefit to our own interests.  So in Rwanda we just stayed out of the whole thing and hundreds of thousands were slaughtered.  I think at some point Americans are going to have to figure out some general policy of when and how much we are willing to sacrifice to help others when our direct interests aren't at stake.

      •  Good point (none)
        It's hard to say where we draw the line. It's easy to jump all over Bush for not intervening in Darfur, but Clinton didn't intervene in the Rwandan genocide and very few people hold that against him. I think it is out of some sense that people are not quite sure how much responsibility they need to take for saving people with whom they have no relationship other than shared humanity. I would have supported a military intervention in either case ... but then I don't have to answer to the mothers of slain soldiers.
  •  Thanyou for a powerful story (4.00)
    I put my Twenty bucks where my comment is.
  •  If this doesn't deserve to be front-paged (none)
    I don't know what does.

    What color are your pajamas?

    by Unstable Isotope on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:13:02 PM PDT

  •  And if all of the above isn't bad enough, (none)
    most of these women are then shunned by their own husbands because they have been tainted by another man.   Perhaps if they had oil in their backyard, our administration might care enough to send troops there.  
    •  Quantity in question (none)
      The amount of petroleum which is produced in the DRC is slightly more than that which it consumes, so it can be argued that the United States would not be interested in developing relations with it on these grounds.

      However, the areas of the DRC that have seen the highest rates of atrocities are usually located within the northeast and eastern provinces, where large quantities of precious-mineral resources have been discovered. These tracts of land have in no small part attracted foreign military and tribal militias to take part in the ongoing clashes with Kinshasa's government.

  •  I feel powerless reading it... (none)
    Other than a concerted military effort to find and arrest the warlords...what can we do to help these women from getting raped? Part of me feels like that we need a UN with teeth, that the UN should also be a policing of governments...arresting those in power in any nation who is directly creating human rights violations or those who refuse to take action in stopping human rights violations in their nations. The problem with that is I am sure that every nation on earth is a violator of human rights to some degree...so its probably just a dream.
  •  Rwanda (none)
    As most people know, rape was a weapon of choice in the ethnic cleansing of Tutsi in Rwanda.  However, it was not just used in that sense.  It was also used as a way of killing people (women) without killing them.

    One incident I recall reading about was about a young Tutsi woman who was captured and raped by a Hutu militiamen.  Usually, rape ended in being hacked to death.  However, this particular woman was allowed to live, almost as an afterthought.  Apparently the last militiaman was too lazy to actually use his weapon.  He told her that she was free to go, as she had already died.

  •  Plutonium Page (4.00)
    Thank you for this diary, it is so distressing.  I am sitting here in tears.

    What upsets me though, is that calling this rape is not a strong enough description.  I don't mean to trivialize rape, but someone who is suffering from a "shredded vagina" has been subjected to more than rape.

    I am trying to figure out what to call this, but I am at a lose for words.

  •  Propaganda and Proportion (4.00)
    I'm sure this will be a common sentiment on this thread, but remember: $9 million an hour is being spent in Iraq. The woman in the story needed $1.50 to get to the clinic, and had to work hard for it.

    The Dems desperately need to push their own democratization and humanitarian projects in Africa and elsewhere (specifically re: the African crisis, the GOP's reliance on social conservatives hinders their ability to advocate common sense contraception for Africans that would play well with the public). If they start trumpting certain hotspots of injustice or hellish conditions around the world that Bush ignores they will (a) look good and allow Dems to be the party of real compassion, (b) take the shine off Bush's ability to pose as a hero of world democratization and justice, and (c) though unlikely with this president and his admin's policies, Democratic shouting about some of these issues may actually lead to constructive action either through the US gov't, Gov't-funded NGO's, or the UN.

    The media's transformation into a 24 hour outlet for nationalized local news has forced out stories about other parts of the world such as the Congo. So the blame for complacency among the American public, and that they (until recently) supported action in Iraq but didn't have any opinion on or knowledge of less politicized foreign policy issues, should be squarely on the insular tabloid media.

    Bush obviously has no real interest in direct action to help people unless there's an additional draw to the region (oil, geopolitical strategy, etc.). It's really not fair (political speaking) to expect him to inform us about something he's not going to take action on. It is the media's job to do that, and the media's failed because stories like the one Page highlight's get slightly lower ratings than a story about a Georgian "runaway bride," and Pfizer can't sell as much Viagra if their commercials run in between segments about raped Congolese women.

    GOP = Grandstanding Old Party

    by Addison on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:35:46 PM PDT

    •  Not everything should be partisan (4.00)
      It's not like there's Democratic Senators taking the floor demanding action in the Congo.  Whatever blame there is deserves to be shared.

      Besides, when it comes to Africa, the right wing religious types are often more active than any liberal groups.  They raise money and send people all the time.  Where do you think Bush's AIDS initiative came from?  And say all you want that it's underfunded, in order for something to be underfunded, it has to be created and partially funded first.

      I know there are plenty of people here who would love to hang this brutality on the necks of the Republicans or Bush, but it's just not appropriate.

      A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

      by JakeC on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:26:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No Results = No Respect (4.00)
        I specifically said that Dems need to speak up about foreign crises, implying (obviously) that they weren't vocal enough at present.

        You excuse the largely unfunded (yet much ballyhooed) AIDS relief program by saying that at least it exists and is partially funded. WHAT?! The funding is the fundamental point of the initiative, without it the program is useless. You're excusing the lack of a meal by saying at least the empty dinner plate is there. Way to miss the point.

        And more active in Africa? Is bustling activity a substitute for results? Bush's initiatives, and those of his social conservative buddies, are seemingly created so that they can be the main players in humanitarian aid to Africa -- as such they can ensure condoms and other birth control aren't distributed as widely as they would be otherwise. With charity like that...

        That's like saying abstinence groups are more active in "sex education" in our schools so liberals for a sane sex ed program should take note of that and shut up. Nevermind that abstinence education doesn't work, is way over-funded considering it's lack of results, and is only so "active" and "prominent" because social conservatives enjoy imposing their morality and opinions over common sense and facts.

        The apologia for Bush you offer isn't persuasive. It's clearly not primarily his fault that these women are being raped, but the maginification of the terrible consequences as a secondary result is his fault -- or at least he must accept the blame for failing to make things right if he wants to take credit for using American might ot make things better in, let's say, the Middle East. He owns said blame for making a bad situation (not his fault) worse (his fault) all the more since most of his paltry funding for African aid is for initiatives that manage to make things worse.

        GOP = Grandstanding Old Party

        by Addison on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:47:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and besides (none)
          with the AIDS relief, there was the problem of maleria and remember at the Swiss meeting where the acress got up and started the donation of money infront of Frist...well I can remember the AIDS money was promised from our government and it was our taxdollars there were to be doing this and they took away from the maleria project in order to give the AIDS money and still the money was not sent...so my question is where is that money, by the way?
      •  No federal or state legislation (none)
        The last time that I had checked, there had been no bill placed within the federal Congress aside from questions of arms and trading embargos. Likewise, no state legislature has taken steps towards adressing this issue, either, as has been the case with Sudan.
  •  this was also done in Bangladesh (4.00)
    by the Pakistani army attempting to prevent the splitoff of their Eastern part, in 1971.  And given the shame of rape in Muslim country and that the act was being perpetrated by fellow Muslims makes it clear how it was being done as a deliberate shaming and destruction of the society.

    That was 1971, and the world did nothing.   Here is a google serach on the terms rape and Bangladesh and war for thsoe who want to read further.

    I was also done by Serbian troops in Bosnia  - again a google search here  -- on this I note that MacArthur Genuis award winner Michael Sells of Haverford Colelge (my alma mater) has extensively documented this.  Michael is a professor of Religion whose expertise is Islam (he wrote the book Ealry Verses from the Qu"ran which cuased the brouhaha at UNC Chapel Hill a few years ago) but he coms at this strictly from an humanitarianm basis  -- one grandmother was Serbian.

    Having gotten away with in Bosnia, the Serbs did it again in Kosovo  -- here is another google search.

    One justification used by Serbs was that they would by rape creae more Serbian babies rather than Muslim babies.

    Rape as a weapon of war is ancient and all too common  -- Latin  and classical history students will surely remember the rape of the Sabine women.  That the world does not react more strongly is in my mind almost an equal atrocity to the abomination of the rapes themselves.   To acquiesce to evil is to become complicit in that evil.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:36:25 PM PDT

  •  oh my, (4.00)
    This story hits me at multiple levels.It is an old one and a brutal one.
    As a rape (survivor, victim?whatever) this is the thing that makes me crazy. Men use women as tools to deface the 'honor ' of other men.
    I suppose it might make some kind of 'genetic' sense to those who are afraid that their own precious genes might not be in the children they support.
    This is why women all over the world, and in discernable history,are used as chattel, as possessions , as carriers of genetic material.
    As this country lurches toward the 'women as chattel' syndrome, I am hoping that we all remember what our feminist sisters (and mothers) fought for.
    Because if there is no legal recourse to this brutality,then no-one will ever be free.
    That is not to understate the plight of women all over the 'free'world who fight it daily, just to underline the place where we were.
  •  This is a logical consequence... (4.00)
    Of a cultural and religious system that treats women as property, i.e., the means of reproduction.  This tactic becomes "useful" in war precisely because it "destroys" the means of reproduction, both physically and figuratively.

    Other examples of this include female circumcision, which is widely practiced throughout Africa and the non-African Muslim world.

    This is also one of the most basic aspects of the value system of the Religious right in America.  By removing the right to control reproduction from women, they hope to undo the last 50 years and push women back into the role of reproductive serfdom.

    Unfortunately, things like this show how little we as a species have progressed from the baboons and chimps.  God help the rest of this universe if we ever get off this planet.

    Peace in a world free of Religion, Peace in a world where everyone gets Heaven... -- Toni Halliday

    by Wintermute on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:37:55 PM PDT

    •  Good connection (none)
      Between Muslim fundamentalism and the Christian variety being bred here. It's a connection we need to make more often, but sadly a surprising number of progressives don't like very much. But fundamentalism sucks, no matter what the religion.

      The Taliban and Focus on the Family are interchangeable, the only difference being one hasn't carried their beliefs to the logical conclusion yet. We should make it our stated policy to oppose fundamentalism where ever we find it.

      Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

      by Goldfish on Sun May 08, 2005 at 09:31:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  one more thought -- (4.00)
    if any reader is horrified at how sex has been used as a weapon to degrade, to destroy families, in the case cited by Page, then you should be equally outraged at how US Military has justified the use of sexual degradation as an interrogation technique in Guantanmo, Abu Grhjaib, and elsewhere.  From what we have done to rape is not as large a step as some might imagine.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:38:38 PM PDT

  •  The Congo... (4.00)
    1000 people die every day from the violence in the DRC, yet nobody here cares about it, no emergency legislation from Tom Delay to preserve the sanctity of life there. this war killed over 3 million people and still is killing thousands, yet the US sends no peacekeeper to try to make it a safe, prosperous, and stable country. So much for promoting democracy worldwide
  •  when I was there (4.00)
    about 15 years ago I encountered some of the kindest people I've ever met.  (I spent 2 months in Kivu district, eastern Zaire, now Democratic Congo, and a few weeks in Rwanda and Burundi.) When the genocide broke out in 1994 it was incredibly difficult to reconcile the news reports with my experiences of the people there.

    As the BBC points out, all this dates to the 1994 Tutsi/Hutu genocide.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember reading that these are "ethnic" divisions that the Belgians imposed based on wealth (I believe if you had more than a certain number of cows you were declared Tutsi). This was then fortified with a crackpot racial hierarchy scheme holding that the Tutsi were of Nilotic stock, and were therefore superior to the Bantu Hutu.  Because, you know, the closer you get to Europe the more superior the race.  And apparently this crap was taught to both Hutu and Tutsi children in the colonial schools. I don't think Belgium could ever make amends for what it did in the Congo, but it sure as hell has a responsibility to try.

    The region where all this is happening is also a spectacularly beautiful area, with vast lakes filling the rift valley, the escarpments rising up like blue walls from the waters, and the perfect, primordial profiles of a chain of volcanos trailing away from the north shore of Lake Kivu. It is a region of beauty beyond words in the land and the people. But I guess human savagery is the serpent in the garden.

  •  People say "never again"... (4.00)
    ...but what does it mean?

    The nations of the world have learnt nothing from the horrors of the past.  Hell, in Austria and Japan they refuse to even confront their own history honestly.

    Rape and pillage have been part of war since before Herodotus put his own histories on parchment.  What is happening in Africa now is part of a slow-motion horror show that will keep on because the Europeans and the Americans simply aren't interested in intervening.

    Now, if DR Congo or Sudan suddenly find themselves astride a great whacking pool of oil, the whole world will rush in.  Until then, they're on their own.

    I find it appalling that so many in Africa are suffering and yet the response of the wealthy nations of the world is a big fat nothing.  A few million here and there to paper over the cracks and that's it.

    The response of the Catholic Church, of course, is that nobody should use condoms (which helps prevent the spread of AIDS and prevents pregnancy, of course) and women shouldn't ever have abortions--even in the case of rape.

    Well, at least let's retire the phrase--always used at Holocaust Memorials--of "never again".  It's meaningless and this proves it.

    In the meantime, we must do what we can--donate to organisations such as Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and yes, UNICEF, in an attempt to stop up the worst of the wounds.

    There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

    by Shadowthief on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:49:39 PM PDT

  •  Page (4.00)
    Great diary and I'm glad you put it on the front. The theocrats in both the Islamic world and the Republican party are not interested in protecting the rights of women. They're interested in protecting their property rights of women.

    Some of you rich men have to be taught that all the world cannot be bribed into condoning your offences. -- Sherlock Holmes

    by Carnacki on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:07:16 PM PDT

  •  thanks Armando (none)
    for letting it be the top story for gee..almost 40 minutes, before putting another diary on top.

    "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

    by Miss Devore on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:23:36 PM PDT

    •  Yes, what a shame (none)
      How dare Armando try to inform us about that pesky Republican attempt to destroy the Republic.

      Maybe I missed your snark tags, but if you meant that comment seriously I find it not a little ridiculous. First of all, this isn't Page's blog, she shares it with all the other front pagers, plus Kos; there is no reason they should be required to defer to her or anyone else if they have a worthwhile story to post.

      And it's not like the story Armando posted was some bit of trivial fluff. It's actually a extraordinarily important story that he would have been remiss for holding off posting. I'm sorry if you feel this was somehow disrespectful, but the world doesn't stop for anyone's favorite issue. This is a good story, I'm glad it's on the front page, but it's far from the only thing going on in the world today that deserves to be disscused here.

      Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

      by Goldfish on Sun May 08, 2005 at 09:49:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in some ways (none)
        you support my argument by just being miffed.

        the state of the republic is in danger. no argument. I think many of the comments I posted on and recommended today would find much support in that direction.

        just 2 things:

        as someone who hangs around a bit here, I was rather surprised that Plutop's front page lasted for a seemingly short time.

        but I check myself before coming to conclusions. so I looked to see if it just wasn't me--and looked at the rate of front page postings. Plutop's front page status was remarkably short--which was strange, cuz as far as the comments on her diary read, there were a lot of people calling for frontpaging. In my experience here, that doesn't happen a lot. Yes, people get raves on diaries that never climb the ladder, and that's all and well, but I heard enough voices saying "frontpageit"

        And I did wince at Plutop's concern that Armando might give her shit for it. In my mind, I think-hey girl, you were given the power, why do you waver on whether Armando is going to approve?

        second thing:

        the reason this particular diary struck me, in its particular information, was my dismay at where women end up in the balance of power in the context of societal change. A chance for an Israeli/Palestinian peace accord to go forward?--but now there is an increase of honor killings of Palestinian women, both Christian and Muslim.

        I'm not going to repeat comments I've made here, but the thrust of what I was saying was how far women have to go to be respected as equal citizens. I'm up on what Harry Reid is saying, on the nuke option, on legislative actions that include seperation of church and state issues, on the twisting of intelligence for the war in Iraq.

        If a participant in this blog can insist we face the fact that this country has crossed the line and condoned torture like the slimiest historical regimes have done, what's the problem with listening to an account of the brutalization of women?

        "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

        by Miss Devore on Sun May 08, 2005 at 10:36:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Okay, I'm now very confused (none)
          Mainly by this...

          but I check myself before coming to conclusions. so I looked to see if it just wasn't me--and looked at the rate of front page postings. Plutop's front page status was remarkably short--which was strange, cuz as far as the comments on her diary read, there were a lot of people calling for frontpaging.

          Now, I'm not sure what front page you are looking at, but when I check the front page I see this story as the fifth entry -hours after it was first put there! When you wrote your original comment, it was even closer to the top.

          As far as your second point, I'm in totaly agreement as to why this story is important. As for you being up on what Reid is saying about the nuclear option, that's very good, accept the diary that was front paged above this one wasn't about what Reid was saying, it was about what Hagel is saying. His statements have very, very important right now, considering that with in the next 48 hours it is very likely the nuclear option will be triggered.

          In short, while we're in agreement of the importance of this story, I am very confused by exactly what your problem is with it's treatment.

          Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

          by Goldfish on Sun May 08, 2005 at 11:02:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is another issue.... (none)
          ...how long things last on the front page.

          Things move fast on DK--perhaps too fast.

          Stories are posted on the front page, and then bumped off, with such rapidity it is difficult to focus attention on them.

          If one looks at The Nation website, articles remain there for a long time because it's a magazine--and you can read the articles and think about them.

          Here, we leap from issue to issue with no rhyme or reason.  Yes, events move quickly, but perhaps front page ought to be reserved for a few "focus issues" and stories allowed to exist not for minutes nor even hours but for a full day.

          There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

          by Shadowthief on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:16:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (none)
            It don't work that way.

            markos doesn't do it that way and neither do the rest of us.

            There's a reason for that. Think about it.

            "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

            by Armando on Mon May 09, 2005 at 09:44:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Possible reasons could be... (none)
              ...events move quickly and this is a "current events" blog.

              You have short attention spans (in which case I'd suggest Ritalin).

              You want to keep people checking back for new stories all the time to boost page views in order to sustain high blogad rates.

              Because Kos said so, so shaddup already.

              Which answer is the correct one?  Do I win a prize for guessing?

              There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

              by Shadowthief on Mon May 09, 2005 at 11:26:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Er (none)
      Did you have trouble finding it in slot 2?

      Are you accusing me of hating women? Because I can see how my track record would support that, me being the big Summers supporter here at dailykos.

      What a crock of shit from you.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Mon May 09, 2005 at 04:13:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  crock for crock (none)
        how you reduced everything I said to accusing you of hating women is a remarkable piece of drama. you're smart enough to know I didn't say that. at all.

        "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

        by Miss Devore on Mon May 09, 2005 at 06:25:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How dare you criticise Armando! (none)
          Never ever ever do that!

          Hope you've learnt your lesson!

          There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

          by Shadowthief on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:18:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (none)
            Isn't it awful? I responded. I'm sure her life is ruined becauseof it.

            Much better to be like nice kind you - nothing so good as to be the pot criticizing the kettle.

            "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

            by Armando on Mon May 09, 2005 at 09:47:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, your respond was rude (none)
              ...crude, and lewd.  "Crock of shit", indeed.  It was unnecessarily personal, dismissive, and bad-tempered.  You really ought to apologise.  Or am I going to be lectured about how only Kos tells you what to say?  Sorry, already heard that crock of shit, don't need to hear it again, thanks anyway.

              By the by--what does "Much better to be like nice kind you" mean, exactly?  

              There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

              by Shadowthief on Mon May 09, 2005 at 11:20:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What did you say then? (none)

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Mon May 09, 2005 at 09:43:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Over 3 million killed in the Congo War (none)
    It's the deadliest war since World War II. Together with the Darfur area of the Sudan, they make a mockery of the Republican's revionism (it was never used as a reason before we invaded) of saying we invaded Iraq for humanitarian reasons.
  •  I take issue with the title (none)
    Of the article.  I realize it is a quote but I beg to differ.

    These women are indeed women in the best sense of the word. They are testaments to the torture and treachery all women suffer the world over.  They survive sometimes.  They shame us for our complacency.  They weep. They are a part of us. And we are them.  We weep with them.  

    I don't know what my point is, I just don't like their womaness taken away too.

  •  The men who abandon them (4.00)
    ..are the worse, for not being animals at first, but becoming them by reflex --- by behaving in beastly fashion toward their wives and daughters, sisters and mothers, regardless.

    A simulation:

    Daughter, why are you crying? What is wrong?

    Father, I have been hurt by the Rwandans.

    What do you mean 'hurt'?

    Raped.

    Get out of my house and never return. I forget you.

    And you have to ask what a bunch of womenless men are going to do. Why, they're going to go and gut the wombs of the next village over, then the next one after that, and after that, and the cycle of rape continues.

    And in time, the Eve-less Eden will be free of the deadly hairless destroyers again.

    Either that or populated exclusively by the serpents.

    DeLay Republicanism = Destroyed Republicanism. I'm cool with that!

    by cskendrick on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:55:48 PM PDT

    •  um.... (none)
      ....being hard up does not turn men into rapists.

      and your comment about an eve-less eden is just wierd.

      ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

      by FemiNazi on Mon May 09, 2005 at 01:28:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it pleases the court (none)
        I was discussing the role of vengeance, not libido.

        Vain, proud people justify a lot of evil deeds, in order to support their self-image...especially when it has been so thoroughly damaged.

        Their being male or female does not seem to matter too much in this regard.

        DeLay Republicanism = Destroyed Republicanism. I'm cool with that!

        by cskendrick on Mon May 09, 2005 at 04:15:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In Africa (none)
    even in countries that do not suffer from the tragedy of war, fewer than 7% of the people infected with HIV-1 receive anti-retroviral treatment, and in the DRC that figure falls to <1%. This war is a disaster that will leave pain in its wake for decades to come. Here one way to register protest, but only against the government of the DRC itself. The UN might be induced to take action, too. Waking ShrubCo to this? I think not. Thank you for posting this on the front page.
  •  Not directly related, but... (4.00)
    important to the topic of rape as used in times of war are these:

    S. A Novel About the Balkans

    S. is one of the most powerful books I've ever read.  This is the book that made me the political, far-left liberal, radical feminist I am today.  You should read it.  Actually, I heartily recommend everything Slavenka Drakulic (I don't know how to make diacritical marks, but there should be an acute accent over the "c" in her name, pronounced Dra-koo-lish)

    Also, Calling the Ghosts is an outstanding film about women in the Balkans.  It is available through some speciality movie catalogues.

    "History drips in the dark..." Robert Penn Warren

    by khowell on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:11:50 PM PDT

    •  apologies... (none)
      Yeah, I sound like an historian with a penchant for languages... "Dra-koo-lish".  Someone hit me, already!  I've been grading too many papers!

      "History drips in the dark..." Robert Penn Warren

      by khowell on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:13:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP (4.00)
    Women for Women International helps these women directly.

    I sponsor a woman in the Congo for $27 a month.

    Financially: Your monthly contribution of $27 will help your sponsored sister recover from war. Your funds provide her with direct financial aid, rights awareness and leadership training, vocational skills training and access to income generating support, including microcredit loans.*

    Here is what they do:

    Women for Women International was founded in 1993 to help women overcome the horrors of war and civil strife in ways that can help them rebuild their lives, families, and communities. Women for Women International's tiered program begins with direct financial and emotional support; fosters awareness and understanding of women's rights; offers vocational skills training; and provides access to income-generation support and microcredit loans that together can help women restart their lives in ways that are independent, productive, and secure.

    Women for Women International has direct experience in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Colombia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We have assisted more than 33,000 women, distributing $18 million in direct aid and microcredit loans.

    http://www.womenforwomen.org/aboutus.html

  •  Thanks, Page (none)
    It's a reminder that we still have much work to do.

    Wouldn't it be nice if FOF and Robertson and the rest of these guys took all their money and spent in in a place like the Congo, instead of trying to create a theocracy?  I mean, which of the two is a more Christian thing to do?  I'm sure they can afford it, since they build megachurches.

    The rain covering most of the country? That's Jesus Christ crying over the abuse of his name by the wingnuts.

    by wolverinethad on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:36:45 PM PDT

  •  Girls caught up in conflict (none)
    According to the Guardian a recent Save the Children report mentions that Armies of girls are caught up in the conflict

    The report describes the six-year conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the deadliest war on the planet since the second world war, and the worst in Africa. From 1998 to 2004, approximately 3.8 million people died as a result of it.

    All the parties involved in the conflict recruited, abducted and used child soldiers. Children made up approximately 40% of some armed groups in the eastern DRC in 2003, with at least 30,000 taking an active part in combat.

    Thousands more children, mostly girls, were attached to the armed groups to provide sexual and other services.

    When the fox preaches The Passion, farmer watch your geese.

    by reform dem on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:39:37 PM PDT

  •  The responsibility of the West (none)
    The Western powers (particularly Belgium) are in part responsible for the chaos. Helping to assassinate Lumumba and then propping up Mobutu for one third of a century helped set the stage for this tragedy. There are UN peacekeepers there but they are not keeping the peace... because the commitment of the wealthy countries is lacking.

    I am not sure where to direct a letter about this. Does Congress even discuss it?

  •  Belgium's belated investigation (none)
    Belgium confronts its colonial demons

    Shocking claims - often well documented - that 10 million Congolese were either murdered or worked to death by Leopold's private army, that women were systematically raped, that people's hands were cut off and that the local populace endured kidnapping, looting and village burnings, have never been the subject of serious debate in Belgium, let alone brought an apology.

    The investigation will be only the first step towards coming to terms with the past. Disbelief about the seriousness of the allegations and a feeling that foreign historians are over-influenced by works such as Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness, in which Kurtz has African heads on spikes in his front garden, runs deep - even among the historians invited to investigate the matter.

    When the fox preaches The Passion, farmer watch your geese.

    by reform dem on Sun May 08, 2005 at 06:19:44 PM PDT

  •  Not women anymore (none)
    I'm not sure but I believe that the necessary reconstructive surgery ends up closing the vagina.

    To thine own self be true - W.S.

    by Agathena on Sun May 08, 2005 at 06:27:04 PM PDT

    •  Fistula repair doesn't require that (none)
      Quite the contrary -- a fistula is a tear in the tissue separating vagina from rectum or urinary tract.  Repairing it restores rectal or uninary continence, and permits one to resume sexual activity.  

      Of course, I'm only talking about fistulas resulting from childbirth.  I cannot begin to imagine what it takes to repair the damage done by rape with a tree branch or a gun's barrel.  

  •  Maybe a little off topic (none)
    but isn't that what they are doing here in a political way.

    make the "other" party not human, the gay loving worshippers of satan, otherwise known as the democrats, and then asking us to bend over and take it.

    Then if we protest their rape of civil liberties they turn around and say, we are the party of "no", the obstructionists. When we say no, we are in fact defending dignity.

    spin positive... inspire change

    by missliberties on Sun May 08, 2005 at 07:15:11 PM PDT

  •  The horror (none)
    of this is unimaginable. There is little that comes close to the barbarity of this.

    I remember reading about a Vietnam era soldier talking about being trained to give "field abortions" where they pretend the dummy was a pregnant Vietnamese woman.

  •  In case no one else pointed you in this direction (none)
    The Nation 2/19/04

    In the Congo today, age is clearly no protection from rape. A woman named Maria was 70 when the Interahamwe, the Hutu militia that led Rwanda's 1994 genocide and now number between 20,000 and 30,000 of the estimated 140,000 rebels in the DRC, came to her home. "They grabbed me, tied my legs apart like a goat before slaughter, and then raped me, one after the other," she told me. "Then they stuck sticks inside me until I fainted." During the attack Maria's entire family--five sons, three daughters and her husband--were murdered. "War came. I just saw smoke and fire. Then my life and my health were taken away," she says. The tiny septuagenarian with the sunken eyes was left with a massive fistula where her bladder was torn, causing permanent incontinence. She hid in the bush for three years out of fear that the rebels might return, and out of shame over her constantly soiled clothes. Yet Maria was one of the more fortunate ones. She'd finally made it to a hospital. Two months before we met, she had undergone reconstructive surgery. The outcome is uncertain, however, and she still requires a catheter.

    Rape has become a defining characteristic of the five-year war in the DRC, says Anneke Van Woudenberg, the Congo specialist for Human Rights Watch. So, too, has mutilation of the victims. "Last year, I was stunned when a 30-year-old woman in North Kivu had her lips and ears cut off and eyes gouged out after she was raped, so she couldn't identify or testify against her attackers. Now, we are seeing more and more such cases," she says. As the rebels constantly seek new ways to terrorize, their barbarity becomes more frenzied.

    In the Congo, rape is a cheaper weapon of war than bullets. Experts estimate that some 60 percent of all combatants in the DRC are infected with HIV/AIDS. As women rarely have access to expensive antiretroviral drugs, sexual assaults all too often become automatic death sentences. Médecins Sans Frontières operates five health clinics offering antiretrovirals in the conflict zone of northeastern DRC, but many women don't know about the drugs and cannot travel safely to the centers. Moreover, according to Helen O'Neill, a nurse who set up MSF's sexual-violence treatment program, such drugs must be taken within forty-eight to seventy-two hours of the rape to prevent infection. If a woman has been exposed to the virus, the treatment is 80 percent effective. But in the Congo, rape victims who are not captive sex slaves must walk for days or weeks, often with massive injuries, and risk new capture by roving rebel bands, before reaching assistance.

    The indifference, according to Woudenberg, extends to the arms of government that should be most deeply concerned with the DRC's crisis. "In November I tried to raise the issue with the US Mission to the UN in New York, and they told me fairly point-blank that they were aware rape was going on in the Congo, and it was just not high on their priorities," she says. "I had a similar response from the US State Department."

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun May 08, 2005 at 07:52:56 PM PDT

  •  Damn! (none)
    You made me cry.

    Thanks!

  •  I have been speechless (none)
    I have been thinking about this post ever since it went up today.  I could not respond.  I felt numb.  I felt utter dismay.  What can I do??  I want, so much, to help these women and their families.  My heart utterly goes out to them.

    I feel guilty because my first thought was, thank god I'm not there, I'm here, I'm safe.  And that is not me, really, I am just so happy this is not happening to me.  So guilty am I.

    "It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." Voltaire

    by FLPeach on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:20:56 PM PDT

  •  The rich nations of the world could do so much... (none)
    ...and they do so little.

    Let's start with "President" Bush's insulting initial offer of $15 million--yes, MILLION--to aid the victims of the tsunami that hit parts of Southeast Asia.

    What the world needs is a massive redistribution of wealth, not only inside the wealthy countries like the UK and the US, where the maldistribution of wealth is the worst it has been since Victorian times, but from the wealthiest to the poorest nations.

    Just think:  Those 150,000 American troops in Iraq could be peacekeeping in DR Congo and Sudan right now, distributing food, medicine, building schools, hospitals, roads, sanitation facilities.

    I know, 'tis but a dream...but something to dream for and something to live for.

    In the meantime, we do what we can, knowing it is not enough--but something is better than nothing.  Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

    There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

    by Shadowthief on Sun May 08, 2005 at 09:08:11 PM PDT

  •  outrage goes ho hum when women are the victims (none)
    Thank you for posting this. Yes, this and other tactics are psychological (as well as physical) weapons.  

    There are many stories of gang rape as a weapon in other nations, Pakistan, India (women set on fire for dowry's) and Sri Lanka (women shunned when widowed)  and then the additional outrage of
    these womens' societies blaming and shunning
    the victim and abandoning them.

    What is even more disturbing, these crimes
    against humanity are never reported on major
    media. That fact shows the incredible discriminatory attitudes towards women even in supposedly "modern" nations.  

    If the same crime was done too "all" there is no doubt I would be reading about in the NYTimes.  Yet when the majority of victims are women, nary
    a mention.

  •  Enabling the killers (none)
    People like Soj and I's favourite enemy, Viktor Bout, are the enablers of this horror - shipping in guns and shipping out resources. We've finally got the US Treasury Department to blacklist some of their front companies and raid Richard Chichakli's home in Richardson, TX, but there's much more of the empire still operating.

    Action: Put pressure on politicians to sign up to the Kimberley Process on diamonds and the UN Small Arms convention. Blast end-users of stuff like coltan (that is to say, major electronics companies). Demand the seizure of suspect aircraft by states like the UAE where they regularly pass.

  •  Yeah but you know (none)
    Culture of Life and all!

    Bringing real awareness was what the creation of Mother's Day was all about, so thanks. Only Hallmark turned it into the warm and fuzzy - though nice - holiday it is today.

    I'd heard about this previously - like all the other horrors in the world, why the fuck isn't the first world doing anything useful? It's like a trickle in a roaring waterfall, the stuff we as individuals can do. This stuff needs to be addressed on a massive scale, and yet, we do nothing. It shames me.

    I'm broke, but I donated to ePluribus. What's your excuse?

    by lynne1 on Mon May 09, 2005 at 07:17:20 AM PDT

  •  It is worse than you think (none)
    I just finished a book on child soldiers by Peter Singer. The problem is women and children are being used for war fodder. Rape is merely a tool to reward and indoctrinate soldiers, create more children soldiers and more violence. The DRC is looking at war without end. You can't worry about women having rights when there is no social structure to build on. Women deserve to honored and respected but where life is not respected a person's gender is irrevelant.      

    And Al Quada is looking for recruits in Africa.

    It not just the DRC with problems.  

    In Columbia, FARC forces girls fourteen or older to bear children for the war effort. They get pregnant and give up their baby to a local village at gun point. Refusal means death.  In seven years another child soldier is ready for a AK-47. The perfect soldier is a low cost, easily trained and obedient child. It is morally repugnant to use children in combat but they are more dangerous than adults. It is a serious war crime.              

    •  If this is true... (none)
      ...then there is no social order whatsoever.  If the UN cannot intervene there and restore some semblance of civilisation, then it is useless as an organisation.

      The Americans and Brits can't send troops, as they are too busy colonising the Arabian Peninsula, but perhaps the Germans and French and Italians and Spaniards could lend a hand?  And those ever-trusty Canadians?  200,000 or 300,000 peacekeeping troops ought to do it.

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Mon May 09, 2005 at 11:23:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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