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Old 11-14-2006, 04:23 PM   #16
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I thought it was important that the article state multiple times that these should be considered acts of terrorism.
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Old 11-14-2006, 04:29 PM   #17
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The conflict is happening to everybody in eastern Congo, men, women, and children--more than 7% of the country's entire population have died in the fighting and their census data, which shows a sex distibution lopsided in favor of women, doesn't support the conclusion that men are overall less affected by the conflict. And the killing methods often used are shockingly brutal (hacking with machetes, flaying to death and so forth) as are the many other forms of torture widely employed besides rape. Obviously this isn't of comfort if you're a female survivor left permanently infertile and incontinent because of injuries sustained by rape, but the international community's ineffectual response to the conflict in general can't really be plausibly attributed to some specific indifference to how it affects women. Sub-Saharan African conflicts, period (Darfur, Rwanda, Sierra Leone etc.), tend to draw comparatively little international attention regardless of who suffers from them and how--that's just a fact.

Mass rape is classified as a war crime, a form of torture, and a crime against humanity by the Geneva Convention, the Nuremberg Charter and the International Criminal Court--the IC Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda have further prosecuted it as a form of genocide. It's not for want of international law recognition that the link between violent conflict and mass rape persists, though rape is considerably harder and more time-consuming to investigate and document than most war crimes, which is one major obstacle to prosecuting it effectively. The frequent disinclination of local officials involved in war crimes investigations to treat rape on a par with other crimes, despite what international protocols call for, is another major problem.

But if anything, I think articles like this, which raise international awareness of the effects of otherwise widely ignored conflicts on women (how often do you read about DR Congo in Newsweek?--yet this conflict is in its eighth year now, and has killed over 4 million people), are among the best ways to focus the rest of the world on what's happening, and further international convictions that more needs to be done. It certainly had that effect in the case of Bosnia. It's harder to succumb to cynical and hopeless "Why can't those people stop killing each other and just get along!"-type thinking when confronted with evidence of mass violence against the most inarguably innocent of victims.
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:20 PM   #18
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Originally posted by yolland


But if anything, I think articles like this, which raise international awareness of the effects of otherwise widely ignored conflicts on women (how often do you read about DR Congo in Newsweek?--yet this conflict is in its eighth year now, and has killed over 4 million people), are among the best ways to focus the rest of the world on what's happening, and further international convictions that more needs to be done. It certainly had that effect in the case of Bosnia. It's harder to succumb to cynical and hopeless "Why can't those people stop killing each other and just get along!"-type thinking when confronted with evidence of mass violence against the most inarguably innocent of victims.
I completely agree. As you said earlier - education is the key.

I will definitely be bringing this up to my church.
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:28 PM   #19
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Originally posted by yolland
T
But if anything, I think articles like this, which raise international awareness of the effects of otherwise widely ignored conflicts on women (how often do you read about DR Congo in Newsweek?--yet this conflict is in its eighth year now, and has killed over 4 million people), are among the best ways to focus the rest of the world on what's happening, and further international convictions that more needs to be done. It certainly had that effect in the case of Bosnia.
What the former YU republics all did (I believe Croatia was the first, Bosnia followed)is to hire American PR firms, mostly out of NYC (yes, no joke) in order to "package" their suffering to the American consumer. That is when you started seeing more of the human interest articles and so on being published in the MSM in the US. It really is a sad social statement.
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:58 PM   #20
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I will definitely be bringing this up to my church.


Our synagogue has been working in partnership with a local Catholic Church on this issue, using some of the lobbying and other resources available through Catholic Relief Services. A colleague of mine who's a Lutheran pastor told me that Lutheran World Relief also has such a project, though I don't personally know anything about that one. And the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has resources especially developed for education about this situation, which you might want to take a look at.
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It really is a sad social statement.
I completely agree, but it really is true that seeing the news stories about the mass rapes had a major effect on galvanizing public support for intervention here.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:10 PM   #21
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Geez.
I couldn't finish the article, my stomach went sour.

I thought that Sudan was bad enough, I mean this is absolutely horrible.

I'm sick and nauseated over this.

I don't know why we don't do more, this reminds me of Rwanda in 1994 and the USA sitting on their hands doing absolutely nothing.

When will the madness end?

dbs
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:13 PM   #22
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Originally posted by yolland



Our synagogue has been working in partnership with a local Catholic Church on this issue, using some of the lobbying and other resources available through Catholic Relief Services. A colleague of mine who's a Lutheran pastor told me that Lutheran World Relief also has such a project, though I don't personally know anything about that one. And the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has resources especially developed for education about this situation, which you might want to take a look at.
Thank you Yolland. I will certainly check these out.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:18 PM   #23
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I always find it interesting what piques the attention of Westerners when it comes to Africa. Dictatorships gets no attention. Starvation isn't enough. Millions of dead aren't enough. Genocide might get you to read a headline. But rape seems to get people to read a whole article. And AIDS gets lots of philanthropic donations, only, I suspect, out of a selfish fear that they'll infect us.

I write this not to be offensive or to downplay people's outrage here--you have every right to be--but just to make a commentary that Africa has been a mess for decades. Why haven't we been as committed to building Africa's economy and stability as we have been in eradicating terrorism? Ultimately, as I implied before, because our intentions are rarely altruistic and always selfish, even in the guise of charity ("charity" can be a selfish act, because one can be more interested in "feeling good about oneself" than actual charity). Ayn Rand may be a rather contemptible woman, but I find that her very base outlook on the selfishness of humanity to be spot on.

What will it take for the West to take a personal "selfish" investment into the well-being of Africa, just as we currently have in Iraq?
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:20 PM   #24
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The youngest victim of fistula from rape his hospital has seen was 12 months old
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:21 PM   #25
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You make good points Melon.
The needy will ALWAYS be among us, what we do about it is where the test really lies.

dbs
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:24 PM   #26
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We would get things done period with the Bolton in there or not. The UN is a farce that should be dismantled because it is such a big failure. I wonder if they will pull another Rawanda?
The UN is only the sum of its parts. Dismantling the UN will not solve the fact that its member nations--the U.S. included--have never been serious about improving Africa.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:34 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Ormus
I always find it interesting what piques the attention of Westerners when it comes to Africa. Dictatorships gets no attention. Starvation isn't enough. Millions of dead aren't enough. Genocide might get you to read a headline. But rape seems to get people to read a whole article. And AIDS gets lots of philanthropic donations, only, I suspect, out of a selfish fear that they'll infect us.

I write this not to be offensive or to downplay people's outrage here--you have every right to be--but just to make a commentary that Africa has been a mess for decades. Why haven't we been as committed to building Africa's economy and stability as we have been in eradicating terrorism? Ultimately, as I implied before, because our intentions are rarely altruistic and always selfish, even in the guise of charity ("charity" can be a selfish act, because one can be more interested in "feeling good about oneself" than actual charity). Ayn Rand may be a rather contemptible woman, but I find that her very base outlook on the selfishness of humanity to be spot on.

What will it take for the West to take a personal "selfish" investment into the well-being of Africa, just as we currently have in Iraq?
Is it really worth kicking at the darkness here? Whatever the motivation, if it galvanizes action, I say do it.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:40 PM   #28
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What will it take for the West to take a personal "selfish" investment into the well-being of Africa, just as we currently have in Iraq?


I think 12 month old babies getting raped and women being practically "ripped" apart just to make a political statement might be enough to get this planet's attention. If it isn't…well…this world is far darker than I thought.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:44 PM   #29
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Is it really worth kicking at the darkness here? Whatever the motivation, if it galvanizes action, I say do it.
But then it ends up coming back to the same old, same old with Africa: throwing money at a problem while the outrage is still fresh in the mind, and then forgetting about it all over again.

Yes, I question the motivation, because such outrage is always fleeting.

Ironically, I tend to come across as more of a conservative when it comes to issues like Africa. I've been cautiously optimistic since Paul Wolfowitz was nominated to the World Bank, because he's known to be very energetic when it comes to the subject of Africa, and I'd certainly agree that the old policies of merely throwing money at a problem is the wrong approach. We have to look at the issue of corrupt regimes and have a comprehensive approach to improving Africa's standard of living, because, otherwise, we're just throwing our money away.

We have the dreamers and idealists. We just need the action, and someone to keep that action fiscally responsible and accountable.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:47 PM   #30
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I think 12 month old babies getting raped and women being practically "ripped" apart just to make a political statement might be enough to get this planet's attention. If it isn't…well…this world is far darker than I thought.
I'm sure it will get enough attention to last to the next newspaper article, sad to say. It is very easy to dehumanize and forget about "the Other."
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