Haiti’s Fayette Villagers Forgotten at Epicenter

Landslide near Fayette on Momance River

Georgianne Nienaber: While Leogane is completely overrun with NGOs, Fayette gets visits from the occasional scientist, and the only camera lens focused on the village is aboard NASA’s EO-1 satellite. Villagers told us they have not seen any aid workers since the quake. Nestled in fertile, natural surroundings along the Momance River, the local population is self-sufficient. They are not requesting money, food or water, but they do not want to be forgotten, either.

Haiti Watch: There Are No Loaves and Fishes in This Purgatory

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Georgianne Nienaber: soft rain has just begun to fall, but it is a terrible event here in Petionville, Haiti. There are 5,000 people with no shelter, food, or sanitation on Highway 1, about an hour from here. Babies are sleeping in dust that is turning to mud alongside mothers with shriveled breasts who are offering the infants paint chips mixed with dirt because they believe it is nutritious. It is all they have.

Haiti: Eight Weeks After the Quake and Words Fail

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Georgianne Nienaber: So, the writer does what writers do and steps back, walking alone and searching for vowels and consonants that might describe what is unseen and impossible to understand. Then something happens that challenges the morality and duty of the writer. There is something on the ground that does not fit the pattern of stones and vegetation. A pelvis attached to a spinal column is lying in the open. Pieces of ribs, a wrist and a forearm are nearby. The writer knows it is human but wants it to be something else. It is familiar and something she has seen before.

Haiti Recovery: “We Can Grow Our Own Chickens”

Regine Simon-Barjon

Georgianne Nienaber: Regine Simon-Barjon, speaking for the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce as the CEO of Biotek Solutions did, and she courageously faced off against a room full of companies, some well-intentioned and some not, who were poised to get paid lots of money to provide “aid” to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Allegra Huston Aims Her Creative Storm at NASA’s Mission Control

Huston

Georgianne Nienaber: After six years, “The Imaginative Storm” has morphed into an improvisational party populated with wordsv–va chaotic captivation designed to stimulate the writer’s imagination. Writers really have no chance for a passive absorption of technique if they brave Huston and Nave’s workshop.

Congolese Groups Demand Ouster of Abusive Army Commander

Georgiianne Nienaber: The four-page formal complaint describes a compendium of horrific abuses – including massacres of civilians, summary executions, rape, mutilations of women, the dumping of bodies into latrines, and the recruitment of children – all committed by troops under Zimurinda’s command from 2007 to the present.

LA Songwriter Claire Holley Takes on Home, Career and Parenthood

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Georgianne Nienaber: Obsessions notwithstanding, whatever formulas Holley has applied to parenthood and her creative life seem to be working. Nourishing transplanted Delta roots and tending to a mother’s worries are a challenge, but it appears that Holley may have found her muse and her strength in southern California.

Congo Descending into Third Circle of Hell

Georgianne Nienaber: What’s the rape and torture and burning alive of many thousands of women and children got to do with anything? What has JUSTICE got to do with anything, for God’s sake? Kabila wants “peace,” after all. A stray bullet might mar the finish on one of his bikes.

Bhutto:The Film — Heartbreaking, Thought-Provoking History Lesson

Benazir Bhutto

Georgianne Nienaber: Bhutto: The Film presents the story of a woman whose strength of personality and conviction totally dominates the constraints of a fundamentalist religious society where women had no intrinsic value. The voice over of Bhutto describing her birth is the ghost in the room. Her extended family was in mourning that Benazir entered the world in a society where the only desire is that the firstborn be a boy. “Dogs and cats were giving birth to boys,” she narrates from the grave.

Data Bombshell Crushes Congolese Death Reports

Displaced Persons Camp on outskirts of Goma

Georgianne Nienaber: A bunker-busting academic data bomb has just been dropped on the long-suffering Congolese people after the release of a report by the Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. The mainstream press fanned the resulting firestorm of academic debate on methodology by misquoting and misinterpreting death toll numbers in headlines that have now virally spread throughout cyberspace. The resulting confusion has dealt another body blow to humanitarian efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Savannah Book Festival: Escape From a Cold Virtual World

Songwriter Claire Holley performs in Sierra Madre on January 13.

Georgianne Nienaber: My New Year’s resolution is that I will abandon virtual networking for authentic, human contact. It’s time to venture into the heady world of writers and meet artists who excel at their craft. No mere dream-like avatars of the internet, these are verifiable, living, breathing originals, and you can find them at mostly unheralded literary events.

Congo: New Year, New Ops, Same Questions, Same Fears

Kivus Democratic Republic of Congo

Georgianne Nienaber: The notoriously failed Kimia II operation in eastern Congo has ended today, December 31. Soundly and forcefully criticized by Human Rights groups for the devastation it wrought on civilian populations, it will be replaced sometime in January with a new mission, dubbed OperationAmani Leo, sources say.

Could a Hillary Clinton Avatar Save Congo?

Congo Camp Conditions

Georgianne Nienaber: Surprisingly, to some, the bad guys list also includes scientists, conservationists, non-governmental organizations, doctors, lawyers, public relations professionals and just about anyone who stands to make a buck off of the suffering. As one local Congolese activist told me, “rape is big business in Congo these days.”

HRW Report on Congo: Fetuses Ripped From Wombs and Children Burned

“Continued killing and rape by all sides in eastern Congo shows that the UN Security Council needs a new approach to protect civilians,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Security Council should send a group of experts to Congo to kick-start a serious civilian protection plan.”

How Angels Came to Congo This Christmas

Inside Annie's Locket

And so it came to pass during Christmas 2009 that the music of Congo’s Angels filled the heavens above eastern Congo. And there were midwives living out in the fields and refugee camps nearby, keeping watch over the babies at night. And Congo’s Angels sang to them, and the glory of Hope sounded around them. And the angels sang to them, “Do not be afraid. We are with you and we love you.”

International Corruption Fuels Congo’s Repressive War

Ilona Jablonski at Rwandan Refugee Camp

Considering that the United States, China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and rotating member Uganda are all on the Security Council and all have been implicated in the report, it is no wonder the report was disseminated by rogues before it was dissected.

Dian Fossey Suspected Murderer Acquitted

Image: Genocide Memorial

Perhaps it is the ghost of Dian Fossey that will generate interest in a rigorous search for the truth. Perhaps outrage at the death of one will put the deaths of 3000 at the Twin Towers, 800,000 in Rwanda and six million in Congo into perspective.

Ashley Judd: Please, Population Control Is Not the Answer for Congo

Midwife (Photo: Nienaber)

Congo’s economy is not undermined by “unregulated fertility” rates. Why do these NGO’s feel they have the right to regulate birth rates? Civil society has been destroyed by decades of war and over a hundred years of exploitation of Congo’s wealth by international interests.

The Campaign: The Audacity of Hope Did Not Die in Maine

Image: Christie Herring © Scott Mansfield

If I have grandchildren, I have some hope that the world they enter will allow them to make the simple and profound choice to love whom they wish. Films like The Campaign will provide the historical blueprint and record of how the fight was waged, how battles were won–and lost.

U.N. Envoy Says Womens’ Breasts “Hacked Off:” Congo Refuses to Arrest Commander

village-burial

In a stunning example of a government washing its hands of responsibility, DR Congo’s Information Minister Lambert Mende said the authorities were “aware of the massacre” but would not arrest Zimulinda because they feared the consequences would be too great.

Satellite Imagery Proves Catastropic Failure of Joint Rwanda/Congo Military Exercizes

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Seeing is believing. For the past ten months, human rights organizations, political sources, eyewitness reports, and secret communiqués from remnants of Laurent Nkunda loyalists have reported that joint military operations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been a catastrophic failure.

Where Is SOS Clinton as Uncertainty Looms for Refugees and Displaced Populations in Central Africa?

Recent village burning DRC Credit HRW

Something is afoot in central Africa and we are dropping the ball. On a visit to the region in 2007, a deep source at the UN told me that his/her expectation was that violence and genocide could erupt again and that the epicenter would be Burundi.

Did Margaret Atwood’s “Saint Dian Fossey” Predict Current Atrocities in Congo?

International Primate Protection League Marker On Fossey Grave © G. Nienaber   Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/did-margaret-atwoods-sain_b_301686.html

By the time of her murder, one day after Christmas in 1985, poaching had been all but eliminated from the Virungas. Fossey learned to make peace with the inhabitants of the forest and even delivered a Batwa baby at her annual Christmas bash for the Africans in 1984.

Congo: Time to Send in the Clowns?

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Congolese president Joseph Kabila paved the way for a troupe of Spanish Clowns, while thugs and militia rule the Kivus and truth-seeking journalist are threatened.

Grassroots News from Congo: Midwives Transform Trash Into Hope

IMAGE courtesy of APROSAF midwives

The midwives need the means to accomplish their noble goal of saving women through direct intervention, HIV/AIDS counseling, and nutrition. This is truly a grassroots effort with a humble beginning that literally transforms grass and roots into life-supporting energy.

Stop “Crimes Against Humanity and Geological Scandals”: Give AFRICOM a Chance In Congo

Image: Greeting for journalist at Mungunga II in January 2009 © Nienaber

linton’s uncompromising condemnation of perpetrators of sexual violence has not been thoroughly emphasized or analyzed, but sniping has already begun about AFRICOM’s involvement in her initiative.

Dear Secretary Clinton: Could You Please Find Out if This Congolese Child Is Still Alive?

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Don’t be snowed by Kabila and what he will tell you while you are in Kinshasa. It is more important what you will see in eastern Congo.

North Country Blues: Michael Jackson, Media, Community, and a Small Town Murder

Dru Sjodin

As I stood in front of Dru’s grave, I was speechless, even in prayer. I was trying to make sense of 45,000 dead in Congo–people I had no ability to help. I was hoping that if I could reconnect with the death of one person who died senselessly and through no “mistake” of her own, other than being in the wrong place at the right time for her stalker, it would mitigate the anger I was feeling about the media pomp and circumstance over a celebrity’s death.

Music Video On A Shoestring: Heat Stroke, Heart and Social Media to the Rescue

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A while back I posted a commentary and review on Indie music as a soundtrack and metaphor for troubling financial times. In today’s atmosphere of music industry giants swallowing the little Indie guys and the news about Ticketmaster’s Echomusic shutting down the websites of 200 mid-level artists with barely a “slam, bam thank you guys [...]

Lalibre Reports: Is It Too Late for Eastern Congo?

Image: Luofu Burial Copyright ©HRW

Since the spectacular failure of Operation Umoja Wetu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congolese forces (FARDC) have formed a new military campaign with MONUC forces. Dubbed Kimia II, the new operation appears headed for the same fate. After the detention of rebel Congolese Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda by Rwandan forces (RDF) in [...]

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