Dick Price: “Ruined,” tells the improbably uplifting story of a tawdry haven from an unimaginably cruel world where soldiers and the rebels they fight routinely rape, mutilate, and murder women for sport.
Georgianne Nienaber: The United States has strategic and mining interests in DRC and until the American people wake up and demand that our government do something to actually promote human rights in the Great Lakes Region, we can expect more of the same and press release after press release from Human Rights organizations will swarm foreign news desks like so many hyenas after the kill.
Dick Price: Next week, Georgianne Nienaber departs on a 12-day investigative research trip to Haiti where she will look to fill in gaps in the mainstream media’s news coverage while also providing emergency medical assistance to rural Haitians. As she works with Haitian human rights organizations to develop story ideas, she also invites LA Progressive readers to contribute their thoughts on where else she might look.
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.
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.
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.
Emily Spence and Brian McAfee: Heavily armed militias are trying to increase the very same kinds of turmoil that charitable groups are striving to remedy. They are doing so in order to gain control of four main minerals: tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold that garner an estimated $180 million in revenues each year.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.