My Thursday column is about the war in eastern Congo, looking at the work of Lisa Shannon and her Run for Congo Women. Readers sometimes ask why I often write about outsiders, like Lisa, rather than about the innumerable local people who are doing extraordinary work — often at greater risk. It’s certainly true that Congo, for example, has a vibrant and admirable civil society, full of Congolese women themselves organizing against rape and war.
But it’s already very difficult to get Americans to show any interest in a remote, distant conflict, and if everyone in the drama is Congolese it’s that much harder. An American protagonist in the column creates a connection to readers, I hope, and leaves them more engaged in the topic. That may not be fair, but it’s the reality. Likewise, I want to encourage readers — overwhelmingly American — to get involved, and Lisa makes a nice role model for that. Read more...
Five years ago, Lisa Shannon watched “Oprah” and learned about the savage, forgotten war here in eastern Congo, played out in massacres and mass rape. That show transformed Lisa’s life, costing her a good business, a beloved fiancé, and a comfortable home in Portland, Ore. — but giving her a chance to save lives in Congo.
I found myself stepping with Lisa into a shack here. It was night, there was no electricity, and a tropical rainstorm was turning the shantytown into a field of mud and streams. Lisa had come to visit a woman she calls her sister, Generose Namburho, a 40-year-old nurse.
Generose’s story is numbingly familiar: extremist Hutu militiamen invaded her home one night, killed her husband and prepared to rape her. Then, because she shouted in an attempt to warn her neighbors, they hacked off her leg above the knee with a machete.
In the second of two field dispatches on the crisis in eastern Congo, Enough field researcher Olivia Caeymaex reports on the situation in Walikale territory, a region where the FDLR maintains a strong presence.Dispatch From Eastern Congo Read More »
A Nevada company has been accused of bringing rare metals from mines in some of the most troubled areas of the world - the Congo. We talk with an official of ENOUGH - the project to end genocide and crimes against humanity - about the importation of rare minerals for use in everyday electronics. ENOUGH believes a Nevada company is buying conflict metals from the Congo via a series of companies in Hong Kong. Listen
Walikale territory, a vast and remote region of North Kivu, is scene of much of the fighting in Congo during the past year, and home to some of the region’s most lucrative mines. This is the second of two Field Dispatches looking at the crisis in eastern Congo.
This week didn’t bring any news of attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). And compared to this time last year, the general state of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has eased. Although Enough Project warns that though Ugandan and Congolese state officials may say that the conflict is dying down, attacks are not a thing of the past, and happen with relative frequency.
The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 is still gaining momentum, as four new senators and fourteen representatives signed on in the past week alone. Senator Inhofe (R-Ok) continues to be a committed supporter of the bill, enough so to criticize his colleagues’ hold on the bill from the Senate floor yesterday.
The United Nations says the Lord's Resistance Army is continuing to attack civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite a recent international offensive against the Ugandan rebel group. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the LRA killed as many as 100 Congolese in January.
Congolese and Ugandan officials have been saying the Lords Resistance Army is struggling to survive, but the civilian death toll continues to rise in the worst hit areas.
Speaking by telephone from Busia in eastern DRC, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs regional head Jean Charles Dupin told VOA the rebels are still targeting civilians.
Reporting from eastern Congo, the New York Times’ Nick Kristof filed a compelling commentary on the decade-long conflict there that should make world leaders and the broader public stop in their tracks and ask themselves what they’ve done to help the people of Congo. Read More »