Here at Enough, we often swap emails with interesting articles and feature stories that we come across in our favorite publications and on our favorite websites. We wanted to share some of these stories with you as part of our effort to keep you up to date on what you need to know in the world of anti-genocide and crimes against humanity work.
In the New York Times this week, East Africa bureau chief Jeffrey Gettleman tells the important and often overlooked story of male rape victims in eastern Congo. The article highlights an element of the crisis that is far more prevalent than reporting of it may suggest; some human rights organizations estimate that as much as 10 percent of rape survivors in eastern Congo are men. Given the startlingly gruesome nature of the violence perpetrated against Congolese civilians, it seems almost a moot point to rank levels of severity, but people familiar with the trend of male rape say the trauma suffered by men is especially complex:
The male rape cases are still just a fraction of those against women. But for the men involved, aid workers say, it is even harder to bounce back.
“Men’s identity is so connected to power and control,” Ms. Walker said.
And in a place where homosexuality is so taboo, the rapes carry an extra dose of shame.
“I’m laughed at,” Mr. Mukuli said. “The people in my village say: ‘You’re no longer a man. Those men in the bush made you their wife.’ ”
The public radio program On Point featured an excellent interview with filmmaker Pamela Yates, director of The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court, and Christine Chung, former senior prosecutor at the ICC. Both speak very eloquently about the creation of the ICC, the making of the film, and the challenges and potential the world’s first international court system faces.
On the occasion of Secretary Clinton’s meeting with Somali President Sheikh Sharif this week, Somalia scholar and Enough consultant Ken Menkhaus thoughtfully weighs in on the serious dilemma of what to do about Somalia. His take: “Part of what makes Somalia’s problems so tricky is that the country has garnered perhaps too much interest from all sorts of external actors, many not benign and all working hard to tip the balance in favor of their various Somali allies.” Though there is plenty of hand wringing about how the U.S. should do more for Somalia, Menkhaus asserts that the Obama administration has acted “judiciously” and “carefully.” But even if the U.S. government is on the right track in its engagement with the fragile Somali government, Menkhaus makes clear that this assessment is little consolation. His headline – Somalia: Too Big a Problem to Fail? – says it all.
The Washington Post’s Colum Lynch provided some interesting insights about Special Envoy Gration’s recent visits to IDP camps in Darfur. In sum: The camps’ elders were not pleased with the message the SE came to convey.
World Is Witness featured a strong post this week by Enough’s former Congo field researcher Rebecca Feeley, reporting from Bujumbura, Burundi. The even smaller country to Rwanda’s south, Burundi has experienced similar periods of intense ethnic violence as its neighbor, but the deaths – which have numbered in the hundreds of thousands during the most violent stretches – are often overlooked. Though the ethnic relations have largely improved in Burundi, Feeley remains cautious: “[D]on’t check Burundi off the list of post-conflict countries to watch just yet. Human rights groups and regional analysts have been seeing a steady increase in politically-motivated violence in the past year as Burundi approaches its 2010 presidential and parliamentary elections.”
The Enough Team contributed to this post.