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.
The story of nine-year-old Jackie adds a powerful human dimension to Nicholas Kristof’s column this week on the staying power of mass rape, even long after the traditional combat of war ends. Mass rape was a widespread problem during Liberia’s civil war that ended in 2003, but in Liberia, as in many countries where rape is used as a weapon of war, “it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement.” An emotional video filmed in the shelter where Jackie lives with other survivors of rape accompanies Kristof’s column.
The Economist offers a useful if grim sum-up of the conditions that led to the recent clashes between jihadist forces in Somalia and the country’s fledgling transitional government. Now, with the contingent of African Union troops increasingly targeted by suicide bombers and the U.N. refusing calls to send in forces to secure the capital, it seems that next-to-nothing stands in the way of radicals of the Shabaab (“Youth”) and Hizbul Islam gaining an even greater foothold in the very volatile country.
Newsweek’s profile of long-time Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony is both a fascinating biography of the infamous cult leader, and a useful backgrounder on the regional politics that have enabled his movement to survive and the many attempts to halt him. Keep an eye out for smart insights from Enough’s Kampala-based LRA researcher, Julia Spiegel, who was consulted in the writing of the report.
A team from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum recently traveled to eastern Congo, where they focused on collecting testimonies from survivors of the ongoing conflict. An insightful post by Michael Graham on USHMM’s World Is Witness blog highlights the ever-changing allegiances of the rebel factions and government actors that interchangeably hamper and serve as potential breakthroughs in the ongoing attempts to stabilize the region. But as Graham makes clear, the one constant is that civilians remain ever in the crossfire.
As the Sri Lankan government declared victory over the Tamil Tigers this week, trumpeting the end of its 26-year civil war, Sri Lanka watchers were quick to emphasize that the real tests lay ahead. In a well-reasoned article from The New Republic, Michael Schaffer argues that some of the very characteristics that enabled the government to defeat the Tigers militarily will pose the largest challenges moving forward. A key quote:
But if jingoistic leadership and a militarized state were what won the conventional war, they make it look even less likely that [President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s] government will win the peace–a feat that will require magnanimity and humility, and an ability to distinguish between the rebels who were slaughtered on the battlefield and the overall minority population, whose concerns about equality remain valid and unsettled.
The Enough Team contributed to this post.