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.
Rape in camps for Somalis displaced has hit “epidemic proportions,” remarked Hawa Aden Mohamed in an article by IRIN. Mohamed runs a center to assist internally displaced people in Galkayo, a region that has been flooded by displaced people from Mogadishu. Despite Islam’s strict rules forbidding rape, Mohamed said that sexual violence is on the rise and has become one of the biggest security concerns for women in the IDP camps: "Apart from a lack of basic needs, the displaced women also have to deal with the constant fear of rape.” The article includes personalized accounts that are important to keep in mind as the number of displaced in Somalia continues to rise.
To mark the opening day of the 64th U.N. General Assembly, The New York Times ran this fascinating profile of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who is leading the effort to revamp U.S. engagement with the world body. On why she thinks it’s a very worthy cause, Rice said: “I happen to believe, as the president does, that our security and well-being as Americans are inextricably linked to the security and well-being of people elsewhere. Indifference is costly in moral and humanitarian terms, and it’s costly in security terms.”
Especially in light of the man-made disasters that we typically cover, it is distressing to read about the significant environmental strains that people in east Africa face. The Economist reports that this year’s drought is the worst since 2000, or possibly even since 1991. Of course, the desperate conditions exacerbate social and political tensions. “The drought may strengthen the hand of the Islamist Shabab movement, linked to al-Qaeda, in south Somalia; it uses food aid to control the people. Recent cattle raids in northern Kenya have left scores dead, with unprecedented numbers of women and children among the victims. Fighting may intensify until the land becomes greener again.”
The week in review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi’s appearance at the United Nations General Assembly. At one hour and 36 minutes, his speech was the longest of the day. (Heads of state were asked to keep their remarks to 15 minutes). According to The Times of London, even Qaddafi’s own interpreter couldn’t keep up. When the Qaddafi’s ramblings hit the 75-minute mark, his interpreter apparently exclaimed into the live mic, “I just can’t take it anymore,” and an Arabic interpreter from the U.N. team took over. "His interpreter just collapsed – this is the first time I have seen this in 25 years," another U.N. Arabic interpreter said.
But as the Financial Times’ Gideon Rachman noted, some of Qaddafi’s remarks about Security Council reform were relevant and included some potentially useful solutions that might be taken seriously were they proposed by someone less controversial. (HT to Josh Keating of Foreign Policy.) I’m glad Rachman pointed this out; I’ll admit that I was distracted during Qaddafi’s speech by the way he kept shuffling through loose sheets from a yellow legal pad that appeared to be scrawled with red marker – his prepared remarks, I guess.
The Enough Team contributed to this post.