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 a counter-intuitive move, the Sudanese government ordered the country’s main daily newspapers to print additional pages in each issue. Sudan is notorious for its lack of press freedom, so what’s the deal? One conclusion journalists in Sudan are drawing, according to Alsanosi Ahmed in a blog post for the LATimes: the government is trying to boost the revenue for the printing houses, many of which are owned by wealthy Sudanese businessmen with ties to the ruling party.
Marking the passage of the LRA bill in the U.S. Congress, a group of human rights defenders from northeastern Congo sent a direct appeal to President Obama (via Human Rights Watch) for attention to mounting LRA violence. The authors bravely included their individual names, making a personalized and powerful plea: “Your Excellency, this letter is a cry for help. We know the goodness of your heart and we know that you alone can bring a concrete, rapid and decisive response before our women and children are wiped out.”
Jason Stearns relays some interesting insights about Congolese and Rwandan intelligence agencies, particularly in the role they may have played in the assassination of Congo’s previous president (and the father of the current), Laurent Kabila. Stearns also shares some amusing anecdotes about Congolese spooks he has met.
The new documentary Benda Bilili! got rave reviews at Cannes this year, and BBC arts editor Will Gompertz’s take is particularly colorful. The film tells the story of a group of musicians in Kinshasa called Staff Benda Bilili, which means ‘beyond appearances.’ The band’s original members are paraplegic street musicians, who are joined by two young boys who play the drums and a homemade instrument fashioned from a tin can, a stick, and string. (No word yet on wider distribution, but here’s an audio clip from the band’s appearance on NPR last year.)
NBC’s Ann Curry interviewed actor Ben Affleck about his new organization in eastern Congo that will seek out and support local organizations. Affleck seems to be on point with his idea of empowering people who are already in the region doing great work, and he makes some earnest remarks about how he wishes that he had gotten involved in this work years ago.