On the DRC and Rape as a Weapon of War

by matttbastard

François Grignon of the International Crisis Group on the ongoing rape epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where “[t]ens of thousands of women and children were raped in the region last year alone”:

Panzi Hospital in the town of Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo specialises in the care of rape victims. Although Panzi has 350 beds, it must send many women home before they have fully recovered because of the never-ending stream of new patients arriving for treatment.

Panzi is emblematic of the catastrophic toll sexual violence has inflicted on the people of eastern Congo over the past decade. The non-governmental organization Medecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has reported that 75 percent of all the rape cases it dealt with worldwide were in the eastern Congo. A census by UNICEF and related medical centres reported treatment of 18,505 persons for sexual violence in the first 10 months of 2008, 30 percent of whom were children. This year, the situation deteriorated further still, with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reporting a huge surge in sexual violence and rape in eastern Congo.

Reported cases represent only a fraction of the total — a vast number of cases go unreported. Women fear that they will lose all prospects for marriage or that their husbands will abandon them if they acknowledge they have been raped. In other cases, the threat of retribution — coupled with the near certainty that the perpetrators will never be held accountable — discourages women from stepping forward.

Most of the warring parties of the conflict in eastern Congo, including the Congolese Army, Rwandan Hutu rebels, and Congolese Tutsi rebels, have used rape as a weapon of war. Moreover, rape has become ingrained in Congolese civilian society and is widely used to determine power relations. Men and teenagers rape not only women and girls of all ages, but also other males. An estimated 90 percent of minors in prison in eastern Congo have been convicted of rape, according to the non-governmental North Kivu Provincial Subcommission on Sexual Violence.

[…]

The UN’s launch on April 1, 2009 of an overall strategy for combating sexual violence in the Congo was a welcome step. But this strategy and other recommendations for justice reform and for preventing sexual violence will be empty words in the absence of robust engagement at all levels of the Congolese civilian and military hierarchy.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Related: See the ICG report ‘Congo: Five Priorities for a Peacebuilding Strategy

Update 06.13: Jesurgislac, bumped from comments:

Just as a followup: Abortion is completely illegal in the DRC (though Doctors Without Borders provide abortion to women who have been raped) and it is this combination, of war rape with denial of legal abortion and often denial of treatment following an illegal abortion, that led to Amnesty International adopting the position that access to abortion and follow-up health care is a human rights issue, even if they only support access after rape.

This aspect of rape in the Congo is generally ignored by most articles on the topic. Therefore I mention it.

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Nothing Sez ‘Common Ground’ Like Hatin’ teh JOOZ

by matttbastard

Awesome:

This January, a week after Barack Obama’s Inauguration, a conference called “Holocaust? A Sacred Lie by the West” was held in Tehran. Ahmadinejad, in a greeting that he sent to the conference, said that Zionists had “ensnared many politicians and parties.” In a follow-up statement, he added, “An incident known as 9/11 occurred. It is not yet clear who carried it out, who collaborated with them, and who paved the way for them. The event took place, and—like in the case of the Holocaust—they sealed it off, refusing to allow objective research groups to find out the truth.”

Iasked Thomas Pickering why Ahmadinejad had chosen that moment to talk so provocatively about the Holocaust. “I think he probably felt encouraged by the Pope,” Pickering replied, referring to the news that week that Benedict XVI had lifted an excommunication order on a British bishop and Holocaust denier. (The Pope later asked the bishop to recant.)

Heartwarming. Who says the Vatican has been backsliding on JPII’s ecumenical outreach efforts? Heckuva job, Ratzi.

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PSA: Canadian Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Events (Updated)

by matttbastard

Via Canadian Peace Alliance:

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Events

Please join one of the 12 Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemorations this week. The full events listings are available at: http://www.acp-cpa.ca/en/HiroshimaDay.htm

BRANDON

The First Annual Japanese Lantern Ceremony for World Peace
Where: Keystone Centre YMCA Pool on 13th Street
When: Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Time: 7:30 PM

CALGARY

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Memorial

Thursday, August 7, 2008, 7pm – 9pm
Calgary Area Outdoor Council, Large Room on 2nd floor
(wheelchair access to 2nd floor, 1111 Memorial Drive NW)

– We may watch movie with colour footage of the devastation.
– Speeches
– Lantern ceremony with glow in the dark non-flame, non-flammable
lanterns.

CASTLEGAR, BC

This year we gather on Zuckerberg Island, Wednesday, August 6 at 6:00 pm to both commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also to listen to our minstrels of peace and hear from the Mayor of Hiroshima and other voices of reason in our troubled world.

Kootenay Region Branch of the        United Nations Association in Canada (KRUNA)

2600 Columbia Avenue
Castlegar, B.C., V1N 2X6
250-365-7180

GRAND FORKS

Grand Forks City Park at 1 pm on Saturday, August 9th to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and mourn today’s victims from ‘Depleted Uranium’ radiological weapons, tanks, vests, bullets and bombs.

We urge you to join us on August 9th at 1 pm in City Park for speakers, entertainment and a Auction. The auction is to raise funds to support our work and encourage all to donate items and then make generous bids.

We thank all who have given of their time, energy and funds in the past and look forward to your continued participation at events and regular meetings in Selkirk College on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month.

For inquiries please phone Laura at 250-442-0430.

On behalf of the Boundary Peace Initiative: member of B.C. Southern Interior Peace Coalition, Canadian Peace Alliance, Uranium Free Kootenay Boundary, Uranium Free B.C., Abolition 2000, Lawyers Against the War, and an affiliate of Fellowship of Reconciliation.

HAMILTON

Wednesday, August 6th 2008, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
The Hamilton Spectator Auditorium, 44 Frid Street, Hamilton
Help Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Everywhere!

Presented by the Hamilton Chapter of Project Ploughshares, a national, ecumenical, non-profit organization; part of the Canadian Council of Churches working to transform a world of violence into a world of enduring peace and security.
Co-sponsored by Amnesty International Group No. 1 in Hamilton; Group No. 8 at McMaster University and Group No. 21 in Burlington; the Hamilton Mundialization Committee; Children’s International Learning Centre; United Nations Association in Canada; Gandhi Peace Festival; Physicians for Global Survival; Interfaith Council for Refugees and Human Rights; Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University; The Hamilton Culture of Peace Network.

Everyone is invited to this very important and informative presentation
For information call Leonor Sorger at 905-528-7988, Reverend Linda Nash 905 387-9783
Project Ploughshares: www.projectploughshares.ca

MIDLAND

Peaceworks Midland will hold a commemorative service at the Peace Garden in Penetanguishene at 5.30 on August 6. Bring some food for a picnic and be inspired by the Orillia Raging Grannies. There will be a hands on workshop on making origami cranes.

For further information contact peace_works@hotmail.com

NORTH BAY

The North Bay Peace Alliance will host an event commemorating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The gathering will be held on the 63rd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6 on the steps of North Bay City Hall (McIntyre Street, between Wyld and Sherbourne Streets) between 8 and 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

For more information please call 497 0373.

OTTAWA

EVENT DETAILS (SATURDAY, AUGUST 9th):
6:30pm: meet at Friends House (91 A Fourth St in The Glebe) to decorate laterns
7:30pm: film screening and discussion @ Friends House on the threat posed by nuclear weapons
8:30pm: march to float and light the laterns (location to be announced shortly)

The Ottawa Peace Assembly

SASKATOON

Commemorate Hiroshima Day, Wednesday August 6 at Rotary Park Peace Pole, 12-1 pm

Program includes Mayor Don Atchison, Mayors for Peace • Reverend Hiraku Iwai • Jillian Cyca, Artist • John Crawford, Project Ploughshares

ELIMINATE NUCLEAR WEAPONS FOREVER

For more information, call (306) 384-4134

Building peace in our families, communities, and world. www.saskatoonpeace.tk

TORONTO

See Hiroshima Day Coalition for more information

The Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition (THDC) cordially invites you to attend the unveiling of the powerful exhibition of photographs from the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Rotunda inside Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 5:30 pm.

The exhibit runs from August 6th -11th, 2008 in conjunction with the “Paths to Hope” Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony on Saturday, August 9th, 2008 at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 6:30 pm.

To RSVP for the August 6th, 2008 unveiling of the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibition at the Rotunda, Toronto City Hall, please contact Helen Chilas, National Coordinator of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, via email h-chilas@rogers.com or cell at 416-473-8238

Note: If you would like to reserve a table at the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Annual Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony (August 9th at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square), please contact Dr. Barbara Birkett with Physicians for Global Survival at bbirkett@interlog.com.

VANCOUVER

HIROSHIMA MEMORIAL PEACE LANTERN CEREMONY

Mayor Derrick Corrigan reading of the Burnaby City proclamation,

Free family event with Music, Speakers and Floating Lanterns

Wednesday Aug 6 7:30 to 9:30 pm
South Pond, Central Park, Bby
Parking N. side of Imperial, just E. of Boundary Road

Related events: Powell Street Festival – Sat. Aug. 2nd & Sun. Aug. 3rd includes a showing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki exhibit panels, along with beautiful embroidered quilts, which show the wording of the Renunciation of War in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution; now threatened with repeal.

Presented by Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, Lanterns for Peace and Vancouver Save Article 9 – for info. call 604-325-8824, email lanterns@shaw.ca

Sponsored by: Veterans Against Nuclear Weapons
Endorsed by: STOPWAR.ca, World Peace Forum, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, & Peace and Philosophy Centre in Vancouver
Contact: David Laskey laskey8824-at-shaw.ca

WINNIPEG

Where: Memorial Park, Winnipeg
When: Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Time: 7:30 PM

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Canadian Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Events

by matttbastard

Via Canadian Peace Alliance:

There are 8 cities planning events for Hiroshima/Nagasaki Days this week. Please check the listings and join events calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide.

Any new event postings can be sent to cpa@web.ca to be posted on the website at http://www.acp-cpa.ca/en/HiroshimaDay.htm

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Events

BRANDON

The First Annual Japanese Lantern Ceremony for World Peace
Where: Keystone Centre YMCA Pool on 13th Street
When: Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Time: 7:30 PM

CALGARY

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Memorial

Thursday, August 7, 2008, 7pm – 9pm
Calgary Area Outdoor Council, Large Room on 2nd floor
(wheelchair access to 2nd floor, 1111 Memorial Drive NW)

– We may watch movie with colour footage of the devastation.
– Speeches
– Lantern ceremony with glow in the dark non-flame, non-flammable
lanterns.

CASTLEGAR, BC

This year we gather on Zuckerberg Island, Wednesday, August 6 at 6:00 pm to both commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also to listen to our minstrels of peace and hear from the Mayor of Hiroshima and other voices of reason in our troubled world.

Kootenay Region Branch of the United Nations Association in Canada (KRUNA)

2600 Columbia Avenue
Castlegar, B.C., V1N 2X6
250-365-7180

GRAND FORKS

Grand Forks City Park at 1 pm on Saturday, August 9th to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and mourn today’s victims from ‘Depleted Uranium’ radiological weapons, tanks, vests, bullets and bombs.

We urge you to join us on August 9th at 1 pm in City Park for speakers, entertainment and a Auction. The auction is to raise funds to support our work and encourage all to donate items and then make generous bids.

We thank all who have given of their time, energy and funds in the past and look forward to your continued participation at events and regular meetings in Selkirk College on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month.

For inquiries please phone Laura at 250-442-0430.

On behalf of the Boundary Peace Initiative: member of B.C. Southern Interior Peace Coalition, Canadian Peace Alliance, Uranium Free Kootenay Boundary, Uranium Free B.C., Abolition 2000, Lawyers Against the War, and an affiliate of Fellowship of Reconciliation.

OTTAWA

EVENT DETAILS (SATURDAY, AUGUST 9th):
6:30pm: meet at Friends House (91 A Fourth St in The Glebe) to decorate laterns
7:30pm: film screening and discussion @ Friends House on the threat posed by nuclear weapons
8:30pm: march to float and light the laterns (location to be announced shortly)

The Ottawa Peace Assembly

SASKATOON

Commemorate Hiroshima Day, Wednesday August 6 at Rotary Park Peace Pole, 12-1 pm

Program includes Mayor Don Atchison, Mayors for Peace • Reverend Hiraku Iwai • Jillian Cyca, Artist • John Crawford, Project Ploughshares

ELIMINATE NUCLEAR WEAPONS FOREVER

For more information, call (306) 384-4134

Building peace in our families, communities, and world. www.saskatoonpeace.tk

TORONTO

See Hiroshima Day Coalition for more information

The Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition (THDC) cordially invites you to attend the unveiling of the powerful exhibition of photographs from the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Rotunda inside Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 5:30 pm.

The exhibit runs from August 6th -11th, 2008 in conjunction with the “Paths to Hope” Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony on Saturday, August 9th, 2008 at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 6:30 pm.

To RSVP for the August 6th, 2008 unveiling of the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibition at the Rotunda, Toronto City Hall, please contact Helen Chilas, National Coordinator of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, via email h-chilas@rogers.com or cell at 416-473-8238

Note: If you would like to reserve a table at the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Annual Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony (August 9th at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square), please contact Dr. Barbara Birkett with Physicians for Global Survival at bbirkett@interlog.com.

WINNIPEG

Where: Memorial Park, Winnipeg
When: Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Time: 7:30 PM

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Quote of the Day: On Saying Sorry

by matttbastard

…I had a chance to watch the prime minister’s apology for the residential schools and the subsequent speeeches [sic]. I wish I were in Canada to take part in a moving moment in Canadian history. I hope, as I am sure almost all Canadians do, that as a society we can collectively start to tackle the problems that so many aboriginal communities face.

But, please, let the apology not become an icon, something that we pull out from time to time and admire and then put away again. Let it not be something that makes us feel good about ourselves so that we can avoid thinking about the things that should shame us.

Apologies are a fashion today, and on the whole a good one. This past February, the Australian government finally said sorry for the decades-long practice of seizing its Aboriginal children from their families and giving them to white families to be brought up “white.”

Apologies are good both for those who are admitting their past sins and those who receive them. Accepting the past, as the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission showed, is an important step towards moving into the future. But words are cheap if they are not preceded by serious thought and followed by serious action.

What did it really do when Tony Blair apologized for the Irish potato famine? Or when the descendant of the notorious Elizabethan Sir John Hawkins apologized for slavery? Are such apologies anything more than easy sentimentality? And what do apologies mean when they are not accompanied by any significant acts of restitution? Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said “sorry,” but significantly did not explain what his government was going to do about the lot of present-day Aboriginals.

What is Canada going to do for today’s Aboriginals? I am still waiting to know. I don’t want to think that dwelling on the past a way of avoiding dealing with the present.

Margaret MacMillan

It’s a bit of a mystery…why Stephen Harper is only apologizing today for the residential schools program. The program certainly merits a plea for forgiveness, but it was only part of the program aimed at eliminating Indian culture and completing the European domination of the country.

You could argue that, since Canada didn’t exist as an independent country until it was already too late for the natives, the broader campaign wasn’t really our doing. That would make it the fault of somebody in London or Paris, since they were the ones calling the shots at the time. But stealing an entire country demands more than just a government order; it requires the enthusiastic participation of the general population, which in Canada’s case was willingly given.

So, strictly speaking, the apology given in the House of Commons today should be for the overall willingness of Canada’s founders to participate in the subjugation and humiliation of the First Nations before, during and after 1867, viewing it as a necessary evil towards establishing a new nation in their place. It derives from the same sense of guilt the Catholic church plays on, the need to recognize the roots of the entity you belong too [sic].

I don’t know why the government isn’t doing that. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact the subjugation and humiliation goes on to this day; that the government, and Canadians in general, are embarrassed and frustrated that the poverty of so many native communities continues to resemble third world countries rather than prosperous, pleasant Canada. It may also reflect the continued lack of a clear understanding of what to do about it. Begging forgiveness might highlight too much that the government doesn’t have a solution.

Kelly McParland

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Popcorn Sunday: Unrepentant: Kevin Annett and Canada’s Genocide

by matttbastard

“…This documentary reveals Canada’s darkest secret – the deliberate extermination of indigenous (Native American) peoples and the theft of their land under the guise of religion. [A] never before told history as seen through the eyes of this former minister (Kevin Annett) who blew the whistle on his own church, after he learned of thousands of murders in its Indian Residential Schools…”

hiddenfromhistory.org

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On Outsourcing Darfur

by matttbastard

Shorter Michael Walzer: “We simply must do something in Darfur–even if that ‘something’ is absolutely wrong, to say nothing of stupid and counterproductive.”

Remember: Walzer’s supposedly one of those decent Leftists (Eustonites reprazent!), even though he was kinda-sorta against invading Iraq (but he was really, really conflicted by his position, and never, ever wanted to be lumped in with the dirty fucking hippies [and their cheese-eating allies in Paris] who, unlike Mikey, hate America). I mean, anyone who can float an idea that is asinine provocative enough to make Neocon wargasm-addict Max Boot perk up and take notice should obviously be reflexively taken seriously by all of us on the left who haven’t surrendered to the terrorists (who, btw, hate us for our freedoms, in case you’d forgotten).

h/t dsquared @ Crooked Timber

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