Wednesday, June 22, 2005

We're not kidding

Every day, I see something that validates this quest to make a film about rape in east Congo. Of course I would have preferred to focus on another topic, I'll admit-- the subject is relentlessly unpleasant, and there are many fascinating stories to tell about the region... you could choose not to focus on the horrors in Africa that are all most outsiders hear about.

But we really had no choice. The problem is so bad-- to talk about anything else would be like ignoring a raging city fire to talk about the architecture.

In this Times article from the U.N., I'm wondering if the North Kivu rights organization mentioned is DOCS, or the Pole institute. A shame it wasn't attributed. But to get a sense of the magnitude of the trauma in Goma and its environs: North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a local rights organization
reported more than 2,000 cases of "gender based" violence in April alone. United
Nations officials determined that 50 percent of the victims were minors and that
the number of rape victims in the region was more than 25,000 for the year.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

St. Nicholas

The team interviewed Nick Kristof, the Times columnist, for the film yesterday. We showed him our trailer and he talked very movingly of the plight of young women in Africa, from his experiences in Darfur and Ethiopia. He's been writing great columns lately about the plague of obstetric fistula in the developing world, and we thought it was a good time to talk to him. Here's his latest column about the fistula hospital in Addis, with a great multimedia feature on the sidebar. Kristof's weblog has more fistula related links.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

A call, a call goes out....

...for a translator with knowledge of French, kiswahili, kinyarwanda, kihunde, and English! Anyone from the territory of Masisi in North Kivu is especially desired.

Well, since I'm not sure whether posting here will turn up a candidate, I want to say thank you, to the nation of Congo and the people there who taught me so much. Please come here and tranlsate my film for me, please.

Asante sana.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Policing Policemen

The U.N. Security Council has gotten around to addressing the criminal misconduct of peacekeepers in the Congo (Reuters) . I'd say it's likely that, as reported in the Guardian, more stories will be coming out as the green light is given to member countries to bring forth their guilty. It took too long, but at least they've admitted their mistakes. Recall that peacekeepers are composed of military contingents from member states, not a constant central U.N. force, and that responsibility for troops' actions lies with national commanders.

I'd like to see the U.S. executive take such a salutary approach--i.e., admitting to wrongs and working to correct them-- to the practice of deadly interrogation and detention techniques, taking the lead of the U.S. military and Amnesty International. After all, Congress spent $70 million investigating Whitewater, more than 9/11 Intelligence, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo combined.

I can hear the grinding of Cheney's snaggleteeth.

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