Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reports that don't often make it to the surface

A friend sent me this paragraph from an internal UN agency report this week.
On 26 January XXXXX received reports that twenty seven women in Kasakwa (29 km southwest of Fizi) claimed to have been raped and looted by FDLR/FOCA on their way back from Milimba market (37 km southwest of Fizi) on 21 January. XXXXX. Meanwhile, the Cmdr of the 4211 FARDC Bn informed PakBatt-3 EWC TOB Lulimba (south of Fizi) on 26 January, that an FARDC Corporal from the   4211 Bn FARDC temporarily attached to the HQ 421 Bde FARDC located at Misisi, raped his own eight year old daughter. The perpetrator is allegedly on the run but is being pursued by the FARDC to face the law.
 Unconfirmed reports, but disheartening nonetheless.


Anonymous said...

An army commander raped his own daughter?

Wow. How many different ways can one deny their humanity- and clearly those of others- in a day?

I continue to pray God delivers the people of this region from the grips of these demons.


Jason Stearns said...

Jut after I posted this, a bunch of news agencies reported on this, suggesting it is worse than I thought. I'll try to get more information.

Anonymous said...

Impunity reigns in the DRC and there is little indication of change...when even a report on the scale of the UN Mapping report is published on every conceivable media and produces zero reaction from the International Community other than paying lip-service...
With a government that cares little about its'own public opinion, what pressure could push it to end the reign of impunity? So far they feel that they are above the law no matter how grave or shocking their abuses are (a thought for Floribert Chebeya and countless others here).
The International Community which supports these regimes is as out of touch with the frusterations of the African people as they are with the frusterations of the Arab people.

Anonymous said...

The Tunisians and the Egyptians have decided to, collectively, confront the fear of death and violently confront their corrupt and tyrannical regimes.

It is time for the Congolese to do the same and to hell with what the "international community" (whatever that is) feels.

We all just saw the President of the United States, entirely aware of what chaos could do to America's interests in the region if it reins in Egypt, openly support the protesters.

I believe America's half African President, of which a law related to the Congo bears his name, would be more the willing to support a similar effort in the Congo.

Sure, Americans don't really have any interests in the Congo, nor is their the tools of the internet and cell phones to entice to hit the streets, and a broad scale uprising in the Congo could severely destabilize it and the region.

But the Congolese do have institutions they trust- namely their religious institutions- and from reports I have seen and heard among its leaders sermons of late have increasingly called on the Congolese to "confront their fears" with references to the events in Tunis and Cairo as context.

I realize several folks on this blog believe the Opposition will ride in and save the nation and that the Congolese should begin to actually use their weak democracy.

I do not have faith in either the opposition or the Congo's democracy and I am fairly certain neither do the Congolese.

Thus, I strongly believe those of good will should encourage this growing sense among the Congolese that they must take matters into their own hands. Non-violently would be, ofcourse, preferable but violence has its place.

Kabila and his kleptocratic, incompetent, and parasitic elite doesn't have enough soldiers, jails, or bullets to stop a widespread revolt.

"What pressure could put it to end the reign of impunity?

Simple, a grassroots rebellion to end the "reign" itself.

If others have a better idea, I would love to here it though I often get the feeling this blog is less about solutions and strategies to ensure those solutions see the light of day and more about relaying information.

It is time to act, friends.


Anonymous said...

The last time Congolese people did take to the streets on a larger scale in protest of abuse of power was immediately following the 2006 election fraud in Bas-Congo and...the current regime sent in military troops in police uniform who carried out large-scale massacres of men, women, children, even those seeking refuge in churches massacring hundreds or thousands of civilians (depending on whose count) and this happened not once but twice. Since then there has not been any protests organised on such a large scale. In the five years that have passed there have been many cases of individual Congolese very courageously standing up for human rights and denouncing abuse of power be they human rights activists, journalists, opposition politicians, civil society. Indeed there is so little political space that many are looking towards the upcoming elections as a window, if you will, that will allow individual efforts to join forces within the context of elections. As for the regime's democratic credentials &/or repressive apparatus, recent events related to suppression of political opposition in the run-up to elections leaves little doubt as to the course the regime will take. Events in Tunisia & Egypt indeed inspire all concerned with democratisation and rule of law across Africa, but we have yet to see a large-scale movement of this sort in any African country. Will it come? Maybe. Will it happen in DRC? And peacefully without massacres? President Sarkozy, who was taken totally by surprise by events in Tunisia, has called upon African leaders at the ongoing African Union summit to "learn the lessons" of Tunisia & Egypt : will those lessons be learned? Again, maybe, but so far not a single African government has announced sweeping reforms since Tunis and Cairo events, including the DRC. Not a single one.
The facts are sobering. The hope remains.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Massive.

I am aware the the abuses in the Congo from the fall of Mobuto to this very day. I have read every HRW report and, as I have stated, visited the country every year for the last 15. I was actually in the Congo when Christians were massacred in protest after the Sovereign Conference.

One of them was a dear friend and, at this point, I've lost 13 in the Congo for their political activity.

Everything you stated and what I have seen and every word of any HRW report remains embargoed- just like the mapping report.

To put this bluntly: no one knows what the hell is going on in the Congo, MassiveJean!


Thus, a coordinated rebellion throughout the nation- not just Kinshasa- that people throughout the world SEE WITH THEIR OWN EYES will have an effect not only on the Congolese but the world community at large.

It is not true that Africans have not launched peaceful movements to change their governments. Liberia has the President it now has as a result of one (and, in many respects, Charles Taylor makes Kabila look like an angel of God). It IS true that sporadic efforts have occurred in the Congo but those efforts were indeed sporadic and hence it shouldn't be surprising they did not work.

So, I will just repeat, if we want to see real change in the DRC then it is time for a people's rebellion. Peaceful would be preferred, but violent may be necessary to help remove the sense of fear that hangs over the conscious of the Congolese. The revolutionary spirit is rising among them. I sensed this powerfully in my last visit (last summer for 3 months in every part of the nation). At some point it will all come to a head.

It is time to bring Africa's independence movement to conclusion.


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