Blog Archives

Congolese Women Offer Prescriptions for Ending Sexual Violence in Congo

Bibiane Aningina Tshefu, Women’s Coordinator & Adviser, Friends of the Congo and
Kambale Musavuli, Student Coordinator & Spokesperson, Friends of the Congo

During the week of March 1-12, 2010, several women from the D.R. Congo came to New York to participate at the United Nations 54th Commission on the Status of Women. This is a high level annual international Women’s Forum. The Congolese women represented both government and non-government sectors as well as different provinces of their country. They had ample opportunity to raise their concerns to the gathering during assembly, speak to United Nations officials, policy-makers, members of the New York civil society and community, as well as key members of President Obama’s administration.

The women came with a singular focus, to articulate how Congolese women felt the global community could best address the fourteen-year conflict in the D.R. Congo. Wherever the women ventured, whether it was a community forum in Harlem, gathering at local churches, forums at the United Nations or meetings with Obama administration officials, they articulated a consistent and resolute message. Listen to the Congolese for a change: as “we have repeatedly shared with the international community how they can optimally participate in bringing an end to the geo-strategic resource war in the Congo.”

Western based Think Tanks, humanitarian institutions and policy makers often argue that they have tried everything to bring an end to the conflict. However, a cursory look at the policies that have been prescribed or implemented reveals that almost every policy option tried, has avoided core grassroots women recommendations. Policies implemented by the international community are marked by a reluctance to pressure U.S. and British allies Rwanda, led by Paul Kagame and Uganda, headed by Yoweri Museveni. Also, in spite of the myriad United Nations studies, there has been deadly silence around the role of western mining interests in the perpetuation of the conflict.

The Congolese women shared the following prescriptions to bring an end to the conflict:

1. Call for an Inter-Rwandan dialogue between Rwanda’s Tutsi leadership and Hutu rebels inside Congo. There are no military solutions to what is essentially a political crisis.

2. Opening and expansion of democratic space inside both Rwanda and Uganda so their internal conflicts will cease being fought on the bodies of Congolese women.

3. Greater participation in political life and the decision-making process on the part of Congolese women.

4. Redirection of focus on the part of the global community from targeting the symptoms or effects of the conflict to addressing the root causes – primarily a foreign resource war being waged inside Congo to the detriment of innocent civilians.
In the final analysis, Sexual violence is a consequence of war, therefore, in order to end the violence against women, the conflict must end which requires an end to impunity inside the Congo and in the international community’s involvement in the Congo.

Click on below links to read the messages from the women:

Senator Eve Bazaiba Masudi – “The Political Implication of Congolese Women, for Change and the Promotion of Good Governance in the DRC
Mme Annie Matundu Mbambi – “The Role and Involvement of Women in the Congolese Peace Process
Mme Jeanine Gabrielle Ngungu – “The Problematic of Violence Against Women: A Major Challenge in the National Reconstruction Process”
Mme Marie-Claire Faray – “A Message From Congolese Women on the 8th March International Women’s Day

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) message from Congolese women. Video message read by Katherin Machalek, WILPF consultant.

Remember to join Friends of Congo on the Break the Silence Tour. Click here to see tour stops!


OpEd from Alan Hart: Zionism’s Dark Forces Don’t Want the Lights On

By Alan Hart

March 22, 2010 “Information Clearing House” – – At the opening of AIPAC’s annual foreign policy conference its new president, Lee Rosenberg, was not a happy man. As he put it, “In recent days we have witnessed something (the Obama administration’s initial public anger with Netanyahu and his government) very unfortunate.”

The Biden “incident”, Rosenberg said, was “regrettable”, but Netanyahu had apologized “four separate times” and said “the announcement” (of more Jewish construction in occupied Arab East Jerusalem) was “hurtful and should not have been made.” Quite so, Mr. Rosenberg. It would have been much better from Zionism’s point of view if the announcement had not been made and Israel had just got on with the business of de-Arabizing East Jerusalem.

In any relationship even the best of friends were going to disagree, Rosenberg said, but it was “how friends disagree, how they react when missteps occur, that can determine the nature of the relationship.”

Then he made his three key points:

“Number one, the people of Israel and the democratically elected government of Israel passionately believe in peace. And Israel is committed to its alliance with America.

“Number two, the United States and Israel both have a responsibility to work with one another and achieve that peace. That is what allies do.

“And three, allies should work out their differences privately.”

That brought AIPAC’s new president one of three standing ovations.

Why should disagreements between American administrations and Israeli governments be kept from the public?

Rosenberg’s answer was: “History shows that when America pressures Israel publicly, it provides an opportunity for those who wish to derail the peace process to have their way.”

Ah, so it’s not Israel that is making peace impossible?

Rosenberg could not have been more explicit with AIPAC’s take on that aspect of the matter.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let us be clear, the reluctant partner in this peace process is not Israel’s elected leader Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Another standing ovation).

“The recalcitrant partner is the Palestinians and their leader – President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The Palestinians are bitterly divided between Hamas and Fatah – that is a problem. The failure of President Abbas to end his nay-saying and come to the table for direct talks which Prime Minister Netanyahu has been committed to from the start – that is a problem. The failure of the Arab world to begin normalizing its relationships with Israel – that is a problem.

“Israel is not the problem. Israel is America’s partner. (The third standing ovation).

When I was a child my father often said to me, “Boy, there are none so blind as those who don’t want to see.”

But blind though AIPAC is for that reason, it’s not completely out of touch with reality. It knows that the more Zionism’s on-going colonisation is exposed to the light, the more the world understands that Israel is the obstacle to peace. (The world now includes some of the U.S.’s top military men who are going on the public record with their view that support for Israel right or wrong is not in the best interests of America).

If you are a Zionist, the case for keeping the lights off is a very strong one.

At the time of writing, I’m waiting, as no doubt many others are, to see if President Obama returns to his surrender mode when he meets with Netanyahu tomorrow.

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years.

Request for Joining in Cooperation and Rejecting Tribalism

February 3 at 3:56pm

SOSA Sudanese Artists

From Doum Benjamin.

To members of SOSA-Southern Sudanese Artists (join us on Facebook at

Dear brothers and sisters,

Please lets join our hands together and help put an end to tribalism in our Nation. It is an issue that is destroying our Families, Communities, and Nation. Everyday we pick on one another, kill one another, and gossip about one another. How long must this HATE continue amongst us? Well for me, i say enough is enough! We are the future generation of our Nation.

Whether you are Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Azande, Jurchol, Acholi, or Mundari ; Its time to unite and put an end to this disease. We must be the change we wish to see in our Country. Lets be IMPECCABLE With our Words and Actions. Lets Speak with INTEGRITY. Lets say only what we MEAN, and avoid using the words to speak AGAINST our own kind or to GOSSIP about our other brothers and sisters. Most of all, lets put our DIFFERENCES aside, and start to share our COMMON grounds “Music, Art, and Culture”. By doing so, i strongly believe we can help build a STRONG, UNITED, SOUTH SUDAN.

Please help me keep this movement going. Post it on your wall, share it with your friends and families. 2010, its time to CHANGE!

Yaba Angelosi
Doum Benjamin

Protesters Gunned Down In Southern Afghanistan

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Several people were shot dead and more than a dozen injured on Tuesday during an anti-NATO demonstration in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province, local media said.

Hundreds of Afghans took part in the demonstration, which had to be dispersed by police and the military. They were protesting against the killings of civilians by NATO troops and demanding their withdrawal from the country.

The demonstration followed a recent NATO airstrike in the town of Garmsir. The military said several militants were killed as a result of the attack, but the protesters claimed there were also victims among civilians.

The shooting reportedly broke out on Tuesday when the demonstrators started to throw stones at Afghan police and foreign officers, who arrived at the site to calm down the protesters.

“I confirm that the demonstration in Garmsir took place, and that it was dispersed,” said Helmand governor’s press secretary Daud Ahmadi.

He said “no one could say for certain who fired at demonstrators – foreign servicemen, [Afghan] police or militants.” However, he added, “it is known for sure that there were armed men among the protesters,” and pledged to investigate the incident.

Demonstrations against NATO’s presence in Afghanistan are common. In late December, hundreds of students in the country’s eastern Nangarhar province blocked a major highway linking the Afghan east with country’s central provinces.

Violence surged in the country in 2009, with the radical Islamic Taliban group staging regular attacks on provincial government officials, police and civilians and planting roadside devices as part of its fight against U.S. and NATO troops.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and a separate U.S.-led coalition, involved in Operation Enduring Freedom, have more than 110,000 troops in Afghanistan.

In early December, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a televised address to the nation that the U.S. would send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in the first part of 2010 to defeat the Taliban and establish law and order.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen then said alliance members were ready to send 7,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Source: RIA Novosti