Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Congo Nightmares

For a few weeks I have been collecting material on the mass rapes in Congo, on the use of war as organized, cold and murderous misogyny, on the scant attention this has received (yes, including from me) and on the best way to address the awful horrors that are taking place there, especially to women.

And during the nights those horrors come back to me, dance their macabre dances in my dreams and make me sit up in bed unable to breathe, internally screaming. I cannot pass that on to you, I cannot. Eve Ensler has written one of the more optimistic articles on the hell that is Congo, one which she begins by stating that she just came back from hell.

So be forewarned, be very forewarned, before you read any of the gruesome descriptions of the lives of the raped women of Congo.

Having said that, I shall now give you a tour of some other pieces which let you learn more about the events there. A useful beginning point is Jeffrey Gettelman's article from last October. From that you can move to reading about Dr. Mukwege's efforts to help the women, about his clinic, and about his trip to the United States to talk about the suffering of Congolese women.

More on the difficulties the survivors have in finding justice can be found in Olivia Ward's recent article. Stephen Lewis gives the United Nations a well-deserved failing grade in how it has addressed this particular case of torture, and Anna Clark explains the difficulties that those face who try to make the rest of the world more informed about the hell that is Congo.

Lisa Jackson's documentary Greatest Silence gives a more visual way of learning about the events:

While my blog also gets a well-deserved failing grade on writing about these issues, many other blogs have addressed them. I find the Diary of An Anxious Black Woman a useful entry point to that discussion.

I hope to write more about the deeper questions that the atrocities in Congo ask all of us, questions that have to do about the causes of the rise in extreme misogyny. But that will be later.