Article Analysis: Savage Rapes Stoke Trauma of Congo War

October 7, 2007

Hazel Thompson for The New York TimesThe people of Congo have never really witnessed peace in their nation. Victimized by the colonists, rebel militias, and self serving leaders, the Congolese accept their life is destined for endless sufferings.

Too consumed with the American and Pakistani elections, globalization, and Iraq War news that I had forgotten there are mass genocides going on in the African continent.

So when I read today’s article on the Times, “Savage Rapes Stoke Trauma of Congo War,” I was broken down to tears.

Eastern Congo is going through another one of its convulsions of violence, and this time it seems that women are being systematically attacked on a scale never before seen here. According to the United Nations, 27,000 sexual assaults were reported in 2006 in South Kivu Province alone, and that may be just a fraction of the total number across the country.

There certainly are theories as to who, and what, could be responsible for one of the most heinous crime on this planet. But fingers are being pointed at all directions. Certainly, the Hutu Militia and it’s alumnus, the Rastas.

The Rastas, a mysterious gang of dreadlocked fugitives who live deep in the forest, wear shiny tracksuits and Los Angeles Lakers jerseys and are notorious for burning babies, kidnapping women and literally chopping up anybody who gets in their way.

One scholar suggests that violence against women has now become the people’s culture.

…the number of women abused and even killed by their husbands seemed to be going up and that brutality toward women had become “almost normal.”

And last but not least, the offenders are, too, the government troops.

Willermine Mulihano said she was raped twice — first by Hutu militiamen two years ago and then by [Laurent] Nkunda soldiers in July. Two soldiers held her legs apart, while three others took turns violating her.

Some agree, some disagree, on identifying the culprit. But none seem to offer any apparent solution. Not even the United Nations.

The attacks go on despite the presence of the largest United Nations peacekeeping force in the world, with more than 17,000 troops.

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