Rape was not a weapon of war in Africa

Publié le par hort

Congo illustrates perfectly the self destruction of a people who adopt alien behavior. Africa, which was a matriarchal society where rape was unheard of, where women and girls were respected, is now a patriarchal society where male aggression predominates. Congo is one of the worst examples of this male aggression. It is urgent that African men reconnect to their past to learn how their ancestors treated their women. THEY DID NOT RAPE THEM, NOT EVEN IN TIMES OF WAR. Hort

http://weekly. ahram.org. eg/2009/953/ in1.htm

Lethal liaisons
By Gamal Nkrumah
June 26, 2009

THE SYSTEMATIC rape of women as a weapon of war in Congo hit the headlines again this week, writes Gamal Nkrumah.

The United Nations Mission to the Congo (MONUC) announced on Monday that a "group of mutinying soldiers raped around 20 female inmates" in Goma's central prison, eastern Congo. The jail breaks highlight the state of lawlessness and political chaos in large swathes of the Democratic Republic of Congo, geographically one of Africa's largest countries. According to Juliana Lumumba, the daughter of the legendary independence leader Patrice Lumumba and secretary-general of the Cairo- based African Union Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Professions, rape in her country is used as a lethal weapon of war no less destructive than the most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction. "Rape is used to destroy an entire society and it is a most potent weapon," Lumumba, a former Congolese minister of culture, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

"Women who are raped are socially ostracised. They are often forcibly evicted from their homes, driven out by their communities and are condemned to live like outcasts and often resort to prostitution for survival, many succumb to a host of venereal diseases such as HIV/AIDS and suffer from traumatic psychological problems," Lumumba noted. "They are often raped in front of their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers. The soldiers who rape them are themselves drug addicts and alcoholics."

Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the mass rape as a moral outrage. "The rape of female prisoners in a government institution is deeply distressing. This is a horrific example of what has been happening across the prison system throughout Congo," Anneke Van Woudenberg, HRW's senior Congo researcher. According to UN estimates, more than 1,000 women and girls are raped a month in eastern Congo. It does not require a numerologist versed in the Kabbalah to decipher the significance of these statistics. One of the results of the war in Congo is the quick enrichment of the warlords many of who also happen to control the fabulous mines of the resource-rich country. Yet, the vast majority of the Congolese people live in abject poverty. It is these disparities that are the real explanation and the real concern of the Congolese people and the international community. The rape of women and girls in Congo is "worse than anywhere else in the world", according to John Holmes, the top UN humanitarian official.

The victims of rape are blamed for their misfortune. This is a question of enforcing the moral order of hegemonic masculinity in a patriarchal society. The rapists revel in their sexual exploits because they hail from the dregs of society -- the marginalised masculinities. These youngsters are a ferocious destructive force that is utilised effectively by the warlords. They yearn to acquire the dubious honour of getting away with transgressing the traditional sexual code of the Congolese people.

Rape is a weapon of intimidation, of demonstrating male dominance in a society where most males are themselves at the mercy of the militia heads. The phenomenon is relatively new, but of course the obsession with power over women is not.

Publié dans War-Racism

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