Sunday, April 13

Let's End Mass Rape & Mutilation In The Congo!

Arlene Fenton, a.k.a. "shecodes," of Black Women Vote, has started an April 13 blogswarm against mass rape and mutilation in the Congo. This is my participation (part 1 of 2).

I have a lofty aim with this post. I want all the blogswarmers to see my opinion, and I hope to change every single blogswarmer's discourse about mass rape and mutilation in the Congo.


You see, all those armies whose soldiers are raping and mutilating women have a goal, and it ain't hurting women.

Rape & mutilation of women are one of the ways those armies' commanders order their soldiers to terrorize populations.

And the reason those armies are trying to terrorize populations is because their commanders are getting paid by Westerners to depopulate (or at least demoralize the populations of) areas with minerals prized by the West.


I believe that we must get this assertion commonly accepted--at least within the blogosphere--if we're going to have any effectiveness reducing mass rape and mutilation in the Eastern Congo.

(Read The Rest of This Post.)

To introduce everyone to this concept, I'd like to highlight parts of Keith Harmon Snow's late 2007 article, "Three Cheers for Eve Ensler?"

It's not a perfect article--Snow made some tenuous connections about certain people's business activities and left it to the reader to continue the research and decide if people were innocent or guilty. But nevertheless, I owe everything about this thesis to his clear points.

Some mainstream media has been drawing attention to sexual violence against women in the East Congo lately. Eve Ensler. Glamour Magazine. Now the HBO documentary The Greatest Silence. But Snow believes that these stories are being allowed to proliferate so that better-researched stories--the ones that point to orders coming from Western, White, rich wrongdoers--won't be audible.

Not that it even takes much conspiring by media bosses, he points out. It doesn't always take conscious selection by editors to exclude stuff like Snow's work and include stuff like Ensler's work. It can happen subconsciously, too, since Ensler's work reminds people of the "hopeless African condition [of violence]" they've associated with Africa all their lives, whereas Snow's work reminds them of...well...nothing familiar.
(By the way, Snow does not name himself as someone excluded. That is my choice of an example. And he names many more voices included in media attention--referring only to Ensler is my shorthand.)

Snow wrote the following:

According to [the mainstream descriptions...African men]...are universally castigated for "rape as sport," no matter that...armed forces backed, armed, and licensed by the West to commit massive sexual atrocities...are paid in kind for services provided to maintain and insure natural resource plunder and the acquisition and control of vast tracts of Congolese territory.

From researching with Google--I'm sorry to say that I've forgotten all my sources, but an interview of Paul Ruseabagina by Snow is one--it sounds like the way things work is similar to theories I've heard about when it comes to Darfur.
(Sadly, I can't find any links, but somewhere a year or two ago, I read that the Janjaweed and others aren't settling the areas they're depopulating, which is highly unusual for a bunch of poor, rag-tag folks who could really use free land. In other words, they're getting orders not to settle the land themselves. Which means someone with power wants the land completely empty. From there, the likely guess is "mining or oil," since that's the kind of use for empty land that's easier to get access to when no one lives there.)

The multinationals don't want normal "daily life" activity going on on land with minerals under it.

So they get militias to "protect" said land.

And they know damned well that the only way that a militia can "protect" land from being lived on and used in normal "local" ways is to terrorize the locals into
  1. leaving or
  2. feeling too scared to demand that they get to use their ancestral land for normal stuff again.
But they give the orders to "protect" it for mining/drilling/etc. anyway.

Of course, they don't bother to pay the militias full wages. Just the commanders.

So terrorization of local populations happens for 2 reasons.
  1. The commanders deliberately order soldiers to do it as part of demoralizing the population or getting them to pack up and leave. (Mentioned by Snow in "Three Cheers.")
  2. The commanders don't necessarily order soldiers to terrorize people, but they do order soldiers to stay in the army or get shot...and to fend for themselves as far as pay for service is concerned out of whatever and whomever they find in the area. (Mentioned by Ruseabagina in the interview with Snow.)

Back to the mainstream media narrative.

Ensler, according to Snow, declared that "'we don't know who' is involved behind or beside" the militias actually committing the rape.

Snow contests that we have a pretty damned good start. He asks:
How does a company of white executives...from Canada gain control of such vast concessions? Through bloodshed and depopulation with black people pulling the triggers.
Snow named a few names, which I will summarize in my next post. If we Westerners would do the investigations where we ought to--into the heads of White/Western-benefitting, rich corporations--we'd know even more names.

5 comments:

SheCodes said...

Hi, I just wanted to clarify that I am not the source of the blogswarm, it was actually started by Danielle from http://www.modernmusings.com/ .

Thank you so much for helping us raise awareness!

Katie said...

Thank you, Ms. Fenton!

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