Even while talking publicly about the need for progressing towards “disciplined democracy,” the Burma Army and their henchmen continue the campaign against the ethnic nationalities–10,000 Shan (click here) have been displaced since July 27. and a buildup against the Karen in the Three Pagoda Pass area (click here) is also in process. On the public side, Than Shwe cuts the unearned sentence of the illegally held Aung San Suu Kyi from three years to 18 months (still keeping her out of the way for next year’s rigged elections), and the UN makes noises about the unfairness of it all. Asean delivers mild rebukes. On the private side, gang rape, murder, forced displacement, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity continue unabated.
How many deaths does it take til we know that too many people have died? (Bob Dylan)
For more info from the Shan Women’s Action Network, click here.
How do you bring about regime change if the regime has no interest in changing?
In the opinion piece published in the New York Times today, Laura Bush speaks out comparing the situation in Iran and Burma.
Nikolas Kristof writes about ending the silence associated with talking about sexual violence. A report this week from Free Burma Rangers breaks the silence on the recent gang rape of a 12 year old girl in Shan State, Burma–part of the continuing crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing being carried out by the Burma Army.
Rape is one of the oldest weapons used to terrorize women and children and whole communities. A google search on “rape, why women stay silent” turned up this article about women in DR Congo.
Last year, the UN recognized rape as a weapon of war-something victims have recognized for centuries (see article from Human Rights Watch). It’s almost exactly a year later….has anything changed? More words from the UN-good words, but, maybe I haven’t looked hard enough to find it, but have any of the regimes using this weapon been made accountable for their actions/inactions? Are they being prosecuted? Is it being stopped? How do we make it stop being OK to rape?
Responding to rape in Congo….. this five minute video clip shows how women are helping each other. Another video clip by CNN, tells more.
Heal Africa is working to help rebuild lives and communities. Harper McConnell, US Development Director of Heal Africa, has written a three part series on the response to rape in DR Congo. (click here)
Article on response to rape in Chin area of Burma…(click here)
For any man, woman, husband, wife, teenager, sister, parent, brother, teacher, pastor, friend….please click on the link here to the instructive but tough read on what the writer calls “Not Rape“. Unfortunately, this experience is too common, too untouchable, and too often, those who experience it are blamed for causing it and have nowhere to go. It’s not written as guy bashing, but as someone’s story, and worth acknowledging. It happens to people of faith as well as those who claim no faith. It’s a human thing gone wrong. The gift of sexuality misused….abuse of power….
A google search of “crisis in Congo” returned 2,120,000 hits. It’s not like the world doesn’t know there’s a problem, a big problem. Harper McConnell, of Heal Africa, explained that while many international organizations have pulled out of Congo, they are still working in the midst of the conflict. Their web site tells of the ongoing life changing and life saving work they do.
Several ACTION STEPS that we can take are listed on their web site, along with the following explanation: “Through much of the media, the unrest is presented as a tribal conflict, but it is a conflict rooted in control for resources. Resources such as coltan (in latops and cell phones), diamonds, gold, tantalum, minerals which drive the global economy. It is the people of DR Congo who are suffering for the extraction of these minerals which are sold to multinational companies. Write your senator using this letter to tell them to support Senate Bill 3058 and enforce multinationals to follow strict extraction and purchasing guidelines. ” (There’s also a link to a letter to write to companies using coltan to check their sources, a link to a petition to print out and gather signatures on, and a donation link).
The video linked here shows another report done by the Pulitzer Center on Coltan and the Congo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OWj1ZGn4uM