"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)



"An 11-month-old baby girl has died in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo a day after she was raped, the UN says. The alleged rapist, a man aged 20, has been detained by Congolese police about 140km west of Goma. He faces a life sentence." - BBC

I wish I could tell you that we don't hear stories like this all the time.

The fact is, they're all too commonplace in Goma.

As is not the case with the vast majority of rapes committed in the eastern DRC, however, this guy has at least been caught and will be brought to something resembling justice for his alleged crime.

What has to happen to a society for someone to decide to rape an 11-month-old baby? Or a 6-year-old girl? Or a 90-year-old widow?

Sometimes I just don't have any more words.

You can donate to Heal Africa, a Goma hospital working to help rape victims rebuild their bodies and their lives, here.


Anonymous traveller said...

I travel often to Africa and have for some 25 years. In many ways Africa is worse than it was at the beginning of my travels, though there has been progress in some areas.

While I love the people and the culture, there is so much sorrow and grief I experience because of the poverty, violence, and oppression still there. As you have stated, there is no doubt it is a legacy of colonial rule as well as from the Cold War. However, with some very limited exceptions there have been no African leaders who care for their own people by moving beyond tribal and family loyalties. It is convenient to blame colonial influences when what is required are people who will take Africa beyond those influences and those of narrow interests to the interests of their entire country and continent. Until this happens there is little room for progress. Thus, the ordinary African suffers under systems and leaders who really do not care for their own people.

While I act wherever it is possible, while in Africa and at home, to assist in change I have only a glimmer of hope for Africa in the near term.

My heart breaks for those caught in the unnecessary conflict around Goma. Thank you for keeping this in our focused attention. For the governments and people of Europe and the USA pay far too little attention to these sad events in Africa. We shoud do more to resolve the underlying causes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007 12:09:00 PM


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