Rape and Rocks in Congo

A domineering bully cruises across the schoolyard as he does every day. Sick and tired of his ostentatious and odious abuses, tadalafil one student takes on the tyrant and throws a handful of gravel at him, oncology completely missing the target but making a symbolic statement. By the end of the school day, salve the defiant little rebel is found in the dumpster with a few broken ribs and blood all over his face.

The bully’s response to the ‘preposterous’ accusation that he beat up the kid? ‘He must have jumped into the dumpster to try hurt himself.’

Such is the believability of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s latest claim that the country’s presidential guard is not responsible for the death of Armand Tungulu Mudiandambu, who was arrested on September 29 for throwing some stones at Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s motorcade.

Witnesses claim that Tungulu was beaten by presidential guards as he was arrested, and three days later the rock thrower was found dead in his jail cell and all witnesses of the rock throwing incident had been arrested.

The response from the esteemed Congolese leadership? Tungulu committed suicide using his pillowcase.

Local human rights activists were surprised to hear there were pillows in Congolese prisons.

While the incident hasn’t gotten much international press coverage, it has sparked a notable revival of activism among pro-democracy Congolese living in exile, with shouts of “Kabilla the Assassin” heard on the streets of London and Brussels.

U.S. officials made a few timid comments about the incident and the UN mission in Congo publicly “reminded” Congo of its “international obligations relating to deprivation of freedom,” calling on the country’s leadership to launch an “impartial and transparent” investigation.

Belgium, where Tungulu held residency status, even demanded that Congo send Tungulu’s remains to Belgium. But given that Belgium is the former colonial power in Congo, that didn’t go over well.

The rock throwing between the Congolese and their former colonizers comes against the backdrop of tension caused by sharp international criticism this month of Congo’s failure to curb mass sexual violence in the country’s eastern provinces.

Sexual violence is used regularly in Congo as a tool of war in what has become the deadliest conflict since WWII.

The UN believes that over 15,000 people were raped in the country last year, mostly by what one UN official described as “men in uniform.”

Indeed, the UN recently had to admit that over 300 civilians were raped in the Waliki region of eastern Congo just 20 miles from a UN base.

On Thursday Margot Wallstrom, director of the UN’s anti-sexual violence efforts, said that UN peacekeepers have reports of mass rapes by government soldiers in the mineral-rich region, explicitly naming the war over natural resources as a “root cause” of sexual violence.

In an odd twist, Congo’s First Lady Olive Lembe Kabila, whose husband controls the army, led thousands of women through the town of Bukavu on Sunday to demand an end to “sexual terrorism.”

The event was organized as the culmination of the World March of Women, a global feminist action which is held every five years.

No one threw rocks at Mz. Kabila.

For those interested in getting involved, there are a number of organizations involved in activism against sexual violence in Eastern Congo, among them the Congolese Women’s Campaign Against Sexual Violence and Women for Women International. The World March of Women is based in Sao Paolo.

Photo credit: UN Photo

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