LOUIS ABELMAN

Australian Advocacy

without comments

I spotted my hosts in the Congo, Lyn and Jo Lusi, in an article from Australia where they are trying to drum up support for their efforts in Goma. It requires registration, unfortunately, so I’ll block quote it at the end of this post.

There were a couple of interesting articles lately, courtesy of my home-town paper and its subsidiary, the International Herald Tribune.

UN Troops Get Tough, by Marc Lacey (my hero)

and

In Congo, Lives Too Wretched to Merit Aid, by Helene Cooper, the assistant Editorial page editor at the Times, who was my boss for a while. She’s a tough cookie.

Sometimes I wish I was back there, reporting. Maybe someday soon. It certainly seems that the story isn’t going away any time soon.

Keep checking here, for soon I will put up a link to the trailer for “Heal My People,” the documentary about rape and recovery in eastern Congo that we have been making.

Eyes shut to chaos in Congo, says doctor

By Louise Williams [Sydney Morning Herald]
A humanitarian crisis 10 times the extent of the Boxing Day tsunami is
virtually going ignored in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where militia gangs
are stripping natural resources and slaughtering and mutilating villagers,
according to Congolese doctor Jo Lusi.
In the latest attack, militia fighters hacked 18 people to death and kidnapped another 50 in the eastern region on Tuesday.
The deadliest conflict since World War II has already cost 4 million
lives. The UN’s largest peacekeeping force has secured urban areas, but bands of
gunmen, former soldiers and militia fighters roam much of the countryside. “We
are in chaos,” said Dr Lusi who is in Sydney to raise awareness of the
crisis.
An orthopedic surgeon working with the medical aid agency, Doctors on
Call for Service, and a member of the interim government, Dr Lusi said some
militia gangs, run by warlords who controlled mining, timber, gold and oil, were
backed by factions in neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda. The gangs were responsible
for looting crops, the murder and mutilation of villagers and the sexual torture
and gang rape of women and young girls.
There is only one doctor per 100,000 people in conflict zones.
Dr Lusi said international efforts to stabilise Rwanda were coming at a dire cost to the Congolese because Rwanda’s problems were being pushed over the border.
“We regret the genocide in Rwanda, but the international community has responded there. No one is responding to the genocide in Congo,” he said. “The disaster in Congo is 10 tsunamis. I want to challenge the international community: if you can respond to the tsunami
suffering, why not Congo? It is just a matter of using the normal channels.
Where is the IMF? Where are the UN officials? Things are happening that are
so terrible we can’t even talk about them; women are being vilified.”
Dr Lusi’s wife, Lyn, who works with victims of sexual violence, said crops were
routinely looted, so malnutrition was rife in one of the most fertile areas of
the world.
Dr Lusi said national elections, which were likely to be postponed
because of the violence in the nation of 60 million, would achieve nothing
without an internationally backed nation-building effort.

Written by louis

May 25th, 2005 at 10:17 pm

Posted in Blog

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