If Angelina can do it…

The last few weeks has been a whirlwind of transition and decisions, I thought it would be wise to capture them in writing.

I have decided to use this blog to document my upcoming trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, October 18-November 4. I will be traveling with 10 other women with the non-profit organization, Christian Peacemaker Teams (www.cpt.org)

The raping of Congolese women has been a key weapon in the war among militias who are seeking control of lucrative mineral resources. The purpose of our trip will be to meet with Congolese women and human rights organizations in Bukavu and Goma to witness the effects of the war and to learn about the West’s role in the conflict. Because the militias are partially funded by other countries and Western corporations, international pressure to stop the war is fundamental. My heart not only resonated with the purpose and vision of this trip, but also ached for the Congolese women who deserve to have their stories heard and documented. The thought of having the privilege to meet these women—these survivors—to listen to their stories first-hand and to bear witness to the real effects of violence in their community; I have never felt so compelled to respond in such a powerful way.

Since hearing about the trip on August 2nd, turning in my application to the organization on August 4th and then finding out I was accepted to join the delegation on August 15th, I have been consumed with educating myself about the history and present situation of conflict in Congo. Not to mention scheduling all the necessary immunizations; 3 in each arm and counting.

What is happening in the Congo?To date, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) estimates that 3.9 million people have died from war-related causes since the conflict in Congo began in 1998, making it the world’s most lethal conflict since World War II.

By conventional measures, that conflict is over. Congo is no longer the playground of foreign armies. The country’s first real election in 40 years is scheduled to take place this summer, and international troops have arrived to keep the peace. But the suffering of Congo’s people continues. Fighting persists in the east, where rebel holdouts loot, rape and murder. The Congolese army, which was meant to be both symbol and protector in the reunited country, has cut its own murderous swath, carrying out executions and razing villages. Even deadlier are the side effects of war, the scars left by years of brutality that disfigure Congo’s society and infrastructure. The country is plagued by bad sanitation, disease, malnutrition and dislocation. Routine and treatable illnesses have become weapons of mass destruction. According to the IRC, which has conducted a series of detailed mortality surveys over the past six years, 1,250 Congolese still die every day because of war-related causes–the vast majority succumbing to diseases and malnutrition that wouldn’t exist in peaceful times. In many respects, the country remains as broken, volatile and dangerous as ever, which is to say, among the very worst places on earth.(Time Magazine, June 06).

To read this article in full, go to: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1198921,00.html

I also found this video diary of Angelina Jolie’s to be fairly informative:



September 7, 2006 at 5:25 am

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