Mar 23, 2010

Women in the World

On March 12 – 14, the Daily Beast sponsored the “Women in the World” event in NYC. Among some of its attendees were Jordan’s Queen Rania, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Dambisa Moyo (quite possibly Zambia’s most famous person in the world today), Sheryl WuDunn (co-author of Half the Sky) to mention but a few. It was billed as “an extraordinary three-day event at which some of the most powerful women on the planet met to discuss global challenges and propose solutions”.

The most heart wrenching clip to watch from this event was the panel discussion led by Christiane Amanpour on Rape as a Weapon of War. Women and girls are not just killed, they are raped, sexually attacked, mutilated and humiliated in Eastern Congo in this meaningless war! As easy as it is to despair at the sheer desperation that comes from hearing about children as young as 4 and 5 years old getting gang raped, inaction is unacceptable!

I agree with the sentiments of Annie Rashidi-Mulumba and Leymah Gbowee, pressure needs to be put on the government of the Congo not just by grassroots movements and international NGOs but also by the International community. This is not just a women's issue; this is a human rights issue.

I understand that a lot of Americans are weary from their country’s involvement in various foreign issues, and argue that there are domestic issues such as healthcare reform and unemployment to deal with first. And this is why I believe it would be a golden opportunity for the African Union to show some backbone by showing a united front, and condemning these acts of brutality and demanding action by the Congolese government. Let’s take a lead for once in issues that affect our continent and our people!

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