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Wednesday
Sep292010

The Future (and present) for Black Women and Girls – “All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage”

Can we all pause for a moment and turn our gazes away from Bishop Eddie Long and his spiritually immature congregation to focus on another issue that Black women should be paying attention to, and that's what's happening to Black women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I read this article  Called Africa's Forever Wars from  Financial Times a while ago and IT. BLEW. MY MIND and I just had to share it with y'all.   It got put in the lineup and I never got around to posting it. Then I read about a series of mass rapes occurring repeatedly in the Democratic Republic of Congo that brought the matter up again.

A lot of times,  we like to  come up with "reasons" why people do what they do. In some cases there is no reason other than the CAN do it and get away with it. This is what happens when there is no strong voice or power to enforce basic fundamental human decency. This is what happens where institutions collapse and are guided by no morals. 

For those of you waiting to the day when common sense descends form the sky and folks "get right," you migth be waiting a while.  You assume that people are motivated by goodness and light when in fact they may merely be motivated to stop doing something because there is someone bigger, stronger and more powerfult o keep them from acting with impunity. This author is speaking about what appear to be never ending wars in Africa which have been especially brutal on Black women and children

There is a very simple reason why some of Africa's bloodiest, most brutal wars never seem to end: They are not really wars. Not in the traditional sense, at least. The combatants don't have much of an ideology; they don't have clear goals. They couldn't care less about taking over capitals or major cities -- in fact, they prefer the deep bush, where it is far easier to commit crimes. Today's rebels seem especially uninterested in winning converts, content instead to steal other people's children, stick Kalashnikovs or axes in their hands, and make them do the killing. Look closely at some of the continent's most intractable conflicts, from the rebel-laden creeks of the Niger Delta to the inferno in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and this is what you will find.

What we are seeing is the decline of the classic African liberation movement and the proliferation of something else -- something wilder, messier, more violent, and harder to wrap our heads around. If you'd like to call this war, fine. But what is spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic is actually just opportunistic, heavily armed banditry. ...

I've witnessed up close -- often way too close -- how combat has morphed from soldier vs. soldier (now a rarity in Africa) to soldier vs. civilian. Most of today's African fighters are not rebels with a cause; they're predators. That's why we see stunning atrocities like eastern Congo's rape epidemic, where armed groups in recent years have sexually assaulted hundreds of thousands of women, often so sadistically that the victims are left incontinent for life. What is the military or political objective of ramming an assault rifle inside a woman and pulling the trigger? Terror has become an end, not just a means. Financial Times

Sometimes people hurt people because they like hurting other people.  Things have not improved since I read this article, if anything things are getting worse and the world is standing by and doing nothing about it.

At least 303 civilians were raped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a series of attacks in July and August, a 25 percent increase over an earlier estimate, the United Nations said.

“The total number of victims may well be higher,” the UN Joint Human Rights Office in Congo said in an e-mailed statement from the capital, Kinshasa, today, after publishing a preliminary report on rebel attacks on 13 villages in North Kivu province’s Walikale territory from July 30 to Aug. 2. Ongoing insecurity in the region prevented investigators from completing their work, the statement said.

The targeted nature of the attacks was “horrifying,” even for eastern Congo, where armed groups and some elements of the Congolese army have used rape as a military tactic since conflict first broke out there in the mid-1990s, the UN said. Bloomberg.

Behold the present and the future for Black women and girls in this country.  I say that because we are watchign entire swaths of the black middle class being wiped out and many areas are already bordering on Anarchy. When we see places like Dunbar Village, Rowan Towers or yes, certain sections of large cities like Chicago where people are killing with impunity, I think you can see many similarities with the decline of civil order that preceded theses mass human rights violations.We assume there is a solution to every problem and that everyone can be rescued. Sometimes... they can't

 

Even if you could coax these men out of their jungle lairs and get them to the negotiating table, there is very little to offer them. They don't want ministries or tracts of land to govern. Their armies are often traumatized children, with experience and skills (if you can call them that) totally unsuited for civilian life. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage. And they've already got all three. How do you negotiate with that? The short answer is you don't. The only way to stop today's rebels for real is to capture or kill their leaders. Foreign Policy


I needed to read this for some reason, I'll figure it out later.  For those Black women bargaining with your abuses and exploiters, there is no negotiation. You can't reason with them. There isn't going to be some government program or massive expenditure of community resources that can "save" these folks. Sometimes the only way to combat this type of lawlessness and predatory behavior is to be stronger and more powerful. It's just like somethign out of a science fiction novel, except its real.

You should read the entire Financial Times article, its chilling.

Actor Ben Affleck has an group working specifically with Eastern Congo. In additino, Women for Women - has initiatives supporting women in the D.R.C.

Reader Comments (29)

I went and read the entire Financial Post article -- very scary depiction of what many countries in Africa are like today. How long will they blame White colonialists for their current problems?

And no, I don't believe that Black American women will tolerate the type of abuse that is rife in Africa.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Kayden

This is what happens when you don't deal effectively with the seeds of destructive behavior. It grows into something too big to control. Every time people make excuses for black criminality in America you inch closer and closer to this. I guess we should be glad for the staying hand of the police. What will happen when it's withdrawn?

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertrish

http://roslynholcomb.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/free-lesson-20-reasons-dont-matter/

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

For some reason, my earliest draft ended up posting. This is a more updated version.

@Patricia I wish I had the same confidence you did. When I think of stories like the case of that 11 year old girl in Milwaukee when the neighborhood women blamed her for being raped by 20 men and boys and then one of the prosecutors was shocked that many of the relatives of the accused said that these types of assaults were quite common, I don't know.

September 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

It's crazy.
I read several accounts of child soldiers and actually picked up Ismael beah's book on it. Yes, it is crazy because they are not driven by ideology and they usually attack unarmed villages killing everything in site.

and you are right, there seems to be no possible solution to all this.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Tres OMi

Blog mama, we cannot underestimate this piece; it also serves to explain other manifestations of "war" against our sisters and our children, i.e., the sense of entitlement that causes some men to rob, harass, kill, rape or otherwise make life miserable for women and children and our community in general. More recent examples we have are Bishop Eddie Wrong (and the negro preachers who supported him Tuesday night, with none of them praying for the young accusers), all the COGIC preachers, young and old, across the country now facing rape and/or harassment charges (the same denomination that does not ordain women to preach the gospel) and many others.

This sense of entitlement is also seen in how some countries treat each other, i.e., the current illegal and immoral U.S. war against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc. "I do this because I can, because I have the most, the best weapons and no one is strong enough to stop me" etc. The brutal, ruthless, narcissitic (sp?) sense of entitlement is something we should all study more closely. :(

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrevmamaafrika

Look there is NO scenario where women and CHILDREN are more powerful then predatory men and boys. Period.

In most of the countries where these sort of atrocities happen there is no strong central government if their is one at all. Goverment has some very basic functions create and enforce the laws - provide (allow folk the ability to provide for themselves) basics like food shelter and clothing - if the government is remiss in any of this - people will work it our for themselves.

It's not really any more complicated or deep than that. All communities with high levels of unmarried/unemployed males devolve into anarchy. Violence ensues and the weakest - women and children - suffer the most.

Through the shady shenanigans of the financial elite we are wiping out the middle class and the little bit of a safety net we have. In a lot of major cities whole areas have been war zones for decades and no on gave a damn bc those areas were made up of "those people" - Now all of a sudden people in Chicago care 'cause that violence is spilling out on the streets and folk are shooting at cops like it ain't nothing.

You say it's coming - it's already here - and has been here - it's just starting to affect the mainstream now so folk want to wring their hands about it. Too late. That cat is out of the bag.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Wow."The longer these areas are stateless, the harder it is to go back to the necessary evil of government." I think of all of the inner city areas being run by 'fatherless boys' and I see our future. They won't listen to women, and decent men are not around to train them.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTraci

@ JJ, I agree with you on this, but we have too many people, women and men, who enabler the troublemakers in our community, in the name of "Black solidarity", "unity", etc. I'm all for that and I truly love my African peeps, but if I know or suspect my son, daughter, close friend, relative, etc., is into shaky stuff, carrying a gun, using drugs, "puffing every now and then", OR any other kind of foolishness, etc., I will tell them only one time, "change NOW or don't come back around!" PERIOD!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrevmamaafrika

I wrote a post about what's going on in the DRC. The rapes have actually been going on for years. And to make it even worse the UN had peace keepers in that very area where the mass rapes took place this past summer.

One of the reasons this continues is lack of media attention. If 200 plus White women were raped over a few days it would be the lead story on the MSM for days, weeks ,months on end. But when it's Black women and girls there is barely a peep.

At the core of this is ethnic cleansing. That's going on all over the African continent. When Europeans left Africa they created countries with no regard for the ethnic make-up of the populations. The same happened in South Asia with India and Pakistan.

But whatever the root causes there needs to be not only an awareness about what is going on but there also needs to be an intervention. Unfortunately the world doesn't mind intervening militarily when it's totally unnecessary but when there is an actual need for military intervention no one has the will.

Thanks for writing about this, Gina.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVal

I agree with almost all that's been said. When I first read the title to this post
"All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage..."
I really thought it was about the urban violence in this country.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBee

I'm glad you tied the African tragedies to the ones in the US. If people think things won't continue to devolve here they're using their own logic and value system in assuming other share similar makeup. They don't. With people going out of their way to tear down the idea that women raising children alone is a good thing, defending the likes of Eddie Long (R Kelly, OJ, etc) and simply not paying attention to trends (like the 10,000 houses torn down in Detroit from blighted neighborhoods being written off) many are going to shocked and unprepared. It's hard out here right now in the job market!! When events like these make the news cycle (if they ever do) then it was something rather extraordinary (esp heinous) going on. Individuals might be okay but that won't necessarily prevent you from getting hit on the head by someone else. The only difference between what's going on in these African countries that will not be repeated here is the gov't allowing an all-out war to occur. Law enforcement will step in. Just like when blacks have rioted they weren't allowed to go into certain neighborhoods spreading that chaos. I used to be outraged that the US let Rwanda happen now I can't help but wonder if this is an exercise of survival of the fittest by letting other groups kill each off?

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

Until violence decreases in our neighborhoods police brutality will continue to happen, and all the anti police brutality groups should address the violence in the community in addition to the brutality. Police are patrolling b/c of the violence

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterblkchik

I know this sounds corny but "Hurt people hurt people." These soldiers were boys torn from their homes and brainwashed into violence. It's sick that they don't really want control or government, their indulging in anarchy. They grow into "men" and pick on the weak, women and children. This article made me sick to my stomach. Gina's right on, some people are violent b/c they want to be and get away with it. Thanks for sharing Gina.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCocoa Fly

This is a horrifying reality that is not very different from what is and will continue to happen here in America if we don't do something about it. The violence in a lot of American communities has been going on for decades growing worse to varying degrees with every passing year (just like in Africa)!

I lived the first twelve of my formative years in Chicago (during the 70's) and the latter in a small town in northern Louisiana (during the 80's) and there was no difference in regards to the type of person that had the propensity for violence against another. The mentality of people like that really can't be reasoned with because they have NO moral compass. What I have seen change over the years are the number of apologists that exist now as opposed to when a lot of us were growing up. There was a time when there were more people speaking out loudly against the torturous violence that exists but now we are becoming increasingly outnumbered by those that are apathetic to it.

Thanks for the links to the organizations.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBlack Butterfly

Divest...this is for the women who can living here in America. I also think we must consider the ways that we as individuals may play a part in all of this dysfunction.Most of the battle is mental.Youv'e heard the saying "you can take the boy/ girl out the hood but you can't take the hood out the boy/girl".

As I have said before Gem,I live in a community that is fairly safe,allegedly 97%-99% crime free, but there are some changes taking place and I see it going downhill real soon and since avoiding what's to come takes a collective effort in the community and people here don't seem to be on board(perps are their relatives) I'M OUT!

As an aside I am proud of myself.I am proud that I care more about the safety of innocent people than I care about my criminal relatives.I'll admit it took some deprogramming because I love my family but if they are gonna be violent and nothing but drama they can't come to my house not even"just to say what's up".If they want to speak they can call me on the phone.I think my future neighbors will appreciate my stance.I only hope they are as considerate.

I will be looking for ways that I can be a blessing to the women,children,and victims of the Congo gangs.Although I am not there I do understand under the right circumstances I could end up a victim.I'll keep all those people in my thoughts and prayers.It just seems like I am doing so much work to improve my own life that I rarely have extra time or money to help others.We need 30 hour days,i'm just sayin.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

Val said: "One of the reasons this continues is lack of media attention. If 200 plus White women were raped over a few days it would be the lead story on the MSM for days, weeks ,months on end. But when it's Black women and girls there is barely a peep."

I've been hearing about the rapes in the Congo for years (can't even remember when I first started hearing about them), so I'm not sure if blaming the White media makes sense.

Even now that we know about what's going on in the Congo, what can we do about it? The only thing I can think of is pressuring Congress to place sanctions on the government in the Congo until they take action and arrest the rapists. And, we know that is unlikely to happen.

The irony is if White men were raping African women in the Congo, everyone would have something to say -- remember the anti-apartheid movement that brought down White rule in South Africa? Why is everyone so indifferent to the horror that Congolese women are going through?

As to Black American women, not all of us are stuck in ghettoes. Some of us live in very nice safe communities where we don't have to worry about Black or White hoodlums.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Kayden

well, the mentality of entitlement is on all sides. Yes, patriarchy basically sees all women and children (and men who disagree with that nonsense) as a target, but the imperialists powers also operate on a kind of patriarchal mentality, of entitlement. As we well know, running/selling guns or drugs, whether in Harlem, NYC, southside Chicago/Cabrini Green, the Fifth Ward in Houston, southeast Washington, DC, etc., that kind of criminal enterprise makes big money for those involved. Just like here in the U.S., there are the gun shows where just about any fool or criminal minded fool can buya AK, a "sweeper", etc., there are also these international gun shows, the weapons trade in Mexico, Columbia/Latin America; Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, etc., in Africa, definitelysome in Europe with the collapse of the former Soviet Union, etc.

All that is to say, when a lot of people kill themselves, rape and rob, etc., people get displaced/gentrification, somebody somewhere also makes a political AND financial profit. In urban U.S., developers and corporations buy off politicians, push privitization of vital services, charter schools and school vouchers down our throats, etc., and in a deliberate process, make lots of money, consolidate power, etc. On the international scene, multinationals deal in guns and other stuff and wait to see who's still standing after years of violence. Dam, their plan seems to be working. :(

@ Truth P, I'm glad you said, "as an aside I am proud of myself. I am proud that I care more about the safety of innocent people than I care about my criminal relatives . . . I love my family but if they are gonna be violent and nothing but drama they can't come to my house . . . ." Thanks for saying that, that's why I haven't seen my brother and some of my male AND females cousins in 25 years. :(

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrevmamaafrika

I'm not trying to be funny or mean but don't all these women and children in the Congo have husbands/ boyfriends/baby daddy's and fathers?
I'm wondering how exactly does raping so many women and children work.Are any of the men in that country for the safety of the women and children,I know at least some have to be.I guess i'm wondering why are'nt such men armed to fight against the rapists?Perhaps we could rally for those men to gain power in their country and to be given weapons to kill the rapists?

I'm also sure that there has been some men who have died defending the women and children but i've never read *anything* in the media that has mentioned those fallen hero's.It's is sad that some people just report stories to show bad guys and not to bring about change.I've read a few stories on this and the stories tend to portray the men as being altogether evil.It can't be all of them.It can be most of them but not all.The few do gooder men and possibly women who are fighting against those evil men need our support.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

@TruthP yes they have husbands. In some cases the husbands are forced to watch. These are armed groups targeting unarmed civilians. You assume that guns are as readily available in other places as they are here. Why don't you do a bit more reading independently of the blog. i can give you all the answers and this sounds like a good research topic for you.

September 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

@Patricia Kayden

Obviously you didn't read my entire comment, just that paragraph. But I stand by what I wrote. Despite the fact that you've heard about this I doubt the general population is aware. And they aren't aware because as I said the MSM is not covering it as they would if this was happening to White women.

And if you disagree with that then you must have just moved to this country.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Folks lets not get off topic here. Focus on the post and not each other. I tend to have a very low tolerance for sandbox behavior in the comments section on topics like this.... in other words, this is the first and last warning. I would hate to start banning folks..... BUT GIVE ME A REASON.

Don't comment on other commenters, comment on the post.

Thanks,

Blog Management

September 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

Patricia wrote "As to Black American women, not all of us are stuck in ghettoes. Some of us live in very nice safe communities where we don't have to worry about Black or White hoodlums."

And that right there is the difference. We still have a choice. This violence has not permeated the entire fabric of our country or even the entire black community YET. We also have the ability to free ourselves from the mental ghetto that allows the violence to grow. Someone mentioned banning violent people from your home, even if they are relatives. Someone else mentioned speaking out against the violence in our community ie: putting an end to the no snitch phenom. It all goes back to what I've said before STANDARDS. You have to have them and follow them.

When we largly stood by our Biblical standards we had fewer internal problems as a people. Well over time society wanted to explore different ways and not be tied to the Bible, church or religion. I get that but in our community when we tossed out the Bible we didn't even try to replace it with anything else and we don't have the collective money or power or access to institutions to cover up the dirt or quietly rehab those who step outside the norm.

So now our predominantly black neighborhoods are like ships without rutters.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBee

Thanks Gina.Yes I do need to research this because I really want some answers.If the outside governments are truly concerned over this it seems only right that they would arm those innocent men and husbands against the evil gangs.I am going to do some research to see if we can put some pressure on our government and/or the UN to step in.Something needs to happen.

I will let you all know what I dig up but this is my official "outside of myself" project i'm taking on.I'm starting today.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

Rape is a weapon of war. Rape is used to brutalize, humiliate, terrorize and then displaced women, girls and communities from their land. It is naive and dangerous to believe that the use of rape is simply some inherent lawlessness and preparatory behavior. Rapes is a systematic weapon used during war, used throughout the history of war, to displaced people from resourceful land.

The Congo has a substantial amount of natural resources. Diamonds, copper, zinc, and cobalt, which is a strategic and critical metal used in many diverse industrial and military applications. Congo has 70% of the world cobalt. The Congo is a nation endowed with resources of vast potential wealth.

If you simply reduced the tactic of rape as the evil behavior of men, then you have miss the point. Educated yourself on rape as a tactic of war. Read up on the Bosnian war, Guinean War, Rwanda War, Chinese Wars and Roman wars.

Black women can not afford to think simplicity about the use of rape against women during times of war. We must think critically about the complexity war, and the use of rape as a effective weapon. We must further research and investigate rape as weapon of war, and its effectiveness. If we fail to comprehend how rape is used as a tool of oppression, then we will not useful advocate for Black women in the Congo and other war zones.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEudora

Yes, mass rape and sexual mutilation of women is being used as weapon of war in the Congo, but it has expanded into a violent free for all against anyone who born with a vagina -- perpetrated by both soldiers and civilians alike.

Amnesty International and other agencies had provided funding for weapons for male civilians to protect their families against the invading soldiers -- and guess what? A new problem cropped up because many of them banded together and became co-rapists, robbers and marauders as well, doing the same evil acts that they were empowered to prevent. Thousands of women sleep outside in the thick bushes, in mortal fear of being ambushed at night in their homes.

Many 'good' men are forced to watch atrocities against their mothers, daughters, and sisters, and get maimed themselves (gleefully hacking off the limbs of men is common practice) - and I wouldn't be surprised if they are getting raped, too. So those men who are left probably are scrambling to survive themselves.

I have read stories of mothers killing their newborn daughters to shield them of the inevitable violence against them that is to come. If there is a hell on earth, it's the Congo. All I can do is PRAY, give financially to certain institutions and HOPE that my money isn't getting diverted to warlords, or lining the pockets of some administrator somewhere.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShecodes

When did people get so sick? Anyways on to my point ...

" I'm glad you tied the African tragedies to the ones in the US. If people think things won't continue to devolve here they're using their own logic and value system in assuming other share similar makeup. They don't."

Things will never devolve in America like they have in Africa. There are a lot of "crazies" running around America but I don't think it will ever get that bad here. The national gaurd will be called in to exterminate the "crazies" in the particular community before they allow them to break up the entire social order of America. It will be PROBABLY be only a matter of time before they put the America version of the Great Wall of China around certain neighborhoods.

" With people going out of their way to tear down the idea that women raising children alone is a good thing, defending the likes of Eddie Long (R Kelly, OJ, etc) and simply not paying attention to trends (like the 10,000 houses torn down in Detroit from blighted neighborhoods being written off) many are going to shocked and unprepared. "

People are going out of their way to bring attention to FATHERLESS children because the result if what you see in the Congo and in American ghettos. These men are without guidance or any proper example of what a REAL man is or they have a skewed version of it. Which most of the time means asserting their perceived power of "weaker" individuals ie women , children and other men. In Eddie Long's case (which he has YET to be proven guilty) but in the event he is guilty one must ask the question where were these "molested" men's fathers. I bet you five dollars that they don't have one which is why they had to get "mentored" by Eddie long in the first place. And in R.Kelly's case ... any 15 year old girl having relations with a grown man 99.9% of the time has no FATHER. I don't have numbers to back that up, just life experience. That is what it is.

October 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTay

A new problem cropped up because many of them banded together and became co-rapists, robbers and marauders as well, doing the same evil acts that they were empowered to prevent.

Of course they did. Amnesty Intl's been around long enough to know better. Why on earth didn't they give the weapons to the women? Anytime societal structure breaks down men will go on rampages of raping and killing. Give the women guns, and a few mortars besides. Help them lay landmines around their neighborhoods. If enough of those fools blow off their body parts they'll leave those women alone.

October 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

http://www.thegrio.com/news/rebel-commander-arrested-for-alleged-250-congo-rapes.php

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

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