Ned Meerdink (DR Congo)

Ned Meerdink (Sos Femmes en Danger – SOSFED): Ned earned his Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied humanitarian work in Central and Eastern Africa. After graduation, NED worked for human rights NGOs in the US and Congo. They included Mutuelle Jeunesse Active (MJA) in Sud Kivu. AP deployed Ned to Uvira, in South Kivu, in September 2008 to work with civil society organizations including Tunza Mazingira, Arche d’Alliance, and SOS Femmes en Danger. Ned launched the partnership between SOSFED and AP in 2009.



Association des Femmes des Medias du Sud Kivu: Supporting Women Journalists in Congo

05 Mar

For the last three days, I have been working in outside of Bukavu (north of Uvira) with a local organization called the Association des Femmes des Medias du Sud Kivu (AFEM-SK), which works to develop the next generation of female journalists in Congo, offering young women practical field experience and access to the media which unfortunately isn’t readily available to women in Congo. Listening to the radio and reading through the small amount of print media available here, it is clear that Congolese media is a field largely populated by men, which leads to an often one-sided representation of current news and issues in Congo.

Because of the problems that have overwhelmed women in Congo concerning sexual violence and general second-class status, the approach of AFEM-SK is a necessary one in order to tell the entire story of what is happening in Congo. While making a field visit in Kaniola, the site of a recent massacre in which the soldiers (FDLR rebels) raped the village’s women after killing many of their husbands and their children, I saw one huge strength in AFEM-SK’s approach that I was not expecting: Speaking to a female journalist, in many instances, seems to make it easier for raped women (who often carry the well-known social stigma and shame after the incident) to tell their stories in a clear manner, to a journalist who might sympathize with their pain in ways in which a male journalist could not. As the women working for AFEM-SK are themselves all Congolese, born and raised, they are victim to the same threatening atmosphere and state-wide subjugation of women, and have the same type of fear concerning the rampant sexual violence in eastern Congo. Speaking to the rape victims profiled in Kaniola, I could see the victims relating their experiences in a brutally honest and candid manner, all in an atmosphere free from judgement or stigma. One woman, Bora, talked of being dragged into the forest and raped first by four FDLR soldiers, who then proceeded to rape her using broken-off branches of trees. While this was happening, other soldiers took her husband into the woods nearby and sodomized him. The physical pain has not subsided since, and she mentioned that the emotional pain endured is slowly eased by speaking of her experiences, in particular with other women.

The head of AEFM-SK, Chouchou Namegabe Dubisson, has also been awarded for her work in Congo by Vital Voices, and will be present in Washington D.C. with my friend Marceline. Chouchou has been active in journalism for many years, and is well known for her educational theatre pieces aired on Radio Mandeleo, which spoke of everything from how to protect women from HIV/AIDS to how to increase the amount of equality between women and men in the household. Since beginning AFEM in 2003, she has also worked with her staff to report on sexual violence in South Kivu, attempting to offer the perspective of raped women to audiences across Congo, in order to begin changing the mentality of those who accept rape in Congo as a given, and an unsolvable problem. With her experience, Chouchou also trains other women journalists, hoping to increase the amount of women present in Congolese media, especially in leadership roles. With a staff full of well-trained women journalists, fluent in the local languages as well as French, it seems that AFEM-SK is bound to succeed in promoting women in Congolese media. In addition, many of the staff members are graduates of Centre Lokole’s (Search For Common Ground) “Sisi Watoto” program for young journalists, and thus have gained lots of expertise at a young age even before working with Chouchou. Thus, AFEM-SK provides a valuable space for women graduated from the program, who are often, despite years of experience, blocked from gaining key positions in the media.

Parts of the video footage and victim profiles we took at the site of the Kaniola massacre will be shown at this year’s Vital Voices awards in Washington D.C. if you are interested in seeing the footage.

If there seems to be an overwhelming theme from these last few blog entries that sexual violence against Congolese women continues without any real promise of accountability or justice, I’d agree. However, local NGOs like SOS Femmes en Dangers and AFEM-SK work to change this, and from the last two weeks of work with both organizations, it is clear that the system, with proper pressure applied, can be changed. There are talented women in every town and village with the goal of protecting vulnerable populations. The media has continually proved itself to be an essential tool for forcing societal change, and hopefully increased recognition of those working for this will aid in the process and increase the safety of Congolese women. The FDLR are still here, but they know, as does everyone else, that there are many reporting on their violence and working to empower women to resist and force their society to change. While there is no hope for stopping sexual violence in Congo in its tracks, there is overwhelming evidence, like that which I saw in Kaniola, that there is a real opportunity to slow the tide and force the state to recognize the problem and condemn it, given the proper representation of the problem in the media by groups like AFEM-SK.

So try to get to the Vital Voices Awards in March (the 19th) if you have the chance, and hear these stories for yourselves and find out how you might be able to help Chouchou and Marceline, and in turn Congolese women in general.

Ned Meerdink

Posted By Ned Meerdink (DR Congo)

Posted Mar 5th, 2009

251 Comments

  • Soleil Soleil Soleil

    April 15, 2016

     

    C’est cela la fin des temps et les Jugements derniers qui doit s’accomplir par la Mort comme sanctions. Fin des temps qui signifie la fin du règne des simulacres, faux dieux, démons assis sur des complots envers la Souveraine Myriam Marie qui est Fatima et ses multiples qui sont les êtres de Lumière, les êtres Soleil.
    La fin des temps signifie la fin de vie et fin des résurrections que la Souveraine Mère Myriam Marie Fatima avait accordé pour un temps au cours des millénaires à tous les simulacres qui sont des êtres de ténèbres, des sosies, des clones, des démons pour ressusciter et se métamorphoser en faux humains après avoir accompagné les naissances des êtres de lumière vrais Humains. Une fois ressuscités sous les formes des faux humains après chaque accouchement d’un être de lumière par un être de lumière, ces démons ont comploté contre la Souveraine Myriam Marie Fatima qui de ses Mains, de son Cœur, de ses Organes Sexuels leur donnait pour un temps programmé, des particules de Foudres et de Feux, de Sels et de Sucres endormies pour leurs résurrections à eux. Ces Grâces qui ont fait leurs pouvoirs, leurs puissances et grandeurs, et qu’ils ont par orgueil tenter de retourner contre cette Souveraine Mère dans un complot. Ce complot pour tenter de l’évincer en violant ses multiples à travers le monde et sous prétexte de famille, de guerres, de mariage afin d’utiliser ses viols pour avoir des nouveaux Sucres et des Sels magnétiques comme c’est le cas à Kivu au Congo Zaïre et dans d’autres pays d’Afrique où ces simulacres sont nombreux, depuis la tête de l’état, les juges des tribunaux, jusqu’aux médecins gynécologues qui disent sauver ces femmes violées alors qu’ils font tous partie de ces complots. Ces démons ne pourront plus même en violant se procurer des Dons que le Souveraine Mère réveillée a les pouvoirs d’attirer à Elle et vers le Soleil Source Thermonucléaire qui brille au dessus de vos têtes pour les jugements derniers et les sanctions.

    Ces Démons ont échoué dans leurs complots pour tenter d’évincer la Souveraine Myriam Marie dite Fatima, parce qu’elle est ressuscitée pour toujours et pour les Jugements derniers et les sanctions qui sont les Morts de ces simulacres hommes ténébreux. Ces démons qui sont les hommes sont ceux qui bâtissaient la tour de Babel pour défier le vrai Dieu qui est Mère et Fille en un seul et unique Corps. Cette Souveraine est la seule Femme sur terre qui détient les secrets des fissions et des fusions nucléaires élémentaires. Ces démons qui doivent mourir sont des hommes qui ont divisé pour régner par la terreur. Ces hommes doivent mourir pour porter définitivement leurs Karma.

    Ces Placenta et liquide amniotique qui sont des démons doivent donc mourir par ces foudres et ces feux, ces Sels et ces Sucres qui fusionnent partout dans le monde et dans les Cieux pour s’abattre sur eux tous, à cause de pour tous les viols, les vols et crimes qu’ils ont commis sur les êtres Solaires. Ces Sels et Sucres qu’ils portent aussi en leurs pénis et anus en eux-mêmes, sont également entrain de fusionner en eux et partout autour d’eux depuis le Soleil dans le ciel. Toutes ses Puissances de lumière vont se retourner maintenant contre ces hommes pour leur donner la Mort en cette fin des temps, parce qu’elles sont réveillées.
    Ces démons qui sont les hommes ont utilisé les Foudres et les Feux endormis pour violer et voler d’autres Foudres et d’autres Feux endormis. Maintenant ces Foudres et Feux sont réveillés, et ces hommes doivent subir les conséquences de leurs actes par des Jugements et par la Mort donnée par ces Puissances des Foudres et des Feux qu’ils savaient endormis, et qu’ils utilisaient par fissions les unes contre les autres.

    Qu’il en soit ainsi.

    Soleil Soleil Soleil.

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