Elisa Garcia

Elisa Garcia (Bureau pour le Voluntaries au service de l’Enfance et de la Sante - BVES): Elisa, a Spanish national, studied at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium) from 2004 to 2005. In 2006, she graduated with a MA in Media Studies from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), In September 2007 Elisa entered a PHD program at the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain). She graduated in 2008 with a MA of Peace and Conflict Studies. Between March 2008 and March 2009 Elisa served as a visiting researcher in the Peace Studies Group in the CES (Center for Social Studies) of University of Coimbra (Portugal). She has also interned at Scouts, Amnesty International and a nature preservation foundation.


01 Oct

AFEM-SK in the officeThe summer is over.

Now, back home in Madrid, and enjoying the first days of the autumn I take some time to reflect about the summer. My reflections can not go too far because my soul is still somewhre in central Africa, taking some time to rejoin my body. I thought that a long and complicated four day-trip back home would make things easier; I thought that it would give me time to organize and find place for the new feelings and the bright images;  I thought that pasing through other European (familiar) countries before finally making it to Madrid would give me some clues about world emotional flows, injustices and stories… but it didn´t. 

I just simply extremely exhausted.

Ryanair (the European lo-cost airline) gave me a very hard time in London, making me do impossible queues, pay absurd amounts of money for the extra-luggage and treating me worse than in any of the Congolese borders (!).  When I realised that the company was actually making me miss my flight (with them!) with their funny procedures and I was starting to feel stressed, angry and anxious I decided to leave aside these typical European-first world feelings and to fly with another company. Easyjet gave me good deal and I arrived to Madrid one day later. When I was buying the new ticket in the Easyjet desk to the nicest employee of the company (no doubt), I began to cry silently, I don´t know quite well where it came from…

I have spent the whole summer in “war-torn Congo”, having encounters with victims of sexual violence (old women, little girls, young women), hearing outrageous stories of the war, looking at the eyes of misery and injustice. And no tears. But broke apart in Standstead airport. Life is so absurd and wise.

While I am back at my comfortable working place trying to focus and get back to a European rythm, I can not help but think that with even though the summer is over, the old pleas for social justice for women in Congo are not. During these weeks, the women of AFEM-SK are working hard to continue with their activities in a climate of fear and doubt, trying to understand how to perform a strong activism and not risk their lives. Sometimes this is just not possible.

From Madrid, I want to send my hope, strenght and faith in their efforts. Change can happen.

Following, I post their communication on the events of the last month (below, translated in English)


L’association des femmes des Médias du Sud-Kivu (AFEM) s’indigne face aux menaces de mort proférées à leur endroit à travers un SMS citant nommément 3 femmes journalistes, 2 de Radio okapi et 1 de Radio Maendeleo. Ce SMS envoyé le 8 septembre 2009 en kiswahili est ainsi libellé : « Mulisha zoweya mubaya munaanza ingia mu mambo haibaone ju kuonesha kama habawezi bagusa, sasa munataka kufa ako juu munyamaze. Tulisha pata ruusa ya kuaanzia ako Kadi, kiisha Kamuntu kiisha , Kintu Namuto…risasi mu kichwa.»

Traduction en français

«Vous avez pris la mauvaise habitude de vous immiscer dans ce qui ne vous regarde pas pour montrer que vous êtes des intouchables, maintenant certains d’entre vous vont mourir pour que vous la boucliez. Nous venons d’avoir l’autorisation de commencer par Kadi, puis Kamuntu puis Namuto …une balle dans la tête »

Pendant le deuil du journaliste Bruno Koko le mois d’Aout passé, on pouvait entendre dans la foule que ” Après cela, ce sera le tour des journalistes femmes à être tuées”.

Lors du passage de Mme la Secrétaire d’Etat Américaine à Goma le 11 août dernier, dans sa présentation, l’Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud Kivu avait justement plaidé auprès de Mme Clinton pour qu’elle use de son influence afin la liberté d’expression soit renforcée en RDC, pays où plusieurs médias venaient d’être interdits de diffusion comme RFI et une Radio rurale située à Shabunda (Radio Mutanga) venait d’être détruite. A posteriori ce plaidoyer se révèle encore plus pertinent.

Ceci prouve à suffisance que les journalistes continuent à être la cible des ennemis de la liberté d’expression dans une province du Sud Kivu où 3 journalistes ont été tués en 3 ans : Serge Maheshe et Didace Namujimbo de la Radio Okapi et Bruno Koko de la Radio Star.

Face à cette situation, l’Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud-Kivu souhaite mettre l’autorité provinciale devant ses responsabilités de sécuriser les journalistes avant qu’un nouveau drame ne survienne.

Au service de renseignements, AFEM demande de diligenter sans délais une enquête pour identifier les auteurs de ces menaces à partir du numéro vodacom qu’ils avaient utilisé.

A tous nos Amis et partenaires, nous lançons un appel pour nous aider dans les mécanismes de sécurisation des journalistes, ce dont nous vous remercions d’avance.

Association des femmes des Medias du Su-Kivu(AFEM)


The  Association des femmes des Médias du Sud-Kivu (AFEM) is outraged due to the death threats receieved via SMS by three women journalists, 2 from Radio Okapi and 1 from Radio Maendeleo. This SMS, sent on the 8th of September 2009 in kiswahili said: «You have acquired the bad habit of interfering in things that are none of your bussiness to show that you are untouchable, now some of you are going to die. We just received the authorisation to start with Kadi, then Kamuntu and then Namuto …a bullet in the head »

During the mourning of the journalist Bruno Koko, last August, we could hear people shouting in the crowd “After this, it will the be turn of the women journalists”

When the Secretary of State of the USA came to Goma last August the 11th, in her presentation, the Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud Kivu asked Mrs.Clinton to use her influence to promote and strengthen the freedom of speech in DRC, a country where many media have been fordibben, such as  RFI and a rural radio in Shabunda (Radio Mutanga) has been destroyed. A posteriori this cause seems to be even more pertinent.

This proves that the journalists are still the target of the enemies of the freedom of speech in the province of Sud Kivu where 3 journalists have been killed in 3 years : Serge Maheshe and Didace Namujimbo of Radio Okapi and Bruno Koko of Radio Star.

In this context, the Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud-Kivu wants to ask the provincial authorities to be accountable with its responsibilities of securitising journalists before we have to learn of a new tragedy. Also, to do a legal prosecution, AFEM asks for a procedure to identify the authors of this threats through their Vodacom phone number.

To all our friends and partnerss, we launch a message of demand of help to assist with the mechanisms of protection of journalists, thanking you in advance.”

                                                           In Bukavu,  15/09/09

Association des femmes des Medias du Su-Kivu(AFEM)

Posted By Elisa Garcia

Posted Oct 1st, 2009

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