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February 11, 2010

Nick's new words

Nick Kristof, writing from Congo, says he has learned some new words.

"One is 'autocannibalism', coined in French but equally appropriate in English. It describes what happens when a militia here in eastern Congo's endless war cuts flesh from living victims and forces them to eat it.

"Another is 're-rape'. The need for that term arose because doctors were seeing women and girls raped, re-raped and re-raped again, here in the world capital of murder, rape, mutilation."

Here is the link to his piece.


What can we do? Nick suggests a four-step approach:

- Pressure on Rwanda to stop funding its pet Tutsi militia in Congo. Rwanda also should publish a list of those facing criminal charges for its 1994 genocide so that more Hutu militiamen not on the list might go back. A Rwandan war shouldn't be fought in Congo.

- An international regime to monitor mineral exports from Congo so that warlords do not monetize their militias by exporting minerals through Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. Legislation to do this, backed by an advocacy group called the Enough Project, is pending in Congress.

- A major push to demobilize Rwandan Hutu fighters and return as many as possible to civilian life in Rwanda or settlements in Congo or Burundi. That should be coupled with a crackdown on leaders in Congo and those who direct action from Europe and the United States.

- A drive to professionalize the Congolese Army and end the impunity for murder, torture and rape, starting with the arrest of Jean Bosco Ntaganda on his warrant for war crimes.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to eastern Congo last year was a landmark, but it needs more follow-up from the Obama administration. What is required isn't some new formula but much greater political will. Otherwise, the fighting will go on for years to come - and this lovely, lush land will spawn even more horrific vocabulary.

Find out about the 'conflict minerals' that are fueling the violence in Congo. Here is the link;

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