Author Archives: Peter Daou
From the Washington Post:
Polish President Lech Kaczynski and a group of leading lawmakers and civil servants were killed Saturday when the presidential jet crashed in heavy fog on approach to an airfield in western Russia — the haunted site of an earlier Polish tragedy, which the delegation was arriving to commemorate.
In response to troubling reports that the UN ordered doctors to leave a field hospital in Haiti (including a front page feature on CNN.com), here’s an official statement Dispatch just received:
On Tuesday evening, I received a short email from Mark. The message was this:
“massive, 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. really, really devastating”
Mark is an even-tempered and measured guy and I knew that he wouldn’t exaggerate the severity of the situation.
In the days since the quake struck, I’ve tried, like so many millions of people, to do as much as possible to raise awareness, donate money, and help the victims of the Haiti catastrophe.
The young girl whispered in a hushed tone. She looked down as she spoke, only glancing up from her dark round eyes every now and then. She wanted to tell more, but she was too ashamed. She was just 9 years old when, she says, Congolese soldiers gang-raped her on her way to school. …
The United Nations estimates 200,000 women and girls have been raped in Congo over the last 12 years, when war broke out with Rwanda and Uganda backing Congolese rebels seeking to oust then-Congo President Laurent Kabila. Rape became a weapon of war, aid groups say.
“It is one of the worst places in the world to be a woman or girl,” says Anneke Van Woudenberg, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch who has spent the last 10 years focusing on Congo. “These are often soldiers and combatants deliberately targeting women and raping them as a strategy of war, either to punish a community, to terrorize a community or to humiliate them.”
Most times, the women are raped by at least two perpetrators. “Sometimes, that is done in front of the family, in front of the children,” Van Woudenberg says. She sighs, “What causes men to rape — I wish I had an answer to that.”
I’m glad that my former boss, Hillary Clinton, is there speaking out forcefully about this issue. We need to draw more attention to it.
More from my Dispatch co-blogger, Alanna.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.