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If this is what it feels like to be a woman, what does it mean to be a man?

  A mass wedding in Rwanda. Credit: http://network4africa.org/rwanda/dfd/. All rights reserved. Hawa was eighteen-years old when we met in a dusty, barren refugee camp called El Geneina in West Darfur, Sudan. She was one of dozens of women I interviewed in 2004 about their experience of being raped by the Sudanese armed forces and its proxies. In a conservative, rural society like Sudan, women prefer euphemisms for rape like “harassed” or “attacked,” but the meaning was clear when Hawa told me, “My life is over. No man will want me so I have no future.” Rather than finding sympathy after being gang raped, beaten and branded on her breasts like a slave, Hawa was rejected and…

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Why is Obama Silent About Meriam?

Last week a woman gave birth while chained to a prison wall in Sudan. But as soon as baby Maya is weaned, her mother will hang for the crime of ‘apostasy’. Meriam Ibrahim considers herself a Christian. Although her father was a Muslim, he abandoned her Christian mother when Meriam was a child. The twenty-seven-year-old Meriam compounded her ‘crime’ by marrying a Christian, a US citizen, and now she faces death. The head of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, Hillary Clinton and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, have condemned Meriam’s sentence. But President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are silent . Their failure to join the global chorus of outrage at Sudan’s warped interpretation…

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Have they healed yet? Western dreams about Rwanda

Shattered societies cannot be mended with pills or analysis or technology or foreign aid. Our need to hear that Rwanda is ‘healing’ tells us more about ourselves than it does about Rwanda. Rwandan genocide survivors listen to the testimony of a fellow survivor in Kigali. Credit: Melissa Musgrove/www.melissamusgrove.com. All rights reserved. For the last ten years I have been involved in development projects in Rwanda. This month, in April 2014, Rwandans are marking the twentieth anniversary of the genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 people, more than one in ten of the country’s population at the time. Non-Africans frequently ask me, “Have the people there healed yet?” As a British woman working on Rwanda, it seems…

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Elections for Dummies: Why Do We Let Elections Legitimize Tyrants?

Every year the international community (meaning the developed Western nations, the UN and the European Union) spends millions of dollars bankrolling ballots in profoundly undemocratic places (1). Why do we bother? The recent Crimean “referendum” should have given us pause for thought about these expensive exercises in futility. Yet, we continue to enable deeply flawed regimes to conduct elections in places where there is neither free speech nor a free media to report what opposition politicians say. Despite evidence to the contrary, our diplomats go through the motions, pretending these votes confer credibility on corrupt and brutal monsters. Do we really have such faith in a swift dose of democracy? Or do we endorse the election…

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Nelson Mandela and the Stench of Hypocrisy

Politicians and journalists are falling over themselves to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. Alas, the curse of having a good memory means recalling when the same politicians and journalists condemned the ANC leader as a terrorist. I went on my first anti-apartheid demonstration in 1976, the truly dismal days of the South African regime. Their security forces had opened fire on black children whose crime was to ask for the right to learn English at school. Yet, Barclays Bank gave the regime stalwart support at a time when a growing number of countries were imposing sanctions on South Africa. At other similar demonstrations that followed a surprising number of members of the public would denounce…

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Events

Why is Obama Silent About Meriam?

Last week a woman gave birth while chained to a prison wall in Sudan. But as soon as baby Maya is weaned, her mother will hang for the crime of ‘apostasy’. Meriam Ibrahim considers herself a Christian. Although her father was a Muslim, he abandoned her Christian mother when Meriam was a child. The twenty-seven-year-old Meriam compounded her ‘crime’ by marrying a Christian, a US citizen, and now she faces death. The head of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, Hillary Clinton and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, have condemned Meriam’s sentence. But President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are silent . Their failure to join the global chorus of outrage at Sudan’s warped interpretation…

A Letter to President Obama

Download a letter to President Obama to encourage him to take action on Darfur. PresidentObama

PRACTICAL HELP FOR SURVIVORS OF GENOCIDE

Rebecca believes it isn't enough to be informed about genocide - we need to support the resilient and resourceful survivors of genocide who reject the label 'victim.' That's why she founded Network for Africa, a registered charity in the USA and UK. Please click here to learn about Network for Africa's practical projects offering a helping hand to survivors of the Rwandan genocide, and survivors of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda. Thank you.

Featured Articles

If this is what it feels like to be a woman, what does it mean to be a man?

  A mass wedding in Rwanda. Credit: http://network4africa.org/rwanda/dfd/. All rights reserved. Hawa was eighteen-years old when we met in a dusty, barren refugee camp called El Geneina in West Darfur, Sudan. She was one of dozens of women I interviewed in 2004 about their experience of being raped by the Sudanese armed forces and its proxies. In a conservative, rural society like Sudan, women prefer euphemisms for rape like “harassed” or “attacked,” but the meaning was clear when Hawa told me, “My life is over. No man will want me so I have no future.” Rather than finding sympathy after being gang raped, beaten and branded on her breasts like a slave, Hawa was rejected and…

+

Have they healed yet? Western dreams about Rwanda

Shattered societies cannot be mended with pills or analysis or technology or foreign aid. Our need to hear that Rwanda is ‘healing’ tells us more about ourselves than it does about Rwanda. Rwandan genocide survivors listen to the testimony of a fellow survivor in Kigali. Credit: Melissa Musgrove/www.melissamusgrove.com. All rights reserved. For the last ten years I have been involved in development projects in Rwanda. This month, in April 2014, Rwandans are marking the twentieth anniversary of the genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 people, more than one in ten of the country’s population at the time. Non-Africans frequently ask me, “Have the people there healed yet?” As a British woman working on Rwanda, it seems…

+

Elections for Dummies: Why Do We Let Elections Legitimize Tyrants?

Every year the international community (meaning the developed Western nations, the UN and the European Union) spends millions of dollars bankrolling ballots in profoundly undemocratic places (1). Why do we bother? The recent Crimean “referendum” should have given us pause for thought about these expensive exercises in futility. Yet, we continue to enable deeply flawed regimes to conduct elections in places where there is neither free speech nor a free media to report what opposition politicians say. Despite evidence to the contrary, our diplomats go through the motions, pretending these votes confer credibility on corrupt and brutal monsters. Do we really have such faith in a swift dose of democracy? Or do we endorse the election…

+

Nelson Mandela and the Stench of Hypocrisy

Politicians and journalists are falling over themselves to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. Alas, the curse of having a good memory means recalling when the same politicians and journalists condemned the ANC leader as a terrorist. I went on my first anti-apartheid demonstration in 1976, the truly dismal days of the South African regime. Their security forces had opened fire on black children whose crime was to ask for the right to learn English at school. Yet, Barclays Bank gave the regime stalwart support at a time when a growing number of countries were imposing sanctions on South Africa. At other similar demonstrations that followed a surprising number of members of the public would denounce…

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