Only through mediation ─ Women leaders of Congo to Women leaders in United States
Women must join together now
Excerpting, editing, comment by Carolyn Bennett
ENRICHED RAVAGED LAND
Its people and future ruined by endless war
“We ask for the immediate appointment of a special presidential envoy to work with the African Union and United Nations to forge a peace process that addresses both the immediate crisis and the underlying longer-term economic and political interests of the parties involved,” Neema Namadamu pleads the case for her people, her country.
“Only through mediation from this level can we hope to establish resolution among the numerous states, rebel armies and special interests that have long fueled this conflict and humanitarian crisis.
“It is essential that any action ensures Congolese women—who are uniquely positioned to act on behalf of family and community—have a voice in the peace process and a seat at the table.”
Neema Namadamu is one of a group of Congolese grassroots women leaders, the Maman Shujaa (in the Swahili language, ‘Hero Women’). In a overview to a petition letter to women leaders in the United States, Neema Namadamu writes: “I was born in a very remote village in South Kivu Province in eastern Congo. I belong to a marginalized tribe. I am crippled from Polio. But none of these things characterize me. I have a vision for my country: a new and peaceful Congo, which compels me. Its destiny drives me.”
After Brazil, “Congo is home to the second largest rain forest in the world and 60 percent of all of Africa’s forests. It has enough hydropower potential to power all of Africa. It has an estimated 24 trillion dollars of mineral wealth ─ far greater un-monetized wealth than any other nation in the world.”
Yet “the mothers of [Congo’s] children live in poverty, in fear of being raped, daily women fear losing their sons and husbands to endless wars.
“We are brutalized in unconscionable ways by monsters wearing military uniforms. … Several months ago, soldiers indiscriminately beat my own daughter.…” For sixteen years, Neema Namadamu says, “War has ravaged my homeland.”
“We as women must join together now because WE CAN,” she writes. “Even in remote Congo, we have become connected to our global sisterhood.
“We who are ONE with the 35 million+ women of the DRC who are ONE with the 3.5 billion+ women of the world stand for an end to all violence and aggression in Eastern DRC. We will not be quiet until real peace is upon us.
“We the grassroots women leaders of eastern DRC call upon our female counterparts in the White House—our sisters Secretary Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice, Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and First Lady Michelle Obama—to speak with your President in our behalf and ensure the start of a true peace process in our homeland.
“We have had enough.
“We call upon our global sisterhood to take action.
“We will not be quiet until REAL Peace is upon us.”
MY COMMENTS IN SIGNING PETITION
I sign this petition because with Neema Namadamu I believe we are one.
We are all wounded when any are wounded ─ denied life and liberty, basic universal human rights ─ in the world; and we must help one another -- nonviolently.
Only by changing the mode of response − from violence to nonviolence ─ only by working with each other cooperatively and respectfully, seeking to understand one another, our traditions and histories, cultural variations and underlying issues, can we ever, EVER hope to attain peace and justice, insure realization of human aspirations and human rights for all.
We must want, earnestly desire, commit to peace and justice, rule of law and human rights for all ─ this has not been the aim, attitude or action of the world’s dominant and domineering, arrogantly belligerent (largely but not exclusively male) leaders of the north, south, east or west. Women together must change the paradigm in violence.
Sources and notes
Dissected by the Equator, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly called Zaire, is the third largest country on the African continent. [WorldAtlas search, http://www.worldatlas.com/header_final/search.html?q=DRC%2C%20Congo)
Neema Namadamu, http://www.namadamu.com/
Petitioning Secretary Hillary Clinton 2
From the grassroots women leaders of Congo to the women leaders of the White House
Petition by Neema Namadamu, Bukavu, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Text of Petition letter
Secretary Hillary Clinton, The White House
Ambassador Susan Rice, The White House
Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, The White House
First Lady Michelle Obama, The White House
With the M23 Rebels taking cities in North Kivu and threatening instability in an already unstable region, now is our time to act!
After 16 years of war, after 16 years of the systematic rape and torture against women, after 16 years of the world turning our eyes from the complex conflict that rages in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo—it’s time to take a stand and support a comprehensive peace process. It’s time to support our sisters in Congo and say “NO!” to the persisting violence.
In solidarity with the ‘Hero Women’ of eastern Congo I urge you to act swiftly for our sisters in the Congo and call upon President Obama to appoint a high-level Special Envoy to work with an A.U./U.N. appointed mediator and begin a real peace process that addresses both the immediate crisis and the underlying longer-term economic and political interests of the parties. And, it is essential that any action ensures that women—who are uniquely positioned to act on behalf of family and community—have a voice in the peace process and a seat at the table.
Change dot org note: On November 20, 2012, M23 rebels seized Goma, a major city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, reigniting a war that has ravaged the region for 16 years. Neema Namadamu and a group of grassroots women leaders who call themselves the Maman Shujaa (in Swahili ‘Hero Women’) are calling on you and U.S. woman leaders Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, and Michelle Obama to take immediate action in solidarity with the women of the Congo.
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Labels: Africa conflict and war, Democratic Republic of Congo women petition global women, Hero Women of eastern Congo, Neema Namadamu, U.S. in Africa, Women's work and words altering world order