Half the sky is falling.

Posted on 13 December, 2008. Filed under: Africa, Human Rights, The world | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Rape must be the oldest weapon used against women and girls. It is the ultimate violation, the ultimate assertion of power over another human being. It is an invasion, an assault, a humiliation, a violation. It trades on fear, loss of dignity, loss of power, loss of privacy, loss of self-determination, loss of self-ownership.The scars it leaves are internal and external, physical and emotional, and lasts forever. 

Ensler and Lewis wrote a heart-rendering account of the ongoing rape of women in the DRC.


In the multiple conflict zones of Africa, rape and female mutilation is rife. It precedes wars, escalates during times of conflict, and lingers for years into truces and peace treaties.

Rape and the mutilation of women are tools of terror to be found in any war, but nowhere do we see it as clearly as in Africa. There are probably multiple reasons for this:

  • The protracted nature of warfare in Africa: Most of the conflicts in Africa have a long history, brutal eruptions of horror interspersed by long simmering periods of unreported atrocities.
  • The seclusion of communities: Many villages have neither the means of transport nor the means of communication to report the brutal realities of war. No embedded journalists. No networks of bloggers.
  • The 2nd class citizenship of woman and girls: In Africa woman and girls are still second class citizens. They belong to their men, fathers, husbands, brothers, sons. They live to serve, to empower, to enable. 

It is time that the world should not only take notice, but act on this. We need countries, and the UN to pass legislation, or resolutions that will ban the trade in any resources from conflict zones that can in any way, directly or indirectly, fund continued warfare, insurgency and terrorism. This should also include a ban on trade with any groups or companies or individuals that cannot show proof of clear, acceptable and legitimate ownership. (Not ownership by corrupt governments, or bought from corrupt governments.) If we won’t buy from sweatshops, why are we buying from Rape and Pillage Inc? Any companies that are involved in this kind of trade should be named and shamed and charged.

But it is also time for the African Union to stand up and do something, rather than just talk about it.  The African Union, like the OAU before it, has become an old boys’ club that only talks. We are yet to see it demonstrate any resolve in a head-on confrontation of perpetrators of human rights abuses. The “quiet diplomacy” philosophy reigns, very admirably, but to what avail? Is it working, has anything changed? No? Well, then it is time for a more confrontational approach. The time for observers and peacekeepers are running out. What peace is there to keep when a country, no, entire regions of a continent, are at war with itself? When half the sky is falling?

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5 Responses to “Half the sky is falling.”

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The kid was born late afternoon
his mother never heard him cry,
she passed out giving birth to him
and never made a sigh.

‘May you find realm of peace,’
said she, the grandma of the boy
and closed his mother’s eyes to cease,
for she won’t need them anymore.

‘Your mother gave you life,’ she said,
‘her life was hard, my boy.’
‘Despite her misery and pain,
I shall name you joy.’

‘Ayo, my boy, that is your name,
you may not travel far,
you will die long before your time,
your light the faintest of all stars.’

‘You’ll want to know about your pa
might as well tell you now,
you will not have the time to wait
to ask me when you’ve grown.’

‘I don’t know who your father is,
nor did your mother know,
so many took her body,
as others did before.’

‘They all came running, crossed the fields
and waved their long blades in the air
and caused us fear, we ran away
but when you’re ill the legs give way.’

‘When she was young, your mother, dear,
she fetched the water from the creek
eight other girls did go with her
and only four returned in tears.’

‘All under 12, the girls had been,
men’s hate and lust they’d never seen,
but from that day we learned to dig
the graves for our children.’

‘You’ll ask, where were the men to help,
to keep us safe from harm,
we buried most and some we nursed,
deep cuts, lost hands and arms.’

‘Our homes in flames, they pushed us out
to wander through the land,
always in fear of being seen
spent time in hiding from the men.’

‘And then the sickness grew within
infections of the men girls carried
and all the children they did bear
we have already buried.’

‘Ayo, my boy, and so in you
born without chance to grow,
the sickness that’s inside of you
will give you no defense at all’

‘And you’ll ask why, I wish I knew,
a woman’s door can not be locked,
the beasts that came did never ask,
forced entry without knocking.’

‘And those that tried to keep them out
were beaten, kicked and slaughtered,
and left for dead where they were found,
those girls were our daughters.’

‘We lost or homes, we lost our place
and with it our identity.’
‘I do not know where we are now
or how we’ll manage to survive.’

‘We live life worse than animals
and try to find some things to eat,
we hide from those with hateful eyes
and are in fear of all we meet.’

‘So in this first hour of your life
you know the suffering of your tribe,
for we’re not strong and far dispersed
and dwindle by the day.’

‘I’d rather face the wildcats, lions,
than all the beasts called men,
for they kill swiftly with their jaws
and save us lots of pain.’

‘This cradle of humanity,
birthplace for all the world did see,
will not grant life for poor and weak
and starving orphans that are sick.’

‘Ayo, this day you’re born to be,
heard all the things I said,
I’ll hold you close, a moment’s joy
may all we ever get.’

© Heinz Ross, Gold Coast, Australia
10-11.July 2008

Thank you, that was very poignant.

Very Good, here are the numbers for the USA as released by the federal government.

– 36000 White Women were raped by blacks in 2007.

– 9 Black women were raped by whites.

Isn’t it obvious, there is a genetic commitment to crime?

Scary figures. are you sure of it, though? And is it because of nature, or nurture?

For someone as smart as you yet behaviorally color blind I can forgive the question, however I will answer it with a question: ‘If two different chimpanzees on different continents picks up a rock and uses it as a tool for the first time, is it nature or nurture’?

If my IQ challenged pigmented friends in Africa behave in a manner, and the same is copied by my IQ challenged pigmented friends in the USA and Sweden etc… one would suspect genetics, which of course is constant with the ‘nature theory’

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