Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Using Celebrity to Stop Killing and Violence
Some people criticize celebrities for speaking out about issues and political concerns that they champion, but I say, what's the point of being a celebrity or any famous person if you can't put that fame to good use?
Mia Farrow is one celebrity that's using her notoriety to help bring justice to a part of Africa that's in deep turmoil. She has spoken out about the atrocities happening in the North Kivu area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where people are being killed, displaced, and women and girls (as young as one) are being tortured and raped.
In September fighting resumed in the Congo’s North Kivu province between the rebel group led by Laurent Nkunda and government forces, in violation of a peace accord signed in January. As many as 250,000 people have been displaced since the violent conflict re-ignited in August, bringing the region’s total displacement figure to over 2 million.
After a 3-day mission to North Kivu, Farrow, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, told United Nations Radio that, "In their own homes, people are raped, tortured, mutilated, murdered and abducted. Everyone is in flight mode. People are moving from place to place as the fighting erupts. Some people have fled more than 10 times but in fact nowhere is safe."
Farrow talked particularly about the women and girls who are victims of rampage.
The United Nations Radio division reports:
[Farrow] gives an example. Here's the story of one woman, Bernadette:
Mia: She said my life..has been completely destroyed. My insides are destroyed. They came into my home in the night. They forced the door open. My husband was away. I was pregnant. They raped me. I lost the baby and developed fistula. I became very sick. My husband left me. Aid workers brought me here.
Narrator: One woman reported to Ms. Farrow that soldiers came every afternoon to rape women and girls, some as young as one year old. That woman asked Ms. Farrow to convey this message:
Mia: We are terrified of the military groups. We are all scared. To you who have the means, please tell the world we need protection. We need peace. Those who are fighting must be made to stop. Those who support them should be made to stop. We have been waiting for protection but no one is coming.
I'm praying that President-Elect Obama, with his close ties to the African continent will take a keen interest in stopping these atrocities that are happening to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If you're planning to write letters to the President after he's in office, why not pen one that calls for the U.S. to help stop this evil.