The Day Women of the Congo Seized Control of the Internet

From Enough blogs Tue Dec 11 2012, 20:06:06

Editor's Note: "From the grassroots women leaders of Congo to the women leaders of the White House," a Change.org petition penned by activist Neema Namadamu in the eastern Congo town of Bukavu has seen a surge in support in recent days. Enough Project partner organization World Pulse, a Portland, Oregon-based women's media group, worked closely the activists in Bukavu, and the World Pulse founder Jensine Larsen wrote this post about the collective effort.

The day the rebels seized the large town of Goma, threatening to ignite more bloodshed and misery in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, I couldn't stop pacing and shaking. Although I have no relatives there, my sisters are in the path of advancing rebels.

My sisters, who have become like family, are 200+ grassroots women leaders who have been using their own homegrown Internet café to report out about life in their war-torn region. For the past two weeks, they have been flooding the wires with their signals of distress. "Please pray for us," they cried. "Enough is enough."

Enough is enough. For the past 16 years, DRC has been called the most dangerous place in the world for women, and the UN has crudely dubbed it the "rape capital of the world." A deadly cauldron of competing rebel groups and corrupt government forces fighting for power and control over natural resources has ravaged local communities, resulting in approximately 6 million dead. With the recent attack on Goma, the rebel group called M23 broke an uneasy peace agreement that had lasted for nearly six years-a move that resulted in over 140,000 fleeing the city. Worse, it was a move that could trigger a domino effect of brutal military retaliation with civilians caught in the crossfire. That is-if the world continues to look away.

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