Documentary Photography

Documentary photography is a vital tool to communicate an injustice, a social problem, or other current issues.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dr. Denis Mukwege (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Dr. Denis Mukwege's  courageous work healing women survivors of war-time sexual violence and speaking up about its root causes.

Dr. Denis Mukwege is a gynecologist working in the war-torn region of Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As the chief surgeon of Panzi hospital, he and his colleagues have treated about 40,000 rape victims, developing great expertise in the treatment of serious gynaecological injuries. Despite attacks on his life, Denis Mukwege speaks up tirelessly to raise awareness about the realities of the Congolese war and its grave, lasting consequences for girls and women.  
Education
Denis Mukwege was born on 1 March 1955 in what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He studied medicine in Burundi and started practicing at the Christian Hospital at Lemera in South Kivu in the Eastern DRC. Shocked by the appalling difficulties of Congolese women in childbirth, he decided to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology. After completing his studies in France, he returned to South Kivu in 1989.  
The Panzi Hospital
In 1996 the hospital at Lemera was completely destroyed in the civil war. With the help of international aid organisations, Dr. Mukwege then founded the Panzi Hospital in the Panzi neighbourhood of Bukavu and became its manager and chief surgeon. Today, the hospital has four departments: obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, surgery, and internal medicine. Panzi Hospital has been serving as a university hospital for the Universit√© Evangelique d´Afrique which started its operations near the hospital in 2011.
The Panzi hospital is best known for its gynaecological skills, including fistula repair. Mukwege is training staff to help with these complications, in collaboration with, among others, the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa (founded by Catherine Hamlin, Right Livelihood Award 2009) and Harvard Medical School.
From 1999 on, Dr. Mukwege began to see a new level of extremely cruel sexualised violence in the Eastern DRC. He began seeing patients whose entire vagina and rectum had been destroyed with knives or other objects. Since then, Dr. Mukwege and his team at Panzi hospital have treated around 40,000 victims of sexual violence. Dr. Mukwege himself sees 20 patients each day, of which 7-10 suffer from health issues and injuries due to sexual violence. Compared to other conditions treated at the hospital, these cause the biggest psychological and surgical challenges. Dr. Mukwege has reported that it happens that a woman he has treated successfully is raped again and comes back to the hospital, with no more chance for the surgeon to repair her reproductive organs once again.
Dr. Mukwege says: “The perpetrators of these crimes destroy life at its entry point. The women can no longer have children. Often they get infected with AIDS and will spread the disease. Their men are humiliated. So the perpetrators destroy the entire social fabric of their enemies, their communities, their future generations, without even killing the woman. A line has been crossed here, which should have been an absolute taboo. But because those parts of the body are not usually visible, it is not as obvious as other forms of mutilation.”
A big problem in the DRC is that perpetrators enjoy a large degree of impunity, even if they can be identified.
In 2013, Panzi hospital had 398 employees and an annual budget of USD 3.2 million. The hospital has 450 beds, of which 250 are reserved for victims of sexual violence. Patients who cannot afford the care are treated free of charge.
Reintegration and support
Besides medical support, Panzi tries to provide its patients psychological counselling, legal advice, and a perspective for those who cannot go back to their former lives. This work includes DORCAS in Bukavu, a mother-child compound for women who have been released from the hospital and are coached to start an existence with microfinance help.
In addition, Mukwege has set up the Panzi Foundation. It has two full-time employees working out of the Panzi hospital premises, two lawyers and eight volunteer lawyers. The foundation provides assistance and legal clinics for victims of sexual violence around a number of legal topics (heritage, family law, divorce, adoption), psychological counselling, trainings in women’s rights and family living, work against early marriage, health advice workshops, and trainings for community leaders.
Urging the international community to bring an end to the conflict in Eastern DRC 
Recognizing that his medical work treats the victims but cannot prevent new violence, Dr. Mukwege has been traveling the world and giving countless interviews to alert the international community about the horrors of the conflict in Eastern DRC.
He says: “In reality, this conflict is not about ethnicity, but it is a territorial conflict about mineral resources. The region of Kivu is rich in coltan, which is needed for mobile phones and laptops. Without the political will the situation will not change. These underlying problems cannot be solved through my work.”
Dr. Mukwege says that the DRC needs a professional, predominantly female police force and an army that protects its people and that excludes those who have destroyed the country. Mukwege is afraid that if the international peacekeepers leave the country before a functional army and police have been established, there will be chaos. He also demands an international criminal tribunal for the DRC like those for Sierra Leone and Yugoslavia.
In a speech at the UN on 25 September 2012, Mukwege called for the UN’s “unanimous condemnation of the rebel groups who are responsible for these acts [of sexualised violence]” and for “concrete actions with regard to member states of the United Nations who support these barbarities from near or afar”. He said: “We do not need more proof, we need action, urgent action to arrest those responsible for these crimes against humanity and to bring them to justice. Justice is not negotiable.”
Assassination attempt and current situation
One month after Mukwege’s speech at the UN, five armed men in civilian clothes slipped into his house in Bukavu while he was away. When he returned in his vehicle, they attacked him, but one of his staff, Joseph Bizimana, distracted the murderers and was killed by them. He saved Mukwege’s life. The local authorities claim they found the murderers, but no trial was held, and none of the witnesses were called to testify. Mukwege decided to escape to Europe with his wife and two daughters.
In his absence, local women’s groups protested against the attack to the authorities, started to collect money for a flight ticket for Mukwege to come home, and promised him they would ensure his security by taking turns to guard him, with groups of 20 women volunteering in shifts around the clock. Moved by their courage and support, Mukwege returned to Bukavu in January 2013. Driving from the airport to the hospital, he was met by cheering crowds. He now lives and works day and night at the Panzi Hospital, continuously accompanied by two bodyguards.
In May 2013, the Panzi Hospital reported that now even small children are becoming victims of sexualised violence: when nine girls not older than five years, were brutally raped in South Kivu, two of them died of their injuries and the others were treated at Panzi hospital for their severe complications.  
Honours
Among the many awards bestowed upon Dr. Mukwege are the UN Human Rights prize (2008), the Olof Palme Prize (2009) and the King Baudouin International Development Prize (2011). In 2009, the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust named him “African of the Year”. He is also recipient of the 2013 Human Rights First Award.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jessie J - Price Tag lipdub by 500 women in Uganda





Great video....love it.....MUSIC Universal language and DANCE......

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rwanda Silverback Mountain Gorilla's

A beautiful and informative video by Charles Annen Weingarten founder of Expore.org

His trip to Rwanda, in Virunga National Park with Craig Sholley of the African Wildlife Foundation.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Paul Chappell


Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Peaceful Revolution - "How we can create the future needed for humanity's survival."  Paul Chappell
A must see video of Capt. Paul Chappell talks about why world peace is both necessary and possible in the 21st Century.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

James Nachtwey


TED talk with video of images by James Nachtwey

James Nachtwey, the greatest war photographer of our time, and humanitarian, he and his work has inspired me for many years.  He has traveled the world covering wars, and catastrophes, documenting what he has witnessed.
James Nachtwey has risked his life to show us the pain war causes to men, women, children, families, homes, villages, towns, countries and governments.  His images also tell the stories of the inhumane weapons of war.  I believe James risks his life, to bring these images of awareness to us, so we can take action, to never have these atrocities repeated.

This video is graphic, but important.

http://www.ted.com/talks/james_nachtwey_s_searing_pictures_of_war.html

Friday, March 9, 2012

KONY 2012

In Northern Uganda a rebel leader named Joseph Kony  of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) began his horrific crimes against humanity by recruiting children and forcing them to kill. Kony does this for POWER only. These children are innocent victims and Kony must be stopped.  Invisible Children's, Jason Russell one of the founders, has began a campaign to STOP KONY by the end of 2012, through social network.  WE can be a part of ending almost 30 years of horrific torture, rape, murder and the brainwashing of children. Kony is wanted by the ICC (International Criminal Courts) for War Crimes Against Humanity.  PLEASE be an advocate and HELP bring Kony out of the bush, to be held accountable for his actions. Save a child, change a life, change a world.

1998 Christiane Amanpour went to Uganda and THIS is her report on 60 MINUTES. After this report Kony continued his horrific crimes for another 14 years. TOGETHER WE CAN STOP KONY NOW!!!!!

                               
                                                                  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Uganda Journalists under Attack

Journalists’ cameras and notebooks were confiscated by security agents as they sought to recently stop peaceful demonstrations in Uganda. An estimated 20 journalists and bloggers are on bail facing different criminal charges and risk attending to their charges while in jail if the recent proposal by the president to amend the constitution to ensure that journalists and other suspects thought to be enemies of the state do not receive bail for six months after arrest. Recently police raided the offices of a local newspaper; Ggwanga, and arrested four employees allegedly for filming the police and military while brutally breaking a peaceful demonstration and President Yoweri Museveni publicly singled out Al-Jazeera, the BBC, NTV and the Daily Monitor as the "the enemies of Uganda’s recovery” for their consistent coverage of State atrocities.

ARTICLE 19 has over the past years been concerned about the deteriorating freedom of expression situation in Uganda including attacks on the media.