Violence in measured doses

Updated 17 May 2015
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Violence in measured doses

Nature’s assault on Nepal and the realization that science has no empirical capability for predicting earthquakes is, by far, the planet’s biggest fear. There has always been that vague belief that seismography is highly advanced but clearly it is a misplaced faith. Not all the terrorists in the world can wreak the havoc that one 40-second spike on the Richter scale can achieve…and we are helpless in the face of it.

The rumblings between Israel and Palestine have begun again following the papal benediction for the recognition of the Palestinian state. How many more years will this impasse continue.

The tension in Syria continues to build and the killing of a top IS leader by US troops will only escalate the violence. There is no end in sight for this war torn nation and no effort to find a solution.

Unease takes an upward turn after former Egyptian President Mursi is given the death sentence. Even though he can appeal, the brotherhood party has begun rattling its sabres and another convulsion could well be on the cards. Egypt, by its very size and position, sends aftershocks to the region and what happens there is seldom in isolation. The murder of two judges immediately after is an unhappy portent of the future.

Asian states toy with immigrants and boat people and the current load of civilians refugees from Myanmar being shunted away from Thailand and then given the heave-ho by Malaysia and stuck on the high seas form a humanitarian problem that will only increase. No one wants the wretched and the poor.

The much hoped for 5-day truce in Yemen faltered and failed to either get warring factions to the negotiating table for a more durable peace or sufficiently manage to get aid and food to the afflicted. With the technical end of that break in hostilities the echo of the gun will increase.

The era of the individual terrorist whether it is for ten minutes of sour fame or part of a larger agenda is not likely to be impacted upon by the death sentence given to the Boston Marathon bomber. The prolonged appeals system in the States actually ends up romanticizing the killer and giving other demented individuals ideas. Being on death row for the next two decades is scarcely a deterrent. Ask the victims of the 12-year-old suicide bomber in Nigeria earlier this week.

Violence in Pakistan continues to slip off the pages with little reverence. The cold-blooded killings of 44 people aboard a bus are one more sordid link in the ongoing bloodspills and the presence of two IS leaders in Peshawar only makes it more worrisome.

Not that much of the world cares but the coup in Burundi earlier this week adds to the current destabilization in Africa. Fighting is intense and casualties are rising and even as news comes in that the military general who led the coup uprising has failed to dislodge President Nkurunziza the reprisals should form a backdrop for more divisiveness in the coming days.

And on a brighter note but still underscoring the multiple and random attacks on women and their exploitation globally the UN has called for a united effort to stop the foul play. From Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to Dec. 10, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls.

The statistics of Project Orange are scary:
• 35% of women and girls globally experience some manner of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.

• It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain vulnerable and more than 130 million girls and women are forced into marriage.

• Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 26 min 53 sec ago
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.