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Will Nikki Haley's Tears Flow into a River of Compassion for Congo?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Georgianne Nienaber       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

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Nikki Haley and Congolese Rape Victim
(Image by @NikkiHaley Twitter Feed)
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The tears were hardly dry on the face of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's face when rioting broke out the provincial capitol of Goma in the ironically named Democratic Republic of Congo. Nine people were killed early this morning, including at least one policeman, as residents protested the regime of strongman Joseph Kabila. 4 AM cell-phone photos from Goma and the Rwanda border town of Gisenyi reveal the carnage of victims lying in pools of blood, but they are too graphic to post here. According to Radio Okapi, protesters resisted the police for at least five hours. "Overwhelmed, the police had to appeal to the regular Congolese Army (FARDC) for reinforcement. The UN operates Radio Okapi, and its account of wounded and dead are in conflict with local witnesses.

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Haley was in DRC last week to meet with Kabila. According to reports from the Agence France-Presse (AFP), and other sources, Haley told Kabila to hold elections in 2018 if he wants to count on American backing. Kabila has a target date of 2019, which will not hold, given past promises and obfuscations. His term expired December 16, 2016.

"For every day which goes by without holding elections, a woman is raped, a child has an unwanted pregnancy, children are inducted by armed groups," Haley said.

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We can only hope that the recent bloody news from Goma, combined with Haley's emotional visit to the Mungote Camp in Kitchanga, translates into a river of compassion. News reports in the US mainstream focused on Haley's difficult visit with rape survivors and her first-hand look at the atrocious conditions in an IDP camp of 15,000 located 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Goma. Haley also traveled to to Ethiopia and South Sudan, where she met with President Salva Kiir. Congo was the final stop on Ambassador Haley's visit.

As someone who has visited similar camps, I can tell you that there is no way one can leave and forget. What has been seen cannot be unseen, even with the passage of years. The photos I took from 2009-2012 look much like the photos that were released by Haley's team.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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