April 30, 2008

The Heartless Stone - Fianna's Report, Part 1

A few weeks back at church, Dikembe Mutombo was mentioned. He is from the Congo, a country on a continent that continues to experience war, a militia ruled way of life. Mutombo originally came to the U.S. to become a doctor. Being 7+ feet tall, he was recruited into basketball, where he has spent the last 17 years. He now plays with the Houston Rockets.

A person I work with on a regular basis, adopted a girl from the Congo a couple years back. At the time of the adoption, there were discussions about the treatment of women in the Congo at the time and the need for intervention, and absent that intervention, a need for the adoption of the orphans of the war that has drug on through the country. It has been wonderful to follow this lucky girl’s story since she came to the States, where she is quickly becoming a typical U.S. teenager.

When I sat down to write this initially, I pulled up a few things on the Congo. I include the following quote, not to frighten or shock or disgust anyone (although it will). I include it because I don’t think I can do justice with words of my own on how this is going to haunt me. By including it, I hope it haunts you and makes you understand why I have turned a book into a multi-part blog series.

On July 30, 2007, a report by Yakin Erturk, special rapporteur for the United Nations Human Rights Council on violence against women, found extreme sexual violence against women is pervasive in the DRC and local authorities do little to stop it or prosecute those responsible. Her report also found 'women are gang raped, often in front of their families and communities. In numerous cases, male relatives are forced at gun point to rape their own daughters, mothers or sisters.' Survivors told Ertuck that after rape, many women are held as slaves by the gangs and forced to eat excrement or the flesh of their murdered relatives. (Link)

My interest in the region of the world where this is occurring started because of the adoption of that girl. Some time after that, I saw Blood Diamond. Currently, I am reading a book right at the heart of this, which is why this is so large on my radar. The Heartless Stone by Tom Zoellner. I have done some web research in order to supplement what is going to end up being quite a long book report. Otherwise, all facts, all quotes, come from this book. I have referenced page numbers on many portions I have quoted or otherwise plagiarized. This book is phenomenal. I devoured it, I cried, I was moved enough that it has 30+ dog-eared pages and the library has refused to allow me to renew it for a 3rd time. Therefore, I am going to be paying a hefty fine for the privilege of holding onto this book for much longer than I should have. I recommend that you read it on your own. I have highlighted things about the diamond trade that struck me. I have left out many, many things.

Over the next few days, I will be posting about diamonds. I hesitate to call them blood diamonds, because people will say, there is a certification process to ensure that blood diamonds cease to exist. The issue is much larger than blood diamonds. It is a culture. A culture created by some clever marketing over the past 60-70 years.

Sit down, buckle up.


Kaytabug said...

Sweet! I am going to be riveted! This is an eye opener, I love those!! I am in awe of how much time and effort you have put into this, you aren't even going to get credit for it, quick sign up for an English class!!

sophie said...

I am so glad you have decided to post this. Waiting patiently....

Joy T. said...

Kaytabug gave a shout out to your blog on Twitter so I followed the link over here. Glad I did. Really great post!

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