sexta-feira, 31 de dezembro de 2010

My Club - part 2


To finish this story I will tell you about the one that really caught my heart, the one that made me smile more often and for sure the one that I miss the most, more than 1 year after I left Congo .

Dorika, my sweet DorikaI believe he was 5 years old, and was among the many children that “lived” in the surgical ward…. He was there because his father was one of the long-stay patients that we had on our ward. A couple of weeks after I arrived in Masisi--Congo, my boss asked to talk to me in private … to explain us some important facts about a patient that he was going to get from the “enemy” of the Congolese Army. His name was Sikito Emanuel (Dorika´s Father) and he was Rwandese and one of the soldiers of the FDLR…. If I would explain you the complexity of the Congo´s war it would take me many written pages, and for sure you would still be confused… Anyway, just a few interesting facts, and I will never try to get very political in my writings, as I am only a Doctor whose job is to treat and save lives, but one needs to understand what we are dealing with… The story of this war in Congo basically starts in 1994 in Rwanda, when the majority of the Rwandese designated by the Europeans, as Hutus, 90% of the Rwandese population, decides to kill the other 10% that have been ruling the country, the Tutsi. During give or take 3 months, they killed, slaughtered… committed genocide,…… using not much more than machetes, 1 million people from the 7 million total Rwandese population at the time (I know !! more than 10%.... and for sure not all the Tutsi, as they are still there… complicated). The Hutu movement was led by a revolutionary force called the Interahamwe, which are blamed as the group responsible for the genocide…. 1 million people with (very delayed) help of the international community the genocide was controlled and the guilty ones persecuted, and so the Interahamwe escaped …. Where to???? Congo, the green amazing mountains of Congo, an already totally fucked up country, is the perfect place to hide and resist to the yet Tutsi power … so the Interahamwe are still in Eastern Congo (in the area where I was), heavily armed, highly trained, and still very motivated to get inside their country once again. That’s why they called themselves lately FDLR, Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda, which brings me back to Sikito Emanuel… and my boss’s private conversation! My boss told me and the Surgeon that an FDLR soldier was about to come to the hospital, with a gunshot wound … Its tough to deal with this issues like Doctors Without Borders (DWB/MSF) do….. we either treat everybody or nobody, either we treat all sides of the conflicts or none…. MSF stands for the human lives… and no matter the color, political views or religious beliefs, our devotion will be the same, and it´s very important, not only that we act like that, but also that people know that we act like that…. Meaning, our mission is not to interfere, our mission is to save lives, and if one side of the conflict wants to be treated by MSF, they have to know that the other sides will also be treated in the same hospital as equals…. this is very difficult to accomplish as you can imagine, because you can never please everybody and they will always say that you are helping the enemy! So the Congolese Army would try to prevent MSF from treating the rebels, but my boss made it very clear that, sick or injured will always be seen as equals in the hospital. In fact my boss made extra efforts to reach to rebels areas (as you can read in my story Zone Rouge so everybody knows that MSF, doesn’t support any side of the conflict! But in the hospital Sikito and others would try to avoid talking too much, not to be spotted by the Army, because It could happen that the soldiers would arrest him with guns in the hospital, even though it´s forbidden by the Geneva Convention (who cares about that in the middle of Africa?!), or they would arrest him the minute he left the hospital… They spoke a different language, in the case of the FDLR was Kinyarwanda (language spoken in Rwanda but not in Congo).

So you can understand the emotional pressure that we lived in the hospital. As far as I know, only me, my boss and the surgeon knew about the fact that he was an FDLR, nobody else in the hospital knew about it … Someone could have suspected though!

So Sikito had a fracture of his femur caused by a Kalashnikov bullet during the conflicts, but worse than the fact that he had like 10 cms of bone missing was the infection of the bone. He came days/weeks after being shot and for that reason that is very, very hard to treat if possible at all…. So Sikito was alone in the hospital, lying down all the time, talked to nobody and went many times to the operation room to clean his horrible bone infection…. He arrived very dehydratated and weak, could hardly speak…. and despite the infection itself was not getting any better, his general condition became much better…. was slim but strong, with big expressive eyes, shy but with a warm smile…. we could speak some words of English (in Rwanda, French and English are the official European languages)… And would give us an enormous smile to the “How are you?” question, with a convincing “I am fine!”

After many days his wife and kid came! And Sikito looked quite happy because of that, maybe he was risking his life and his family´s lives, because all of them were Rwandese and Dorika, probably born in Congo, couldn’t speak Swahili, just Kinyarwanda….
So Dorika, became part of the many kids of my daily life…. And he immediately caught my eye. He was very sweet and easy going…. always smiling like no other, and extremely active…. running and playing under the beds…. He became crazy about me and I for him….He would run to me the moment he saw me in the morning….. and loved my tricks…. when I lifted him up in the air he would go wild and always excited for going higher and higher…. He was nice for the other kids and even though he couldn’t speak with them, I could see that he was getting along with the other small fellows just great….

Sikito, his wife and Dorika stayed in the hospital until the day they I left and still his infection didn’t look like it was going anywhere, but we had hope and were very devoted not to amputate him…. So, for like 3 months there was not a single day that I didn’t played with Dorika, he was mad about my glove balloons, and sometimes I went with him for a short walk around the hospital… They are sooooo easy, they just come and enjoy the moment with no fears or doubts … one of the sweetest memories that I have of him was the way he spoke…. Probably because kids learn very fast, Dorika was able to learn some Swahili meanwhile I could say just a few words … that of course I used all the time….
In Swahili, they use a lot “Pólé Pólé” which means “slowly”, and represents in a way the African style…. So, sometimes I would go for that short walk with Maria on my lap (that couldn´t walk with the platter) and holding Dorika´s hand … but Dorika wanted to go always faster and faster….so I was always repeating “Pólé Pólé Dorika” and he would repeat it in the sweetest way without pronouncing the “L”, something like …. “Póié Póié” !! And I would repeat it just to hear him say it!! The same would happen with the: “Habari gani?” (How are you?) “Muzuri” (Good)…. But Dorika´s version of the “Muzuri” was once again the sweetest thing….”Muzuii”… Just some small and stupid things to explain the love that I have for this child.

But one day my world collapsed!!! Well, I am exaggerating…. But when I saw Dorika with a long green dress…. I was a bit shocked, and thought to myself... I understand that this is Africa and they are extremely poor, with barely no cloths for their kids or themselves, but to dress a young boy with a long and strong green dress, is a bit too much!!!” I guess it was my “macho latino” perspective that considered outrageous dressing a young boy like that, that could maybe cause him a huge psychological trauma for the rest of his life!But despite my anger, another thought crossed my mind: “Is it possible that my brave and wild young friend is a girl???” kids shave their hair, sometimes even adult women, for hygienic purposes, so it´s hard to tell…. and he acted like a boy as far as my instinct goes…. I was very wrong!!! He was a she!! I asked the nurses and they confirmed!! My sweetest boy was a girl! So many times playing with her and I couldn’t tell…. I guess I was a bit disappointed, for stupid reasons, of course!! Well, my great relationship with her didn’t change a bit, in fact it grew and grew day by day, and my love and admiration for this brave young girl was just getting too strong… A day came when I decided to give all the kids some key chains, that my sister gave me, with the word Portugal on it, and like every other thing that you would give them, it made them extremely happy, even though that key chain was completely useless to them… They were happy and I was becoming sadder, while my departure day was approaching… I always imagined that I would go to the hospital right before I leave to give everybody a warm goodbye…. But when the day came, I just couldn’t….. I guess that’s why I was there, the attraction for strong feelings, but some are just too hard to handle, too intense…. these kids that I wrote you about, specially Dorika, were the biggest reason why I didn’t say goodbye to anybody of the hospital, that became my life for 4 months…. the thought of looking at them for the last time was breathtaking! I had no idea what kind of thoughts those kids had about these strange white people that were there in their country…. but I didn’t want them to see me crying with no possibility of saying anything to explain… It was extremely difficult to arrive in Congo and to adapt to life in a war zone…. But leaving it was much more difficult and painful!

These kids, My Club, are the reason why I had to write, and tell you about some of my intimate feelings, and a reality hard to handle, but that cannot be forgotten as we, Human beings, are all the same….

And now in my European comfort I ask myself, where is this amazing kid that caught my heart and whose life story tells us a bit about the complexity of the worst war that we are leaving in our planet since World War II?

segunda-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2010

Bom Exemplo

Escrevi eu no meu blog há algum tempo atrás num post "How can I help?" em resposta às muitas perguntas que me faziam, o que é que o comum dos mortais pode fazer para ajudar a resolver estes problemas tão graves e complexos dos nossos dias...

E resumidamente, com imaginação, boa vontade e usando as nossas capacidades e qualidades , tudo é possível!

A Patrícia, desenha e faz jóias há muito tempo e inconformada com o sofrimento dos milhares de mulheres que foram e são violadas na Guerra do Congo, decidiu transformar em arte os sentimentos que estas tremendas injustiças lhe despertam, e com isso dar 5 % do seu trabalho a uma instituição que apoia estas mulheres violadas, e cuja a vida ficou estragada para sempre...

Não porque precise de publicidade (pq nunca seria esse o objectivo do meu blog), mas que porque sei que estas boas acções contagiam, é com muito orgulho que partilho este bom exemplo que deveria servir de inspiração para todos !!

Parabéns Patrícia por teres querido abrir os olhos quando é tão mais fácil não ver!

Quantos de nós estão dispostos a dar 5% do seu trabalho a quem mais precisa? Dá que pensar....

segunda-feira, 22 de novembro de 2010

My Club - part 1

My Club

When I was a child and my mother would see me playing with a group (3 would be enough)… she used to say something like “what a nice little club?”… and that’s what I had in the hospital of Masisi a real nice little club… It was not always the same, some came in and out as they or their family member would be admitted or released from the hospital.

When you don’t know the language , its not that easy to establish bonds,
but children are very different, with very simple things you can gain their smile and their trust and make friends…. Like all the other children in the world, their charm would warm anybodies soul not matter what… And I guess that when you are away from home, with barely any contact from the rest of the world, you need more than ever to warm up your soul in order to get in touch with your feelings, to find a reason to smile, to help you forget the fact that you are in the middle of a war and all the ones that you love are so so far away…
And bit by bit, with tricks, smiles and symbolic gifts, I found myself very connected to some of the children of the hospital…. and I will tell you about some of them. 

My life was pretty much at the hospital, and our base/house was 500 mts away from the hospital, so more than ever I lived to work, and I think I counted that in 4 months I didn’t go to the hospital 3 or 4 Sundays, all the other days was work, work, work, many times with no breaks, no food until late at night… so of course when you live to work, the relationships that you establish in the hospital are stronger, as they really become all that matters in your life…
Our daily life (mine and the Surgeon) was almost every day the same, if there was no emergency to be operated, we would have a meeting in the morning with the local staff… Congolese love meetings… it was a huge waste of time… and we tried to fight against it…. but it was not easy, they love to discuss about nothing…. They would create a meeting to determine who would keep the key of a certain closet and that could last an hour… In the end we managed to end many of those meetings so we could have more time to treat patients …. But that’s the barriers that you find when you work in Africa, its not just the war or the lack of means it’s a whole mentality that is very different from ours… So after the meeting we would make the round of the Surgical ward… It was interesting and many times very funny, the conversations, the translations, between Swahili, French and English it could be a big mess…. And we would go one by one patient to see how they were doing, establish treatments and plan the surgeries for the day! I, as an Anaesthesiologist would mainly made the decisions about the most critically ill, I took care of course the pain management, the fluids, and the antibiotics, and of course I would evaluate the ones that were about to be anesthetized and operated… But many other things, about the surgical decisions didn’t concern me, even tough I was always listening to what was going on…. But it was mostly during this morning hours that I played with my small friends… Sometimes one or more would hold my hand and would join the group that was doing the rounds!! It was my happiest moments of the day most of the times…. I just loved to lift them up in air, make balloons out of the hospital plastic gloves, make races, gave them pens so they could draw (I am sure that many had never seen a pen or a pencil)… and with few words and body language we had some fun…. It was an amazing feeling that some would run to me, the moment that they saw me in the morning…. probably because they wanted another glove balloon that was a huge success… but still it was great to feel special to those children who directly or indirectly suffered so much because of that horrible war…
Most of them I never knew their name, even tough was one of the few sentences that I knew how to say in Swahili “Jina Lako nani?” “What is your name?”, but their names where very difficult to understand and repeat, so most of them have no names to me, but still I will remember forever…

2 sweet girls, these 2 sisters that were direct victims of the war were already subject of one of my previous stories…. For many reasons they are part of my favourite group. I remember like if it was today their fresh wounds caused by bullets of a Kalashnikov, their bloody cloths, their laud screams, and of course their evolution, seeing their smile for the first time, gaining their trust, taking them many times to the operation room, against their will that’s for sure….but with the feeling that they knew who I was, and they trusted me somehow, and that of course made a huge difference when I had to inject them with intramuscular Ketamine… Tuliza´s bed was many times the meeting point of the other children because she couldn’t walk due to the bullet that destroyed her foot… Over there, every time I called any of the Congolese by their name, the immediate answer would be “present” in French… And I came to understand that in Swahili, they would do the same, but it sounded something like “abê”… I every time I passed by Tuliza…. I would call her : “Tulizaaa !!” And she would answer with an extremely sweet and shy smile “abê”…. And I just loved it …

(Noemie, the other fat girl and Tuliza eating on their bed)

(Tuliza.... with a keychain that I gave to many of them just before I leave)


(Tuliza, Noemie, and the other fat girl)

(Tuliza, with one of the balloons made of hospital gloves)

The most beautiful eyes…a story yet to be written ….soon I hope.

(The most beautiful eyes, holding her brother that was shot)

(The most beautiful eyes with her brother, Maria, her brother and Dorika)

The other fat girl…. She was similar to Tuliza, but fatter, and she was also part of the group….but I have no idea why. Was she sick? I don’t think so… So maybe she was related to some patient from a different part of the hospital…. she was many times around, but I have no idea where she came from… and she looked great with the others…. always smiling and asking me for something.
(The other fat girl)

(Dorika, Maria´s brother, the other fat girl, and Maria)

(The other fat girl, Tuliza)

My best friend for a while…. A young boy (10 years old) that made a huge impression on me… Young enough to enjoy playing as a child, but old enough to act as an adult, with more than laughs and smiles between us… A person that I miss and inspired me to be tough like him…. A story that I already wrote but sometimes I feel like writing a lot more about him….

Maria…. so much to say about Maria…. probably the most famous character of the Hospital of Masisi for a long while, part of my life when I was there and many times still in my mind, now that there has been a year since I left  Maria was 5 years old, and she was “living” in the hospital for already 3 months before I arrived in Masisi, and after 4 months when I left she was still there…. Not victim of the war, “just” victim of poverty…. She was severely burned… There is no electricity, so a lot depended on fire and boiling water…. And children were victims over and over of the lack of safety of this old fashion way of living. Maria had burns in many parts of her body that healed, but the posterior part of her leg, was tough to handle… Many skin grafts were attempted, but the dirty environment caused many infections of that never ending wound… She was sad… sad eyes, sad expression…. I had to put a lot of effort to make her smile… And she was by far the one that I spent more time with, and gave more attention…. Once I found some painting book with color pencils …. But it didn’t have the effect that I expected…. I tried to explain how to paint …. But I realised that it was just a too different world !! She never saw it before, and I guess  that those kind of things just don’t happen in that part of the world… But I had a great surprise on my next gift … I found a magazine in our base with a poster of Elephants …. So I gave it to her and I glued it on the wall with tape… She seamed very happy with her new “decoration” of her wall right above her bed in the hospital… When I got to her the next day, the poster wasn’t there… I was a bit frustrated and thought to my self, that it was normal that something so fragile would get destroyed very easily…. so I asked to a nurse to ask her where were the Elephants …. And Maria pointed to the window saying something like “they run away to the jungle!” …. But to my big surprise, some days after the poster was on the wall again, and again I asked what happened…. so she said smiling that “The Elephants came back from the jungle because they missed me!”…. Nonsense moments that made me feel in love with this little girl…. Here mother was “very” pregnant like all the African women….. they are always pregnant…… , and while Maria was at the hospital she kept on working….(life never stops for them)…. Collecting and selling wood and other stuff like that…. So Maria was most of time alone, and most of the time with platter in her leg in order to heal the wound…Poor girl.


(Maria, and Dorika)

(Maria with the painting book that I gave her, about to get very messy)
(Maria with shaved hair. They do it to most of the girls for hygienic purposes)

Maria´s brother….Maria´s brother was around…. I don’t know if you understood by now, but when some family member is in the hospital, all the family stays there or around….many times they come from far villages, that could be from a distance of days walking…. So they are there, and at night I saw 3, 4, 5 persons sleeping in one bed….or under the beds….hygienic isn’t it? … but there is no other way for that African standart… So, this boy was less than 2 years old, like many other children always dirty, specially the nose, and would only change from 2 or 3 extremely old t-shirts… Always running around with very small steps, he was also a very sweet part of my day… I had with him what I call a triphasic relashionship…. Progressively, he started by fearing me, running way from me, and crying when I tried to say hello to him…to a phase when my presence was accepted with smiles but still very afraid of any contact with the “Muzungu”…. To an amazing last phase when he would run extremely happy to me every time he saw me, and with no effort he jumped to my lap….

(Maria´s brother)

video ( My club washing some stuff... since very young they have to take care of them selves)

To be continued.......

quarta-feira, 8 de setembro de 2010

Mais Noticias. Jornal de Notícias

Mais de 500 violações na República do Congo


As Nações Unidas revelaram que foram cometidas mais de 500 violações sistemáticas por combatentes armados na zona oriental da República Democrática do Congo desde Julho - mais do dobro do que fora inicialmente reportado.

De acordo com o secretário-geral adjunto para a Manutenção da Paz, Atul Khare, a somar às 242 violações registadas na aldeia de Luvungi e arredores há relatos de 260 outras violações ocorridas em Uvira e outras localidades da região de Kivu.

Na aldeia de Miki há registo de 74 casos de violência sexual, incluindo de 21 meninas entre os 7 e 15 anos, e na aldeia de Kiluma todas as mulheres terão sido sistematicamente violadas.

O responsável da ONU apela a que os rebeldes das Forças Democráticas de Libertação do Ruanda e das milícias congolesas Mai-Mai, apontados como responsáveis pelos ataques, sejam processados e os seus líderes castigados.

O estupro como arma de guerra tornou-se comum no Leste da República Democrática do Congo, onde, de acordo com as Nações Unidas, 8.300 violações foram reportadas em 2009, podendo muitas outras ter sido ocultadas.

sexta-feira, 27 de agosto de 2010

Notícias de O Público

Será possível chorar e rir ao mesmo tempo? Eu acho que sim...é esse antagonismo de sentimentos que África me transmite e foi também assim que fiquei ao ler aquilo que vos transcrevo do jornal "O Público" para quem quiser ler .... Indignado com o facto da pior guerra do nosso planeta desde que eu sou gente não ter mediatismo significativo e como tal a resolução desta não está para breve, vejo estas notícias sucessivas com alguma alegria, apesar de saber que poucos a leram e os que lêem provavelmente terão o reflexo defensivo de pensar "...estas coisas que acontecem sabe-se lá onde...." Mas eu estive lá.....e para mim não são números.... e a distância que protege a maioria dos que me lêem....não protege quem viu, ouviu e sentiu tudo isto sem filtros ou barreiras.....

Não temos que chorar e sentirmo-nos mal quando lemos isto, temos que encarar com um sorriso na cara e força na alma.... para lutar que os direitos básicos sejam garantidos a todos os seres humanos do nosso querido planeta.

Uma equipa das Nações Unidas que estuda os direitos humanos confirmou que elementos de dois grupos armados violaram no fim de Julho mais de 150 mulheres e crianças num ataque a uma aldeia da província do Kivu Norte, no Leste da República Democrática do Congo (RDC).

“As vítimas do ataque verificado na aldeia de Bunangiri estão a receber tratamento médico e apoio psico-social”, disse em Nova Iorque um porta-voz do secretário-geral da ONU, Ban Ki-moon. Os atacantes pertencem às Forças Democráticas para a Libertação do Ruanda (FDLR) e à milícia local dos Mai-Mai-Cheka.

As FDLR são um grupo de hutus refugiados no Leste da RDC desde que em 1994 participaram no genocídio de cerca de 800.000 no vizinho Ruanda. Têm como chefe militar o general Sylvestre Mudacu, que chegou a ser comandante adjunto da Guarda Presidencial ruandesa, antes da chegada ao poder do tutsi Paul Kagamé, que há poucos dias foi reeleito Presidente do país.

Os hutus são o estrato social maioritário da sociedade do Ruanda e dedicam-se essencialmente ao cultivo da terra, enquanto os tutsis são criadores de gado e costumam ocupar os cargos administrativos e militares.

Segundo o Fundo das Nações Unidas para a População, que promove o direito de todas as mulheres, homens e crianças terem uma vida saudável, com oportunidades idênticas, mais de 8000 mulheres foram violadas no ano passado por diferentes facções em conflito nas províncias congolesas do Kivu Norte e Kivu Sul.

( E foi aqui no Kivu Norte onde eu estive a 87 Km (6 a 12 horas de 4x4) para Oeste de Goma)

Muitas vezes, as mulheres são violadas tanto por rebeldes como por soldados do próprio exército nacional, quando saem das suas aldeias ou acampamentos para arranjar lenha, água e outros bens essenciais. Alguns grupos humanitários já chegaram a classificar o Kivu Norte, uma região com uma população avaliada em 5,7 milhões de habitantes, como a zona mais perigosa da Terra para mulheres e crianças.

O secretário-geral das Nações Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, enviou para a República Democrática do Congo (RDC) o seu adjunto para as operações de manutenção da paz, Atul Khare, a fim de investigar as notícias de violações em massa ocorridas no fim de Julho no Leste daquele país africano.

Grupos humanitários disseram que perto de 200 mulheres foram violadas durante uma operação que elementos rebeldes efectuaram durante quatro dias na província do Kivu Norte, a alguns quilómetros de um quartel da força da ONU estacionada na conturbada região.

Um dos grupos disse mesmo que muitas das mulheres foram sucessivamente violadas por conjuntos de dois a seis homens armados, pertencentes às Forças Democráticas para a Libertação do Ruanda (FDLR) e à milícia local dos Mai-Mai.

De acordo com uma equipa das Nações Unidas que se debruçou sobre o assunto, pelo menos 154 civis foram violados e maltratados aquando da ocupação de Luvungi e outras 12 aldeias distribuídas ao longo de um troço de 21 quilómetros, de 30 de Julho a 3 de Agosto. (EM 4 DIAS!!!!!)

Indignado com o que lhe comunicaram, Ban decidiu enviar de imediato para o terreno o indiano Atul Khare, antigo representante especial das Nações Unidas em Timor-Leste, de Dezembro de 2006 a Dezembro de 2009.

Para além disso, o secretário-geral deu instruções à sueca Margot Elisabeth Wallström, sua representante especial para os casos de violência sexual durante os conflitos, para que se encarregue da resposta a dar pelas Nações Unidas a este caso do Kivu Norte, normalmente considerado a zona mais perigosa da Terra para mulheres e crianças.

Wallstrom, que já foi comissária europeia das Relações Institucionais, e vice-presidente de Durão Barroso, disse que “este terrível incidente” confirma as suas impressões de uma recente visita à RDC, quanto à “natureza generalizada e sistemática das violações dos direitos humanos”.

Ban Ki-moon fez da protecção aos civis e do combate à violência sexual, particularmente no país em dada altura chamado Zaire, temas centrais do seu mandato à frente da ONU, iniciado em 1 de Janeiro de 2007.

Chacina de dezenas de milhares de hutus

ONU: crimes na República Democrática do Congo poderão ser considerados genocídio

27.08.2010 - 11:25 Por Jorge Heitor

Um relatório das Nações Unidas afirma que crimes cometidos na República Democrática do Congo (RDC) pelo Exército do Ruanda e pelos seus aliados poderão ser considerados um genocídio.

O relatório, já visto pela BBC e por alguns outros órgãos de informação, pormenoriza a investigação que tem vindo a ser feita ao conflito que decorreu na RDC de 1993 a 2003, dizendo que dezenas de milhares de hutus, incluindo mulheres, crianças e idosos, foram mortos pelo Exército ruandês, dominado pelos tutsis.

No entanto, o ministro ruandês da Justiça declarou não fazerem qualquer sentido estas afirmações de que o actual Exército do seu país procedeu à chacina sistemática de sobreviventes depois de haver ocupado acampamentos de refugiados hutus em território congolês, na região dos Grandes Lagos.

O relatório da ONU também refere violações dos direitos humanos cometidas pelas forças de segurança de todos os países que participaram naquela que tem vindo a ser chamada a “guerra mundial africana”, que oficialmente terminou em Julho de 2003, quando tomou posse o Governo de Transição da RDC.

Mais de cinco milhões de mortos

Foi a maior guerra da moderna história africana e envolveu oito países, bem como duas dezenas e meia de grupos armados, milícias de diferentes quadrantes. Em 2008, o conflito e as suas sequelas já tinham feito 5,4 milhões de mortos, na sua maior parte devido a doenças e à fome. Foi o pior de todos os conflitos havidos na Terra desde a II Guerra Mundial, mas nunca chegou a ter uma grande repercussão internacional.

Se bem que oficialmente tenha acabado há sete anos, o Leste da RDC, nas proximidades da fronteira com o Ruanda, continua muito volátil, com frequentes ataques a populações civis e violações em massa, como ainda esta semana foi noticiado.

O relatório final do alto-comissariado das Nações Unidas para os Direitos Humanos, já referido nas últimas 24 horas pelo jornal Le Monde e pela BBC, deverá ser formalmente publicado num dos próximos dias.

Reunião de emergência

Ontem, o Conselho de Segurança das Nações Unidas efectuou uma sessão de emergência para debater as alegações de que rebeldes hutus ruandeses se encontravam entre os elementos armados que no fim de Julho e início de Agosto violaram pelo menos 150 mulheres e crianças na localidade de Luvungi e em aldeias vizinhas, na província do Kivu Norte.

Quase em simultâneo com este último episódio, duas dezenas de peritos da ONU em direitos humanos documentavam, em centenas de páginas, aquilo que disseram ser ataques sistemáticos cometidos num passado recente pelo Exército do Ruanda e pela Aliança das Forças Democráticas para a Libertação do Congo-Zaire (AFDL).

Kagamé e Kabila

O actual Exército ruandês tem como figura emblemática o general Paul Kagamé, que tomou posse em 24 de Março de 2000, depois de ter dirigido a Frente Patriótica Ruandesa (FPR), cuja vitória sobre o Governo anterior, em Julho de 1994, acabou com o genocídio de cerca de 800 mil pessoas, cometido por extremistas hutus. E a AFDL era dirigida por Laurent-Désiré Kabila, pai do actual Presidente congolês, Joseph Kabila. Foi em 1997 que a AFDL, apoiada pelo Ruanda, assumiu o poder em Kinshasa, depois de ter derrotado o Presidente Mobutu Sese Seko.

A ser verdade o que dizem agora peritos das Nações Unidas, soldados tutsis ruandeses que derrotaram forças genocidas hutus teriam depois tido o mesmo tipo de comportamento, ao perseguirem os seus compatriotas que se refugiaram no território da RDC.

O tecido social ruandês, tal como aliás o do vizinho Burundi, é constituído por uma maioria hutu, tradicionalmente camponesa, e por uma minoria tutsi, mais dedicada à criação de gado, às tarefas administrativas e à carreira das armas. Hutus e tutsis não são etnias, mas sim estratos ou camadas sociais.

Ocorreu um erro neste dispositivo