The Human Impact

Why coexistence doesn’t equal reconciliation in Rwanda

One Hutu killer describes feeling “like two different people” as he took part in the genocide: a man who obediently slaughtered his Tutsi neighbours because the mayor told him to, yet who hid one of their daughters in a grain basket to save her from the machetes.

A Tutsi survivor recalls the moment attackers rounded on her 17-year-old brother as he cried: “Why are you killing us? We used to be friends.”

And an aid worker and an ambassador lament the world’s failure to stop the fastest genocide of its scale in history.

These are fragments from a series of first-person accounts we’ve collected to mark the 20th anniversary of Rwanda’s 100 days of slaughter. Taken together, they give extraordinary insight into the psychology of atrocity: how so many ordinary people – friends, neighbours, doctors, teachers, priests – could take part in the bloodletting.

They also hint at the moral complexity underlying Rwanda’s efforts to balance truth and reconciliation, justice and forgiveness.

Ms Kalashnikovs: Meet Congo’s fearless women fighters

Copyright and all photographs taken by Francesca Tosarelli.

Brutalised. Repeatedly raped. The first to gather the children and flee attack. Weak, poor and uneducated.

Women in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are so often cast as voiceless, nameless victims of a conflict that has raged for decades in the region’s lush jungles and hilltops that it is almost impossible to imagine them as fearless warriors.

But that’s exactly what Italian photographer Francesca Tosarelli found when she travelled to Congo’s North Kivu province early last year – driven by a curiosity to explore how gender identity shifts in times of conflict.

The dangers of oversimplifying the Central African Republic conflict

Here’s a story I haven’t heard before: when violence spiralled in Central African Republic’s capital last December, the country’s most senior Muslim cleric sought shelter with the Catholic archbishop of Bangui.

And that month no one was attacked in Lakounga, one of the oldest parts of the capital, where Christian and Muslim leaders worked together to protect the community. Posters were plastered on every street corner with the message: “Christians and Muslims, the same blood, the same life, the same country”.

“Their message is that we are one and we have been living together … for many decades,” Nyeko Caesar Poblicks, East and Central Africa projects manager at the London-based NGOConciliation Resources, and a frequent visitor to CAR, told me in a recent interview.

Turkey needs multilateral strategy for Syria refugee influx – policy expert

Hugh Pope, a policy expert on Turkey and Cyprus spoke with AlertNet after delivering a presentation at a conference in Istanbul. YouTube Preview Image

The three-day “Reporting on International Security and Terrorism” seminar examines the role of the news media and how journalists can avoid being exploited by terrorists to help them achieve their goals

Picture Credit: A Turkish soldier speaks with Syrian refugees who are trying to cross the border fence from the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain into Turkey after gunfire were heard in Ras al-Ain, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Mission head says MSF doctors need better access to Syria conflict

The growing number of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war into Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey as the humanitarian situation worsens, is putting increasing pressure on aid agencies trying to provide assistance.

More than 300,000 refugees have already fled during the 18-month conflict, and that number could grow to 710,000 by the end of this year, UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, says.

The number of registered Syrian refugees and those awaiting registration in Lebanon is now more than 80,800 and is expected to grow to 120,000 by the end of 2012, UNHCR reports.

Nothing prepared me for what we saw in Baba Amr – Paul Conroy

 

Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy describes the impact of the February 22 shelling of the Baba Amr district in the Syrian city of Homs. Conroy escaped after suffering leg injuries.

Nothing prepared me for what we saw in Baba Amr – Paul Conroy (mp3)

The bombardment killed U.S. journalist Marie Colvin, French photographer Remi Ochlik and seriously injured French journalist Edith Bouvier.

Conroy spoke at an event hosted by the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) on Tuesday in London.

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