WHEN WILL THE TEARS OF WOMEN STOP

Neema Namadamu
Posted August 18, 2016 from Democratic Republic of the Congo
Beni Woman Survivor
Woman survivor from Beni massacre being treated for her machete injuries.

Really, this month has been so hard for Congolese women in the area of Beni in North Kivu. Almost one hundred killed in the last week. That brings the official tally to around 1150 in the last 2 years. When you look at the pictures, you see mostly women. That’s because the women won’t run off and leave their children. And those that are not butchered are brutally raped. 100% of the women are affected.

Mine is among many women’s voices coming out of Congo, continually pleading for a male conscience toward women. This is so shameful. It's outrageous. The lack of response sends a signal to those of us spending all of our energy sounding the alarm on women’s behalf, that we are considered no different than a child who is always crying. She can have a problem or not – people will only spend enough breath to complain that “she is always crying.”

DRC has the largest U.N. presence in the world, but no matter. The attack on August 13th killed at least 45, including children. This happened on the anniversary of a massacre in a U.N. refugee camp in 2004, that saw 166 massacred and another 106 wounded. The mastermind of the massacre went on the radio the next day, taking credit for his group's evil deed, but still has not been brought to justice.

We can’t be silent when the butchery continues. We can’t remain quiet. But how can the international community remain quiet? Pope Francis said it is a “shameful silence”. “Unfortunately” he said, “they are part of the too many innocent people who have no weight on world opinion."

Right now, really I can't breathe. I am out of words. Only tears remain.

Comments 23

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Tamarack Verrall
Aug 18, 2016
Aug 18, 2016

Dear Neema,

This. This exactly is why I hope that we can strengthen our connections throughout WorldPulse and into the networks of our own countries and into the United Nations strongly enough to call a global halt to every brutal inhumane act taking place, end this incomprehensible cruelty. Your call galvanizes my commitment to find ways to make this happen. We are all involved in this immoral global economy that runs on violence. And by our hearts here we are committed to creating peace, and to each other.

In sisterhood,

Tam 

Neema Namadamu
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

I feel your sisterhood dear Tam. I am grateful for your love and solidarity. It is answer to our prayers.

Big loving hug,

Neema

ellen zaroff
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

Neema

Thank you for sharing this most horrible atrocity. It is true that women are often ignored or treated like children which is why solidarity and empowerment will help raise them to a level where they can be respected and become partners in relationships as well as being in the world. Religions, governments and other women need to start to treat women as not second class citizens, or worse, but not just as progenitors, teachers, housemates but as the intelligent, organized, equal beings they are. 

bloomingdamil
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

Waow! This is scary, on a woman...

Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Neema Namadamu
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

Yes sister Ellen, solidarity and empowerment. Women are able, but not empowered, so solidarity is a big part of the strength we draw upon. We are hardworking, but work with great sacrifice to accomplish the things our hearts compel us to do. There is a lot of money thrown at society's many problems, but it is mostly thrown at governments or international agencies. Billions of dollars have circled overhead without every touching the issues. We have 20 years of that ilk under our belt, feeding the system and all its compatriots. But grassroots workers like myself, who work in and with the communities, are left to do our work - OUR TRANSFORMATIVE WORK - with very meager means and little reach. But we greatly impact the few lives we touch. Congo's ills are not going to be cured by giving money to the government or international agencies working in Congo. It is the Congolese people who will change Congo, for the Congolese are Congo. It is the work of the grassroots workers, their awareness campaigns, community actions, entrepreneurial initiatives, that will change and vitalize Congo. What are grassroots women workers asking for? Not much. What can they accomplish if empowered? A Whole New State of Things!

ellen zaroff
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

Neema

Your obvious intelligence and wonderful spirit will bring great things to those around you. 

Amanda Leigh
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

Neema,

I want to thank you for contributing in such a meaningful way. Your voice and the story behind it are an important step in spreading awareness about the experiences of the women of Congo. It is heartbreaking to read of the atrocities that have been continuing for far too long, but it is also inspiring to feel the empowerment within your words. It is through that empowered spirit that your words can create a global empathy and, hopefully, lead to real and far overdue change.

Keep breathing and continue spreading your words! I am so appreciative of all you are doing to share your story with us.

-Amanda

Neema Namadamu
Aug 20, 2016
Aug 20, 2016

Thank so much for your encouraging words Amanda. I love that - "keep breathing and continue spreading your words."  Too many advocates end up having to flee their country or lose their lives. It is my goal to see my vision for Congo be realized in my lifetime - not pass my work down to another to carry it on. No, I want to live in the change we're advocating for.

We continue, TOGETHER!

Neema

Amanda Leigh
Aug 21, 2016
Aug 21, 2016

How inspiring, Neema! I love your words--"I want to live in the change we're advocating for." Together, always..

Emily Jensen
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

Dear Neema,

Your post took my breath away. What's happening to Congolese women is beyond horrifying. Thank you for speaking out so that we're aware of what's happening. As a World Pulse employee, your words remind me why I come to work every day. I hope that you feel the solidarity and support from your sisters around the world in this moment. I wish I had stronger words, but all I know to say for now is that I hear you and I believe in you. Thank you for continuing to do this important work.

Neema Namadamu
Aug 20, 2016
Aug 20, 2016

Thank you dear Emily. I appreciate the support you have given our staff and Maman Shujaa members. It is Together that we are pressing forward. I am so happy to have World Pulse to go to when I am bursting inside and just need to let it out. I know I will be heard and supported by women all around the world. Thank you for being there, and here.

In love,

Neema

JulieG
Aug 19, 2016
Aug 19, 2016

Dear Neema,

I am new to the World Pulse Community and I have just read some of your past journal entries.  What an inspiration you are!  I am confident your voice will continue to remain strong despite these atrocities and you will find your breath through the tears.  And my hope is those who only complain "she is always crying" will understand our tears cannot be made up.  They are real and should be an invitation to love and make what is unjust, just,  what is wrong, right, what is broken, whole.

Thank you for your voice.

Julie

Neema Namadamu
Aug 20, 2016
Aug 20, 2016

Dear Julie, how wonderful to hear from you. Yes, I have my breath back. I just had to grieve a minute. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? One more step, and then another. We are still running uphill, but the downhill side is coming. I can feel it sister.

Love,

Neema

Jensine Larsen
Aug 20, 2016
Aug 20, 2016

Neema, 

It is horrifying, the loss of life and destruction of souls, your cousin included.  We are with you, knowing as you say, the women gathering across borders will be a miracle solution.  The water of resources nourishing the grassroots and the people will rise up and change everything they can.  We all must keep going forward, together.

Neema Namadamu
Aug 22, 2016
Aug 22, 2016

Yes, it is horrifying my big sister. But after we take a gulp of air and swallow it down, we see opportunity. What we KNOW is that in the end, LOVE WINS! Need I say more? Yes I do - I NEED TO SAY MORE!!!

We expect obstacles, so that we can overcome. We expect hardships, that we might gain strength. We expect to be beaten down, only to rise up even higher the next time. We are charting a course, blazing a trail; one that will at some point in the not too distant future, become a highway for women everywhere. They expect us to cower, to be afraid, to back down. But we’re going somewhere. Our destiny is a destination.

All they see is our little programs, but they don’t see the REAL STUFF. The programs are only the vehicles we are using to inspire our true intention – which is to lift women and their families into all the incredible potentiality that is inherent within them; and that’s not learning how to use a computer, sew sani-pad kits, make soap, or plant trees. I rarely find the setting to communicate the REAL STUFF because many are not in that place; but THIS is the place. I can tell the TRUTH here about what we’re doing and know that I will be heard, understood, and supported.

Yes, we give them the external statistics they're looking for – about how the new livelihood skills are making a difference, how the sani-pad kits are keeping girls in school and raising their self-awareness and esteem; how the women are taking climate change matters into their own hands by planting thousands of trees; how they are learning to use a computer to tell their stories, advocate for peace and women’s rights, etc. But THE REAL STUFF is what is happening on the inside of the women and girls connected to our programs; what is being mined and released, and how THAT will change their world and ours.

Our goal is that every woman develops the constitution and capacity to speak and act on their own behalf, being the agent of change for their world – not by preaching things they’ve learned, but by living out of the enlightened and illuminating woman they’ve become and are becoming.

Oh yeah, we are creating a whole new world, and creating it right here in the midst of the one they’re living in. And one day they’ll join us, when they’re eyes are open. And we will welcome them and rejoice that they have finally come home. With tears in our eyes and joyous bliss in our hearts we’ll say, “Welcome home dear brothers!”

Jensine Larsen
Aug 25, 2016
Aug 25, 2016

I can see you speaking this cry from the mountaintop my sister. I hear your unflagging determination and glory.  

I especially love this quote and believe it with all my heart:  " Our goal is that every woman develops the constitution and capacity to speak and act on their own behalf, being the agent of change for their world – not by preaching things they’ve learned, but by living out of the enlightened and illuminating woman they’ve become and are becoming"

Tiffany Prescott
Aug 21, 2016
Aug 21, 2016

Neema,

I hear your exhaustion and your pain and my heart breaks right alongside yours as I read this. You are absolutely right that we cannot stay silent and I commend you for speaking up and out about these horrific acts of violence. I hope you and the many other brave women of Congo continue to let your voices be heard and know you are not alone in the fight for peace and equality.

Something you said in a comment above really resonated with me: I want to live in the change we're advocating for.

You will, Neema. I truly believe that. This community will continue to support you and I have no doubt that you will continue to inspire others to be brave as you are.

In solidarity,

Tiffany

Neema Namadamu
Aug 22, 2016
Aug 22, 2016

Thank you dear Tiffany for your encouragement and support. We are together my sister. If you would like to receive my periodic newsletter, please login to www.namadamu.com and subscribe on the right hand side of the opening page.

Love,

Neema

RIZIKI BADERHEKUGUMA
Aug 23, 2016
Aug 23, 2016

Bonjour

ça servirai à quoi d'avoir toute richesse du monde mais de vivre dans la tristesse, sans la paix. L es congolais(es) sont humilier et piétiner par nos leaders et les étrangers, j'invite tout un chacun d'avoir la prise de conscience pour qu'ensemble nous puissons trouver une piste de solution par rapports à ça. Celui qui doit agir c'est toi et moi c'est pas le temps de se pointé du doigts.

Merci. 

Neema Namadamu
Aug 23, 2016
Aug 23, 2016

C'est la verite ma cherie, c'est notre responsabilite etant que Congolaises et Congolais, pour agir a cette situation que nous sommes entrée de traverser.Notre combat c'est pour tout le monde, et faire voir le monde que le moment est venue pour le changement de mentalite pour tous les Congolais sans exption du rang que vous occupe.Merci pour votre reflection du jour. Le monde est tellement petit comme un ''athome'' en chimie c'est pourquoi il faut faire du bien quand il temps et opportunite de le faire.  

Neema

Mukamyi Mutima Fidele
Aug 24, 2016
Aug 24, 2016

Merci beaucoup Neema pour les publications concernant la situation sécuritaire de notre pays c'est vraiment horrible mais c'est un combat A mener pour nous tous.

Mutima

Neema Namadamu
Aug 25, 2016
Aug 25, 2016

C'est votre tour de faire participer toute les Femmes et les Hommes de votre communaute, de votre pays, pour que notre voix aie plus loin dans le monde.

See you online.

Neema