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Update on Assassination Attempt on Dr. Denis Mukwege
On the evening of October 25, an assassination attempt was made on Dr. Denis Mukwege, cherished V-Day partner and founder of the Panzi Hospital and godfather of the V-Men's movement. While Dr. Mukwege and his family were not harmed, combatants shot and killed his trusted security guard and aide, Joseph Bizimana.
In this statement released by V-Day that evening, V-Day Founder/Playwright Eve Ensler stated "The attempted assassination on Dr. Mukwege and the murdering of his security guard once again highlights how deadly serious the situation is in Eastern Congo. One of the great men of the world was almost murdered tonight. We cannot let this continue, we must create an environment where it is safe for Dr. Mukwege and all the people of Congo to live and thrive. Let this tragedy be the call to end the war in Congo once and for all."
On Saturday, Eve expounded on that sentiment in a powerful Op-Ed piece in The Guardian entitled "Dr Denis Mukwege: we have few heroes in this world. He is one."
Today, the civil society in South Kivu organized "une journee ville morte," a general shutdown and asked everybody to stay home. According to V-Day Congo Director and Director City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver, most people stayed at home until at least 11 am. The goal of the action was to bring light to the serious security issues in general, while at the same time to bring attention to the public's outrage over the assault on Dr. Mukwege. Other actions are in the works - we will keep you updated.
Lauren Wolfe has a new piece in The Atlantic "The Misogyny Behind an Attempted Assassination of a Man in Congo" which investigates the situation in Congo for women. Eve, Christine Schuler Deschryver, Stephen Lewis, and Anneke Van Woundenberg are among the sources interviewed for the article. "The real question is, how do we examine this situation in order to get the world to pay attention?" Ensler said. She trained her sights quickly on the international community members who, she said, are dropping the ball on Congo.
Though the chaos in Congo continues, so too does the incredible and selfless efforts of women and men on the ground working to end the violence. In the midst of this tragedy, there remains hope for the future of women and girls in the region. Under the vision of Dr. Mukwege, Panzi Hospital is continuing its dedicated work for the people of the community and women survivors. City of Joy continues to thrive and recently welcomed the third class of 90 women leaders. We are so proud of these incredible and brave women, and for the inspirational work being done on the ground by an amazing local team lead by V-Day Congo Director Christine Schuler Deschryver.
1. "Dr Denis Mukwege: we have few heroes in this world. He is one" by Eve Ensler, The Guardian
2. "The Misogyny Behind an Attempted Assassination of a Man in Congo" by Lauren Wolfe, The Atlantic
3. V-Day, Physicians for Human Rights, and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict have released statements of solidarity.