Posts Tagged ‘Congo’

You Know How to Whistle, Don’t You? Falling Whistles

Falling Whistles is one of those organizations that takes your breath away with the grace of their mission. Named for the children it serves, this group is all about young children in the Congo who are sent to the front lines of warfare armed only with a whistle to blow as an alert, and expected to absorb the first rounds of bullets. These kids are considered chattel, completely disposable. Kidnapped from their lives, brainwashed and forced into battle, beaten, imprisoned, and discarded like trash. And they are ‘tweens or barely teens. The organizers of Falling Whistles accidentally fell into this issue, bumming around Africa after going on a shoe drop with TOMS Shoes, and had no intention of being grabbed and shaken into consciousness by such cruelty. Go to the site, read, I dare you not to cry. Then embed yourself into a part of the world, and issue, and aspect where you aren’t currently involved. We need you to be energetic and active in moving us all forward. By the way, buy a whistle.

The Whole World is Watching-Satellite Sentinel

John Prendergast (L) George Clooney (C) in Sudan

For the New Year, George Clooney and Google have launched a crowd-sourced new way of holding the government of Sudan accountable for making war noises and human rights atrocities–Satellite Sentinel. North and South Sudan bear a heavy weight of border tension and conflict–one of the most deadly conflicts since World War II. Southern Sudan, according to some experts, is the part of the world most likely to tip into a situation of genocide.

Clooney and John Prendergast released a statement, in part: We were late to Rwanda. We were late to the Congo. We were late to Darfur. There is no time to wait. With your support, we will swiftly call the world to witness and respond. We aim to provide an ever more effective early-warning system: better, faster visual evidence and on-the-ground reporting of human rights concerns to facilitate better, faster responses.

This is why we have launched the Satellite Sentinel Project. There has never been a sustained effort to systematically monitor potential hot spots and threats to human security, in near real-time, with the aim of heading off humanitarian disaster and war crimes before they occur.

Satellite Sentinel uses the ever-advancing technology of Google Earth and satellite cameras to observe and broadcast activity in the hot zone–in the face of government denial of abuses and war crimes, now remote cameras can provide a record–and in real time, we, the rest of the world, can watch and hold them accountable. In just about a week, on January 9, the vote from Southern Sudan will decide if they will secede from the rest of the nation–and it is expected to result in tremendous violence. Take action here to sign a petition and join the movement, spread the word, and keep an eye on a war zone before war breaks out.

War Child

I’m sitting in the gorgeous, spacious lounge of the Doha, Qatar airport. It was an interesting feeling as we flew over areas of the Middle East that have become so familiar on the evening news. The animated airplane that tracked our progress winged along silently past Kabul, Baghdad, and more…amazing to think how peaceful it was on board as Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock cavorted on the movie screen…and what was likely going on below. child_soldier1.jpeg

War Child International is a network of independent organizations working to help children directly affected by war (and important distinctions….for I contend that ALL children are affected by war). Currently there are three main hubs of their activities, based in Holland, the UK, and Canada. There are currently at least 30 wars and armed conflicts raging in the world…over 80% of the casualties of war are civilians…disproportionately women and children.

From the site:

Children are amongst the first casualties of any armed conflict, always the most vulnerable and innocent of victims. In the last decade alone 1.5 million children have died in wars. Four million have been disabled and a further 10 million traumatized.

The severe psychological wounds that war inflicts on children can scar them for life, crippling the very generations that must one day rebuild their devastated countries. For the future peace of the world we must do everything in our power to help these war children.

There are rehab and counselling services, emergency services and ongoing assistance for kids who are brutalized, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and all of the above. The programs go out to the confict zones from Afghanistan to the Sudan, Iraq to the DR Congo.

There are ways to be involved from home, by donating and by spreading the word, possible even holding an event to get the conversation going. By exploring the dark, difficult stuff, we can begin to trudge through it and look for the other side.

One of the main taglines for WarChild is:

You can take a child out of war…

…but how do you take the war out of a child?