A growing concern albeit mass epidemic taking place in Libya is redefining methods of warfare that has left me nonplussed about the integrity of humanity and livid about the violent insurgency taking place.
The problem cannot be contained as a simple matter of civil war or terrorism attacks. It leaves me to think, “How can people even fathom the notion of raping mothers and daughters, innocent women, as a form of warfare against their own people? Even of other cultures?” How has the world come to this that the thought can even take form into action? To say I am concerned about the future is an understatement.
Forces loyal to Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, were forced to rape women as part of their offensive strike for Misrata.
In the BBC account from African correspondent, Andrew Harding, he had the opportunity to speak with young soldiers who took part in the systematic raping of four women ages 20-24.
“They were conscious [during the rapes]. I raped one,” said one undisclosed soldier.
“The girls said nothing. They were tired and they were in bad shape because there were 20 officers before us.”
The soldiers claimed they were nervous and frightened, but were forced to rape these women or would risk some sort of penalty. They were also inveigled into these horrendous acts by monetary incentives, reportedly earning $8 for their “good work.”
Why does this strike me as so much worse than the killings and mutilations? Not only is it such a violent act, and on innocent individuals, but the added psychological effects procure an attack on the mind, body, and soul. It is not only a physical act, but one that can psychologically effect and haunt an entire population.
“I think this is a big problem - much bigger than we think. People [in Misrata] feel deep pain, and depression. This has affected us much more than anything else during the fighting,” says Dr Ismael Fortia, an obstetrician living in Misrata in the interview with Harding.
There was a reported 50 families who endured the acts of being shot in the leg and tied up as the younger women in the families were raped upstairs by the officers. It is estimated now that hundreds have also encountered such attacks, though they have gone unreported to spare the families.
Yet, it doesn’t end there. These soldiers apparently record the rapes on their phones and circulate them through forms of media to further humiliate the women and families and strip open the fresh wounds from recent attacks.
While the distance can separate citizens of the U.S., the horror should not escape them.
On Monday, May 16, Ohio University students and faculty greeted the reputable Arun Ghandi, the grandson of notable pacifist and ideological leader Mohandas Ghandi for a lesson on nonviolence in the face of adversity and racism to kick off international week.
In his hour long speech, he talked about global poltics in today’s society, or the lack thereof.
“Every nation has a foreign policy on what is good for them,” Ghandi said.
Ghandi pointed out that a nation cannot survive on its own, and barriers must be broken to ensure a greater communication and unity with other countries.
“We have to remember that if the rest of the world goes down the drain, we go down with them…The only way we can secure ourselves is by securing the whole world,” Ghandi said.
This relates to Libya. It may not be in our backyard, but the disgraces to humanity that are occurring can easily affect the U.S., or other countries in the long run, and it is important that everybody recognize these problems and work towards progress and remedying these problems.
This does not suggest U.S. military involvement, which is often the go-to among ego-centric societies that refer to themselves as the “salvation” to other countries. Although, sometimes military involvement is necessary, but it is hard to draw that line.
The most important thing to consider is, “What led to this insurgency? Why are these rebel forces feeling the way they do?”
Arun Ghandi spoke of the difference between passive and physical violence. If we can better recognize the beginnings of the passive violence rebels are honing, we can prevent the physical violence and atrocities to take place, not even in other countries, but in our own. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 are a prime example of this.
One of the most important quotes I received from Ghandi’s speech was this,
“Anger can be used intelligently for the good of humanity,” said Ghandi.
Though I may possess an intense anger towards these soldiers and other assaulters in sexual assaults, it does nothing to dwell on this anger. In reflecting on these occurrences and observing and recording them, one can use this anger to rectify the situations in the future and be an asset to society rather than an angry unproductive member that only fuels the fire of anger and violence.
The BBC article can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13502715