There are No Real Winners in War – Dr. Denis Mukwege #2018NobelPeacePrize

Photo Credit: From the Film – The Man who Mends Women

This piece is written in honour of a man who has done so much to bring healing and hope to women who suffered sexual violence in war. Dr Denis Mukwege was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Nadia Murad. As I said in a previous post, The Possibility of ending Sexual Violence – Nadia Murad 

I could never hope to capture their pain, agony, struggles and tireless efforts at mending others and speaking up to get the international community and everyone in the world to end this war crime – Sexual violence/rape as a tool for war.

But I’d like to simply share their work and story briefly in the bid to say, “I salute your courage; thank you for giving yourself so others can live in a safer world”.

Why do humans engage in war? The very ancient reason centres around conquest of territories; power tussle; supremacy and control. At the heart of it all is man’s insatiable thirst for power and control of resources. A Yoruba saying states, “Ibere Ogun laa ri, ko seni mo ipari e”, meaning that one can only know how a war begins but no one knows how it will all end. This saying is usually quoted as a warning to control a conflict before it gets out of hand.
No one really wins a war because both sides suffer loss ranging from losing men, women and children; structural and economic destruction of their cities. Everyone will need to rebuild again often for many years and they may never fully recover from the effects and impact of the war. More worrisome are the emotional and psychological scars left on both the fighting men and civilian victims.

The Democratic Republic of Congo experienced great conflicts between soldiers and rebels which left the country terribly ravaged. The war lasted for decades and is referred to as the “The great African World War with the highest number of casualties since World War II. Sexual Violence was a weapon of War in eastern Congo for more than 20 years.

Those who suffered more are women and children who are beaten, raped and brutally treated by angry soldiers who use this physical assault as a weapon of war. Records show that in many war situations of various countries or communities sexual violence is increasingly been used as a weapon to inflict pain in war. After the war is over these women and girls are left battered emotionally and physically and even stigmatized by society. According to the findings of UN representative for Sexual Violence in conflict, Margot Wallstrom(2010) –  as a result of the war DRC was labelled the “Rape Capital” 

One man saw this need and decided to commit to providing support for these battered women. He is Dr Denis Mukwege who recently was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner alongside Nadia Murad.

A Glimpse of Dr Denis Mukwege’s life and work 

Denis Mukwege is a medical doctor, who has made it his life’s mission to mend women who are victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo war. Dr Denis was inspired to become a doctor when he accompanied his father who was a pastor to visit various sick people in communities. He then went on to study medicine and specialized in gynaecology and obstetrics with the desire to provide services for women who experience birth complications. Another serious need arose as war ravaged his dear country; many women, girls and children faced a wave of brutality as they were raped by soldiers and rebel warlords. It was during this high conflict period that he founded the Panzi hospital. It is located in Bukavu the eastern part of Congo and was officially opened in 1999 by Dr Denis Mukwege. Panzi hospital is known for support for sexual violence survivors. He and his staff have carried out a gynaecological repair for over 40, 000 thousand women who were sexual violence victims in the Congolese conflicts and war.

His life was once threatened as he faced assassination attempt because of his advocacy work in creating awareness about stopping this war crime – sexual violence and bringing to book perpetrators. Dr Denis had to flee his country for a while before returning but while he was away staff continued treating survivors. At the Panzi hospital, each rape survivor is accompanied by a social assistant who works to create a tailor-made healing pathway which includes repair, psychological, legal and economic intervention programs.

I  once again salute Dr Denis Mukwege for his courageous and sacrificial efforts in bringing healing to these women and for his continued effort in the fight for women’s rights. He sure deserves this award. I end with his response to the award on Twitter:

This Nobel Prize is a recognition of the suffering of women victims of rape and sexual violence; the need for a just reparation in their favour and the hope to draw a red line against the use of rape in armed conflict.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Dear Fathers…✍️✍️✍️

We celebrate every father who is working so hard to put food on the table
Every father who works hard to educate his child/children.

We know it is tough but you still make out time to make us and mummy smile. You put us first and spend time with us.

You have dreams and goals but pursue them making space for us at the center.

Wait until you begin to reap the fruit of all your labor.

Dear Father now is the time to build a solid relationship with mummy and us your children so mummy will not run off in the name of nursing her grand babies just to have some space and peace.

Hip… Hip… Hurray to all father’s who are doing their best and more.

Shout out to my own Yemi Adetunji. You have been doing so much for us and we see it… Won’t forget either. And when the grand children come rolling in by his Grace…I won’t run off for long🌷💓💓

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Celebrate the men in your life: Happy Father’s Day

Men feel under celebrated, it seems there is always something to celebrate about women. We have the International women’s day and Mother’s day celebrated like twice a year because of the different days parts of the world mark this day.

And the men are always jealous when songs like
Sweet mother i no go forget you
Sweet mother o eeh
Sweet mother i no go forget the suffer wey you suffer for me yeee…yee …..(Written by Prince Nico MBarga 1976)

The above song is the pidgin English version of the Poem
Who sat and watch my infant end
When sleeping on my cradle bed
And tears of sweet affection shed?
My mother….(written by Ann Taylor)

Enough about women…after all today is the men’s day
So let’s turn around this song putting father wherever you find mother.

Sweet Father i no go forget you
Sweet father eeeh…
Sweet father I no go forget the suffer wey you suffer for me yeeeh…yeeh

Who sat and watch my infant head
When sleeping on my cradle bed
And tears of sweet affection shed?
My father

Believe it there are lots of men who are indeed great fathers and who would do anything to take care of their women and children. Such fathers sacrifice a lot toiling long hours and staying out late because they want to make an extra money for the family (not cheating on their wives)
Some fathers do a good job of helping to nurse and nurture their children from infant-hood to adolescents

So here is to all great fathers:
Happy Father’s day
May you eat the fruits of your labour!!

FATHERS DAY
My father, me & my Sweetheart

The men in my life

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

A 70year Old Diary & Memories from My Childhood

I look at myself and i see that i am a chip of the old block in fact we all are (My siblings). As soon as you meet him you’ll just know that our genes are connected.

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Dad at 50years
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Family Photo- Dad with us and our own families

He taught me some lessons of life:
He taught me honesty:

I remember long time ago as a young child when i stole what was then known as “Kobo…kobo” with an intention to buy sweets, biscuits and chewing gum. I did succeed at this but my old man taught me a lesson i never did forget.
He taught me hard work:
I watched him work tirelessly at home and at work. I remember that that many of his co-workers admired him and he was valuable to his company.

He taught me forgiveness:
Someone did something that hurt me badly and all i wanted to do was to hold unto it for ever. But my old man taught me that it was better to make friends than enemies.

He taught me love:
I saw this in the way he cared for others and even our dogs were showered with love. I remember we would get scolded if our dogs had not been fed as they should be. I use to hate that the dogs got a lot of attention but now i recognize it as love.

He taught me discipline:
Hmmmn…one episode comes to mind. You know kids can be quite mischievous. So i got into something that was not really my business when i should be home after an evening lesson we attended back then. Back then when schools closed at 1-2pm and you get to observe siester and attend evening extra coaching. Well we lived in a face-me-i-face you (community leaving). Many families lived in such accommodations and shared the bathroom, kitchen, tap water or a well. It was easy to get mixed up as a child with the wrong crowd. That evening i meddled into a fight instead of going home and my dad went all the way to the coaching centre thinking that something had happened to me. You don’t want to know what happened when he found out that i was with some other kids at the time i should be home. But i did learned how to obey rules my family had set and began to understand what bad company could do to my future.

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Grandpa’s Diary entry announcing dad’s birth in 1945

He taught me that school was important especially as a girl:
He would check our school performance at the end of every term and reward us for a job well done. And if you need to work harder at a subject or hadn’t performed as well as is expected, you get a lot of what i call “sermon” on how much your school fees cost. Plus of course a lecture on how you must become a doctor, Lawyer, accountant and so on in the future. Well now i am teaching my kids the same lesson. I am talking about none other than my dad.
Today, 7th August 2015 he turns 70years old. My grandpa entered his birth in his diary the morning he was born in 1945. I got the privilege of seeing that diary today. I am told that it was difficult to get writing materials in those days. It was a luxury and perharps my grandpa was one of the few privileged because he was a King.
I celebrate my old man, my dad and my legacy today. And just maybe i got this passion for writing from my ancestors.
I bless God for sparing his life and giving us the opportunity to celebrate.
Help me celebrate my dad!

Not all men are bad

Not all men are bad
Not all men are abusers
Not all men are rapist
Not all men would abandon
Not all men are child molesters
Not all men are irresponsible
Not all men walk away
Some men  would protect
Some men would sacrifice all
Some men stay
Such good men are sometimes not rare to find

DSC05189 BILKISU Olalekan Rasheed is one man that stayed. His pregnant wife was involved in an auto mobile accident and she had being in the hospital for several months. Olalekan Rasheed had no stable job. He is in between being a bus conductor and other odd jobs. Bilikisu his wife was simply a petty trader before the accident. In my line of work as a journalist I follow some stories and I have come across a number of disturbing trends. A visit to the hospital reveals that a number of men abandon their women on the hospital bed because of their inability to pay the hospital bills or perhaps it was finally an excuse to leave. There were so many cases of Runaway Husbands. On one of such visit i met this man whom over and over again the hospital staff  attested to the fact that day and night Olalekan stood by his wife…when she was unconscious, when she came round but couldn’t speak or recognize anyone; when the hospital bills kept increasing. Meanwhile the baby was growing and decisions had to be made about whether to amputate her legs…Olalekan never left…never abandoned Bilikisu. He was hopeful and he kept on praying for a miracle. Help did come when Some Philanthropists showed up. The baby made it alive and kicking, she is such  a beautiful baby. Still Olalekan waited patiently, helping to nurse his wife. It turned out that her legs didn’t need to be amputated again.

The impact of abandonment can be quite great on any individual talk less of a family. Breaking free from the impact of abandonment is a long road to healing for people who might have gone through abandonment by a father, husband, or even  a wife. I am aware that sometimes women walk  away too,abandoning their families.

The next time you want to walk away, list out reasons you should not. You might be amazed at what you come up with. Don’t let fear, responsibilities, or the complexity of marriage/relationship (yes it is complex) put you on the run. You might be running for the rest of your life because the next relationship/marriage comes with its own complexities or even bigger problems. Be a hero to your family. Like i said in an earlier blog, none of us is perfect, and none of us will ever be. So stop running, stay and fight for your family, you’ve got what it takes to make it work. If you need help ask for it…seek help in the right places.

This is just my way of celebrating and appreciating every man who would not walk away; who would and continue to cherish that girl, that woman in their lives.

By Adebisi Adetunji