Congo rebels start to dig in

Date: January 1, 1970
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The article looks at the harm that has been done by Laurent Nkunda’s forces in the DRC.

This article may be used to:
  • show use of women and children’s images are used to conjure sympathy in conflict situations.
  • demonstrate lack of female voices in the news, especially in war situations.
  • show the trivialisation of gender based violence.
  • raise discussions on the extent to which conflict disproportionately affects women and girls
  • raise discussions about the importance of women in peace processes particularly in relation to UN Resolution 1325
  • raise discussion about the difficulties in reporting from a conflict situation.
Trainer’s notes
This article portrays an picture of women and children and can be used to demonstrate how images of women are often used to illustrate victims of war, while their voices are less often included. The article mentions that insights young men are forcibly recruited to join Nkunda’s forces and women and girls are being raped, yet fails to pursue these human rights and gender violence issue further. The sexual violence and other human rights abuses characterising the DRC conflict are trivialised. These are only mentioned in passing and not given much coverage. This is particularly important since while mostly men are present at decision-making tables, the people who suffer the most are those on the ground which is women and children.
The article gives emphasis to masculinity with words such as “rebel leader,” “raw power,” and “militia” featuring largely in the article. The fact that article relies largely on secondary sources and reported speech may indicate poor reporting or difficulties reporting from a war situation. The reporter covering this story probably experienced difficulties in accessing the area. Relying on reported speech poses a danger in some vital issues being left out.

Discussion Questions

  • What are the gender differences in conflict situations
  • Women and children are affected more by violence and conflict. Is it appropriate to use images of women as victims?
  • What challenges are posed by reporting from a war torn country?
Training exercises
  • Read the UN Resolution 1325 and analyse this against reality in conflict situations.
  • Analyse a series of coverage on a particular conflict. Are gender issues covered.
  • Write a one page guide for journalists on looking for the gender perspectives in conflict situations.
 Links to other training resources
Picture our lives: Gender and images
Business Unusual: Gender and the economy
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