Photo: Kokombando Wazanabanga
Itai Engel in Congo
Photo: Kokombando Wazanabanga
Photo: Courtesy of Amnesty International
Rape victims
Photo: Courtesy of Amnesty International

'Band Aid' - Israelis for Congo

Humanitarian organizations and Israeli artists join forces in a rock concert for the benefit of rape victims and their families in East Congo

After visiting Congo in 2006, Itai Engel, an Israeli journalist, wrote:


"On the whole planet, there is no place more terrible at the moment than eastern Congo. In a six-year war, close to four million people have died. This fact is so terrifying that the phenomenon of women being raped seems insignificant. If I chose to be a journalist, and I try to tell the stories most important for the world to hear, then Bukavu in east Congo is a place I have sworn to come to for years.


Except now, after arriving and taking pictures, I am completely frustrated at the thought that maybe you can’t even hear this story. Everything here is just too much. I mean, six women who have been raped, their lives shattered, is a tragedy. Thirty rape victims is madness. Hundreds of thousands is

incomprehensible. You cannot process it. You cannot relate to it.


I hear the testimony in Swahili, and then the French translation. I think I may have misunderstood the translation, but someone explains things more clearly and I understand. I understand, but I cannot accept it. I get dizzy. I want to stop, to go out to the lawn, to get a drink of water.


We are told that reporters rarely come here anymore. When I was in Israel it only made me want to go even more. It sounds terrible, but now I understand their reasoning. If I can barely hear and shoot these testimonies, why should the viewers at home be able to?


When I look my footage, I get a sense that more than any detailed account, their expression will stick in the minds of viewers. A noble, unusually strong expression. Even those who will not be able to withstand this story, the horrible documentation of their experiences today, in that part of the world, will remember these faces.


This is not a classic television story. There is no hero or heroine. There is no uplifting story of someone who rose above the circumstances to become a super model and uses her status to further the issue. There is no victim who has become the cross-barer for these women and carries the masses after her. They are all quiet, held-back, silently weeping. Traumatized, with no idea what will happen next." (Ynetnews, January 7, 2007)


But Engel's mission did not end once he returned to Israel. Together with Brit Olam, the International Israeli-Jewish Volunteer Movement, the Israeli Humanitarian Aid organization, Latet, and the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), he is intent on bringing crucial aid to the Congolese population victimized by the most fatal war in the world, far away from any medical facilities.


To sponsor aid, leading Israeli artists including Aviv Gefen, Ehud Banai, Ahinoam Nini (Noa), and Idan Reichel, will perform in a joint rock concert on Friday, May 27, in Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv. Revenue from the concert will be donated for the building of medical clinics, medical equipment, and training professionals to help rehabilitate the rape victims and their children.


For tickets and information call 03-6045000 or click here


פרסום ראשון: 05.20.07, 16:02
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