I tried really hard not to post about Bob Herbert’s latest column, “The Invisible War,” which breaks the shocking news that *gasp* large numbers of women and girls have been raped in the Congo. Again.
I said to myself “Self, you have already complained extensively about the media’s treatment of the alleged rape epidemic in the Congo. And really, you’ve become increasingly inarticulate the more annoyed you get about this, so you are not going to do yourself any favors with an incoherent post along the lines of ‘Argh! Not news! Lack of reporting is not the problem here! #$%#$!’”
But then I found myself bitching about the column to everyone I know and thinking “man, making fun of the New York Times to only one person at a time is hella inefficient!” So, here goes:
The column begins: “Perhaps we’ve heard so little about them because the crimes are so unspeakable, the evil so profound.” For the love of God, seriously??? Don’t you read your own paper? In the words of a friend of mine: “If you’re going to write that, even if you don’t personally know about something, wouldn’t you like, look into it a little?” So true. But I’m guessing Bob Herbert actually did know what’s going on in the Congo, given that it is regularly reported in the news. And yet he still choose to attribute invisibility to the phenomenon. Why? Because for some reason “insufficient action” consistently gets translated as “insufficient awareness.”
Herbert concludes by saying: “If these are not war crimes, crimes against humanity, then nothing is.”
Um, yes, they’re war crimes. Happy now? Rape of civilians by combatants is more or less a shoo-in. And if the rapes are widespread and systematic enough, well then, you’ve got crimes against humanity too. But really, that’s not the point, is it? Because nobody’s arguing that this isn’t a problem or that it isn’t a colossal violation of international law.
So, to sum up: Argh! Not news! Lack of reporting is not the problem here! #$%#$!