Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Speaks About Goma Visit

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 12, 2009
The UN Plane Used by Secretary Clinton During Her Visit to Goma from Kinshasa
Secretary Clinton Arrives in Goma
Secretary Clinton and the Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo Conduct a Press Availability in Goma
The Scene at the Mugunga Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp in Goma During the Arrival of Secretary Clinton
The Mugunga Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp in Goma at Secretary Clinton's Arrival
Secretary Clinton is Briefed by Staff at the Mugunga Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp in Goma
The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) Air Support Operations Base in Goma
Soldiers Salute as Secretary Clinton Tours the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) Air Support Operations Base in Goma
Secretary Clinton Tours the MONUC Air Support Operations Base in Goma
Secretary Clinton Stands for a Ceremony During Her Tour of the MONUC Air Support Operations Base in Goma
Secretary Clinton is Greeted as She Arrives at the Heal Africa Facilities in Goma
Secretary Clinton Poses for a Photo at the Heal Africa Facilities in Goma

Interactive Travel Map | Text the Secretary | Behind the Scenes PhotosYesterday, Secretary Clinton visited Goma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While en route to Nigeria today, the Secretary reflected upon her visit to Goma.

En route to Nigeria, Secretary Clinton spoke about her time in the eastern Congo. Secretary Clinton said, "I've been in a lot of very difficult and terrible settings in my years. And I was just overwhelmed by what I saw, both in the camp and in the conversation...It is almost impossible to describe the level of suffering and despair, in the camp, particularly...It is just tragic, to see 10,000 people in that space. And still, you know, children are still, you know, dying of malnutrition, they're dying of diarrhea, they're dying of malaria, the women are getting raped...It's just horrific."

Yesterday, Secretary Clinton visited the Mugunga Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp in Goma and toured the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) air support operations base. She also held a roundtable discussion with NGOs and activists on sexual and gender-based violence and announced that the United States will provide more than $17 million in new funding to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Secretary Clinton said, "[H]ere in Africa we can find humanity at its worst and humanity at its best. And we have seen both here, in Goma. My delegation and I have been working hard, even before we came, to see what we could do to try to assist in the ongoing efforts to end the conflict and the violence that still stalks this land, and to help the Congolese people, who have suffered enough."

Read more about the Secretary's trip to Africa.

Comments

Comments

Helen
|
Pennsylvania, USA
October 14, 2009

Helen in Pennsylvania writes:

I am so happy that Secretary Clinton spoke out about rape and women being used as weapons of war. I am very glad someone spoke out about this horrible violence.

Karen
|
Arkansas, USA
August 13, 2009

Karen in Arkansas writes:

Dear SOS Clinton,

Thank you for your exhaustive work!! So many of us are so very proud of you! We thank you for your tireless efforts, your intellect, your compassion, and your resolute focus. Please try to get rest asap!!

Normita
|
California, USA
August 13, 2009

Normita in California writes:

Dear Secretary Clinton:

Thank you for sharing your visit with the people in Goma. It is sad to envision the unfortunate human conditions that exist in that part of the world, and it is even harder to see it first hand. Your courage and compassion surely give them the feeling that someone cares.

God bless you, God bless America and the people in Goma.

Sincerely,
Normita
a proud hillaryvillager

adam
|
California, USA
August 13, 2009

Adam in California writes:

Hillary, Your perseverance and strength and commitment to helping people is inspirational and a testament to who you are. So proud of you and your team.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 13, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Lot's of good ideas tossed the Secretary's way during her travel as to how to eradicate "impunity" including joint tribunals.

If my last post (not published as yet) seemed a little extreme, allow me to pose it a different way.

Those that are committing crimes against humanity have a completely different set of "rules of engagement" than the international community.

This is widespread, and judicial reform will take time. Time is not a luxury for the victims or future victims that will suffer unless the DRC takes radical steps now to end the problem within its own military ranks, and militias they are in conflict with.

The problem is so widespread, the DRC would go broke trying to prosecute the perpetrators.

If you have a rabid dog running around the neighborhood, would you put it on trial, or simply put the dog down to protect the people?

Personally, I think anyone caught in the act of commiting rape needs no trial, just a bullet to the head.

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
August 13, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

"[H]ere in Africa we can find humanity at its worst and humanity at its best. And we have seen both here, in Goma."

Thank you for being so insistent upon a visit that we all know you were discouraged from making. This place, from what I have read during your visit, is like hell on earth.

The whole world needed to see this. I wish the press here in the U.S. had paid more attention to this visit.

Well, situation normal: serious stuff is ignored. We'll blog and tweet it.

You rock, Hillary! We saw you dance. You rock when you dance, really! We saw you react to a sexist question. You rock when you answer a question like that. Mwah! -I LOVED it! And we saw you at Goma and read the tweets from the press corp (h/t Shaun Tandon). You rock when you take that kind of risk for others.

I pray for you all the time. May God and the angels always protect you.

Hugs,
Rosemary

Sherry
|
Michigan, USA
August 14, 2009

Sherry in Michigan writes:

The entire trip throughout Africa is long over due and especially the visit to Goma. This level of inhumanity needs greater coverage and I am glad that Secretary Clinton was determined to make the visit. It is unfortunate that the images and discussions of this trip are not getting the attention back here instead of the superficial reporting. The Secretary and her delegation are doing great work!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 14, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Op-ed on security options in the Congo:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/13/AR200908...

---

Michael O'Hanlon makes a pretty good case for American boots on the ground to beef up UN presence with U.S. personel.

However, I disagree with him on the force size and experience required.

Sec. Clinton's remarks regarding "interagency advisors" assisting the DRC government to address as she put it, "the obstacles to Congo's potential" (if I got the quote right), makes more sense to me.

A passive- agressive defensive posture ( such as the UN mandate illicits) isn't working for the people, obviously.

Why? Because it has yet to be combined with dedicated search and destroy teams (special forces- from UN member state contributors, not just the U.S.).

Combine that with a brigade strength training mission to revamp the DRC military, and some basic education for their troops ( it would be helpful if they all could read and write).

The last thing you want to do is send a bunch of green recruits into the jungle, as we've learned that lesson in Vietnam.

If the DRC is willing to accept such help, what I would focus on is putting every rank and file member of their armed forces through "boot camp" -US style, and weed out the bad apples. That's the first step.

Officer training in the same manner.

The Sec. made an important point that trust is essential to a working democracy. If the people cannot trust those who are supposed to protect them, what hope can they have?

Embedding, mentoring , and training are essential building blocks to creating home-grown security.

It's their country, the best we can do is help folks help themselves.

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