#11 TYRANNY - Panzi Foundation

March is my birthday month. Yeepee ya-yoo you say?

Well actually, yes!

I’m excited about it and want this month to be about giving rather than receiving.

I also want to take this time to really feel good about myself and the many small steps I’ve taken to creating something meaningful to me. And in the process, helping others feel connected and stronger. I love receiving all your encouragements and knowing that I touch you in some way (with my words you perv’ ;).

Since this is the year of empowerment for me, I want to be fully engaged in what I do.

In the spirit of giving, I have decided to focus on just a few charities that are meaningful to me and give either my time or money to really make an impact. Being fully involved with one charity is much more rewarding than giving to several without real commitment.

One of the organizations I'm getting more involved with was created by one of this year’s two magnificent Nobel Prize laureates, Dr. Denis Mukwege. The second recipient is Nadia Murad. You might know of Nadia as her lawyer is none other than the extraordinary Amal Clooney and they’ve been in the news. More on that further down.

They were both recognized for their efforts to end sexual violence in conflict.

But right now, I want to draw your attention on the phenomenal work Dr. Mukwege does for girls and women of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo, ex. Zaire).

I have followed the work of Dr. Mukwege and occasionally sent money to his organization Panzi Foundation since I first saw the documentary by film-maker from Belgium Thierry Michel on TV5 Monde a couple years ago.

Along with Earthlings (a 2005 documentary on the 5 economic sectors using brutality against animals - pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and music by Moby), this documentary The Man Who Mends Women is the most sickening piece of work I have seen in my life.

A must-see though. But beware, specially if you have daughters. It is very, very hard to watch and impossible to keep out of your mind. The stories told will stay with you for-ever.

Dr. Denis Mukwege dedicates his life to young rape victims in DRC where there are still pockets of men (or beasts) who believe having sex with a virgin, possibly young (even babies!), will cure them from AIDS. Systematic rape is also used as a weapon of war against civilians. Dr. Mukwege ‘fixes’ the torn organs and the broken minds of those courageous women who will have to learn to live with the stigma of being soiled, who will have to learn to not let what’s happened to them define them.

"Women's bodies have become a true battlefield and rape is being used as a weapon of war. In every raped woman, I see my wife. In every raped mother, I see my mother and in every raped child, my own children. We have spent too much time and energy fixing the consequences of violence. It is time to take care of the causes." Dr. Mukwege.

Sometimes I feel very small and petty.

I mean, here I am, talking about mundane things as having a hard time finding clothes and complaining about our difference that has defined us throughout our lives. I know we’ve all got a story to tell and all of those matter. They add up and that’s what shakes things up, I know that.

But my story seems foolish today, writing my blog post on Tyranny.

All I want to do is spread the word far across that you must help the Panzi Foundation. This work is essential in building communities where women have their place and educate men about sexuality and dignity.

And their online donation page is fairly easy. I participated in purchasing a new car for example:-) It gives you direct understanding of what goes where.

Nadia Murad, who is famously represented by the majestic Amal Clooney, has been recognized by the Nobel Academy because of her courage following her sexual enslavement by ISIS in northern Irak.

She wrote a poignant book Last Girl about her life in hell and escaping ISIS.

They have recompensed her honesty and her activism to help other Yazidi women and

sexual exploitation victims.

Her work is essential in shining a bright light on the scam that is ISIS. Those inferior men need to enslave women because no one else would want to be their wives. It is so frustrating in this day and age of wide-spread knowledge that some men are still stuck in ignorance. If only they knew the liberating force that is Respect and Value of other living things, including women, children and animals.

The time of male dominance has ended and to hold on to that past is frivolous.

In my first podcast interview (Episode #2), I spoke with Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Lea Defranscici-Lis who advocates cross-gender sex education. Men need to be taught by their mothers, by women, the value of sexual respect. And vice-versa.

I wonder what the state of the world would be like if women were given a stronger voice to educate their sons on proper human values such as respect, intimacy and dignity.

One more thing I want to let you know about that links-ish to male folie.

I was very moved by the documentary that just won the Oscar of best short documentary Period.The end of a sentence.

It shows that through education of both men and women, boundaries can be moved. Men can accept the value of women in society and together we can build a better future, for all. It is in everyone's interest to keep girls in school for example instead of having them drop out because dealing with periods is too complicated.

It also shows one man who takes the situation into his own hands and decides to create the most affordable menstruation pad to allow women to get on with their lives during those period days. Meaning it took one man to gain the villagers' trust and show that not only can they create and sell those pads but also remove the stigma around the unspoken word, period (seriously, barely anyone in this indian village dares to even pronounce the word "period"!)

This a movie that was made possible by crowdfunding and they are definitely continuing their efforts through their non-profit organization The Pad Project to give women a chance to remain active in their society during menstruation.

Voila. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about these organizations. I'd be happy to help.

The best gifts I can receive for my birthday are all your signs of encouragement for enjoying my writing and podcast and how it makes you feel connected.

So please keep your comments coming and take the time to review the podcast on Itunes (the ONLY way it can get a ranking - i love your DM's, emails. comments and such, but Reviews make a difference:-).

As always, have a wonderful week.


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