Negotiating narratives of human rights abuses
Image management in conflicts in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
in Images of Africa
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In spite of recent interest in the international media’s depiction of mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), few academics and commentators have considered how gendered discourses have been shaped by local and regional players. Focusing on media discourse generated by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Laurent Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) and the Congolese and Rwandan governments in the wars in the east of Congo leading up to the end of 2009, this chapter considers how narratives about rape, gender based sexual violence and human rights abuses have been appropriated by all sides to either justify their actions or condemn those of their enemies. The analysis suggests that regional politicians and military operators are not ignorant of the problem of rape in the east of Congo and do not lack awareness of the importance of gender equality within the Great Lakes region. On the contrary, they employ ‘Western’ images of African conflict and international concepts of post-conflict development and democracy in order to gain ground politically and economically.

Images of Africa

Creation, negotiation and subversion

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