Mi Vida en San Francisco

The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo
February 28, 2009, 12:19 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“The Greatest Silence:  Rape in the Congo” is by far one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen.  In all honesty, I do not think there are any words I could say that would accurately portray the atrocities in this film let alone what is going on in Congo right now.  I saw this film at the annual USF Human Rights Film Festival and after walking out of the theater I was left in state of shock.  I strongly encourage you to see this film because I believe that awareness for this issue is key to change.


            In this film, the director, Lisa Jackson, travels through the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to investigate the increasing reports of rape. In Congo, rebel militias use rape as means of humiliation and intimidation, but even more noticeable, rape is used as a weapon of war.  The rape victims tell chilling stories about unimaginable mental and physical experiences.  Even more disturbing, Jackson interviews rapists who think that their actions are justified due to the nature of Congo’s civil war.  Some of the soldiers reported raping twenty to thirty women in last year alone.  Its almost like rape has become socially acceptable to soldiers, in the sense that it’s becoming a way of life.  Jackson documents the shameless and uncaring attitudes of soldiers, government officials and UN peacekeepers in their unwillingness to make major social changes in this country.  It’s appalling and yet I could not help but ask the question: What can we do?


Maudi Mukenge

Maudi Mukenge



            After the film, Maudi Mukenge, a native of Congo and the Africa Program Director for the Global Fund for Woman, led a Q&A session about the issues.  She said how she was “sick and tired” of how awareness is spreading but no action is taking place.  I agree with Mukenge in the sense that action needs to be done, but I also believe that awareness is a major factor that instigates action.  I went to this film because it was for an assignment.  I do not think I would have gone otherwise because I simple did not know about it.  The more people who know leads to collective action that might make a difference.


So to all my friends, family, and professors reading this post, I encourage you to watch this film.  It’s something that you will not forget.  

Film Web Site

Film Trailer

Helping Women Survivors of War





Dos Americas
February 28, 2009, 12:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Last Thursday I went to annual USF Human Rights Film Festival and saw the film “Dos Americas: The Reconstruction of New Orleans.” This film is about the exploitation of Latinos during the post-Katrina reconstruction period. The film captures the accounts of illegal immigrants being cheated out wages and being abused by the INS. What I found interesting was that six months after the hurricane struck New Orleans, restrictions regarding legal status employment were lifted.

The Audience

After the film, there was a very interesting Q&A session that the audience actively participated in. Professors Ronald Sunstrom and Jorge Aquino as well as the director David Zlutnick took turns talking about the film. The speakers agreed that the film had a deadpan tone of low expectations.  The film accurately portrays the workers hopes and frustrations in working illegally in the U.S.

The director of the film David Zlutnick

The director of the film David Zlutnick

The Film Web Site

New Orleans’ Workers Center for Racial Justice