The son of assassinated Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, Guy-Patrice Lumumba, is set to visit Los Angeles for ten days, starting today, to raise awareness of the plight of the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Patrice Emery Lumumba was assassinated on January 17, 1961. His body was chopped up into little pieces, and then dissolved in acid. Observers have noted that the Belgium government, working in concert with the CIA, manipulated Lumumba's rivals into murdering him. He never got to see his unborn son Guy (pronounced "gee," rhyming with "bee"). Nearly a half century later, political unrest and unspeakable atrocities still haunt the DRC.
The genocide in Rwanda coupled with the collapse of the Mobutu regime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have spawned over a decade of warfare throughout the Great Lakes region of eastern Africa, resulting in millions of deaths in the deadliest conflict since World War II. Occurring in poverty stricken areas of the developing world, these wars increased the impact of diseases endemic in the region, such as malaria, as well as the health problems associated with malnutrition and poor sanitation. Further, nowhere is the HIV/AIDS pandemic more widespread than in the Great Lakes region. The physical destruction in terms of health care facilities and infrastructure, which were at best barely adequate prior to wars, has also been devastating, especially in relation to the ever increasing numbers of victims of war and disease.
In addition, the last decade has seen the use of rape as a "weapon of war" in the region. Rape is all too common with many of the victims subjected not only to forcible sexual intercourse, but also to an array of torture and mutilation over extended periods of time. Gender and age offer no protection. Although the vast majority of rape victims are female, men are slowly beginning to come forward with their stories of surviving rape and documented cases of rape have ranged in age from as young as three and to as old as eighty. If the victim survived the trauma of assault, his/her trauma is further increased by the risk of infection, disease and social isolation. For women, a pregnancy from the rape can result in giving birth to a child that is considered "cursed" by the family as well as the community, and she is often forced by societal norms to abandon the child. Formerly, such children were killed. Now they are recruited by warlords and are transformed into child soldiers.
Guy-Patrice Lumumba was born to Alphonsine Batamba, who later died of breast cancer, on April 7, 1961, in Kinshasa, eighty days after his father's death. He is his father's fifth child and youngest son. After his birth Guy's mother gave him a fake name because of Mobutu vengeance against Lumubists. Upon reaching age 12 Guy insisted on being named after his father. In 1980, as Guy-Patrice Lumumba, he joined a resistance movement against Mobutu's dictatorship regime, and was subsequently arrested by Mobutu's security forces. A year later, with the help of fellow Lumumbists, he escaped the country.
In 1982 he offered asylum by Guinean President Sekou Toure where the president regarded him as a son. It was in Guinea that Guy met Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael, and Miriam Makeba, as well as other high profile worldly figures. And in 2006, following in his father's footsteps, Guy ran for President of the Democratic Republic of Congo as an Independent.
In an effort to raise funds for the hundred of thousands of innocent Congolese victims, Guy will be lecturing at several venues in the greater LA area. For more information on these venues contact Nehanda Sankofara at (626) 376-4010, or visit her Web site at MothersforAfrica.org where you can also make tax-deductable donations.