Opinion by Sjaoel “Shooz” Richardson: Our Nobel Peace Prize winnerPOSTED: 10/13/15 5:19 PM
The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize went to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet and it is well deserved. They are a key player in bringing democracy to Tunisia. However, we want to shine the light on a man who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize now three times on a row: Dr. Denis Mukwege.
Dr. Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist who is the founder of the Panzi hospital in Congo. He himself has operated on over 40,000 thousand victims of rape and gang rape. The female victims of the ever ongoing civil war, that spread from Rwanda to Congo, range from as young as babies and little girls to elderly women. He does sometimes ten operations a day, works more than eighteen hours per day and lives on the compound of the hospital with his wife and two of his children. This is, to say the least, quite impressive.
As a young man Dr. Mukwege went to study in France with the objective to return home and assist the women in his country with childbirth, seeing that there was no specialist health care available to them. In 1998 the Second Congolese War erupted and many victims of rape and gang rape were brought before Dr. Mukwege. These years made him to be the world’s leading expert on how to repair the internal physical damage caused by rape and gang rape.
In 2012 an assassination attempt was made on his life, but he survived. He then fled to Europe. While in Europe, former patients put together money for a ticket for the doctor to return home. Dr. Mukwege’s words: “Those women put each one dollar to buy my ticket. One dollar. This is so much money for them. How can I refuse to go home while they made this great effort?” Upon his return to Congo, there was a crowd besides both sides of the road from the airport to the city where he had to go. This was over a distance of twenty miles where primarily women were cheering and applauding him.
Dr. Mukwege was once asked how he can cope with separating his feelings from his work, seeing so much human tragedy. His response: “I am human, I have feelings. It is impossible to pretend that I don’t have them. I therefore treat each and every patient as if she is my daughter, my wife, my mother.”
Even though Dr. Mukwege’s life is under a continuous threat, he chooses to continue his work and spread awareness on the horrible acts that take place during wars. He strongly believes that women are powerful enough to overcome any tragedy and can lead this world. This man, Dr. Denis Mukwege, is ‘our’ Nobel Peace Prize Winner. If we could only be just a bit like him.
Sjaoel “Shooz” Richardson
Soualiga Social Movement