Thursday 16 June 2011

Have you ever heard of Nifissatou Diallo?

A great tragedy has happened, and I am worried that the victim is virtually nameless, someone whom nobody seems to care. Her name is Nifissatou Diallo, from Guinea, an African, a Muslim, a widow and mother of a 15-year old daughter. The police found her hidden behind a closet, crying and vomiting, traumatized by the violence she had suffered at the hands of the guest of a hotel suite, a guest whose name she didn't even know.

Director General of the IMF, Strauss-Kahn, was the hotel guest. We now know his name, and it looks clear that even he cannot evade justice. It is important though that the world is known not just by the perpetrators of violence, not just by those with power, but is known through the eyes of the victims.

Nifissatou Diallo can be a lens in which we see not just those women who are abused by men, but through whom we can see the countless millions who are abused by the IMF. The weak and the vulnerable who are chewed up and spat out by those who make decisions based on profits and not people.

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