It is located in a ramshackle neighbourhood in the Congolese city of Bukavu, where a million people or more eke out a living on its downtrodden streets. But Dr Mukwege’s Panzi Hospital feels somewhat removed.
There is an air of generosity about this place which is personified on the faces of those who staff it and there is sense of quiet conviction in the manner of the man who founded it – an individual who has spent 20 years treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We can’t stand idly by while people just destroy our humanity,” says this year’s co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Indifference creates consequences for you and for me. It is a kind of complicity. We have to stand up to it.”
As the son of a Pentecostal Church minister, Dr Mukwege soon realised there were limits to the power of prayer.
He says: “I started to follow my father, who was a pastor and I think something happened when he was taking care of a child who was sick, he just prayed but he didn’t give him medicines… I discovered there are things that my father couldn’t do and I said to him I will be a medical doctor.”
Dr Mukwege trained as a pediatrician but the casework took him by surprise.
“I found women who came to me to seek treatment, had been raped with extreme violence and I could not be indifferent,” he says.
“I just took the responsibility to start to treat them. I didn’t really go to school to learn how to do it.”
I asked: “There was no course, no medical degree to teach you?”
He replied: “I think what I saw, for the first time, even (though) I was a medical doctor, was so traumatising because it is not really something that you can learn.
“Can you imagine when people shoot in the genitals of woman? No one can teach you how to (treat) these types of things.”
We watched this self-taught surgeon sweep round the hospital, talking to patients and advising his staff. A typical day can involve five to six rape-related operations a day.
Dr Mukwege told me he can tell where a women or child comes from in this troubled country by the way she has been brutalised.
“What we discovered was that you would just know where they come from because of the (men) doing the torture. Some shoot in the genitals, (some) use bayonets or burn them or use sand and things like that. It was easy for us to know.”
In the post-operation ward, the beds are occupied by women who lie quietly on their backs. The smell of urine is pervasive.
The nature of his work is unrelenting and Dr Mukege has added political activism to his brief in a bid to change it.
“I treat a mother, after that I treat her (daughter) and the grandchildren. Should I stay in the operating room and wait for women to be treated?
“I just feel that to treat the consequences is not the solution. We should treat the root causes and the root causes are war, the root causes are the minerals of Congo, the root causes are people who want to do business in Congo and don’t pay tax.”
Dr Mukwege is using his standing in DR Congo to criticise rebel commanders, army soldiers and the country’s corrupt and impassive government.
But this activism can be dangerous. Dr Mukwege barely survived an assassination attempt in 2012 after he gave a fiery speech at the UN. Now, he requires 24-hour personal protection from a detachment of UN troops.
He said: “The pressure is there, of course, and you can see in the media, the fake news that they are doing each week, against me.
“But I think that this can’t stop us (talking) about what is going on in this country and you hope that one day the Congolese population can take more responsibility (for) their destiny.”
He for one, has taken responsibility by running a hospital that will not turn anyone away.
We met one of his patients as we were preparing to leave – a 12-year-old girl called Tina, who slipped her arm around the doctor and offered him a smile.
Tina is deaf – and she is also a new mother after she was raped last year. Dr Mukwege cared for her through the pregnancy.
Speaking with sadness, he said: “To be a mother at this age, it is terrible.
“How can you imagine that people can do things as they are doing. She didn’t get her childhood and now already she is herself a mother. Even though she doesn’t understand what happened to her.”
The Panzi Hospital is a place of healing amid unimaginable suffering and it is run by the rarest of individuals. A selfless man who has inspired the world.
Deloitte Football Money League 2019: Real Madrid richest ahead of Barcelona and Manchester United | Business News
Real Madrid have replaced Manchester United as the world’s wealthiest club, according to the latest Deloitte Football Money League.
Manchester United slipped into third spot after generating £590m – representing a comparatively low two per cent year-on-year increase.
Meanwhile, neighbours Manchester City retained their fifth-place ranking with revenues of £504m – an 11 per cent rise from 2016/17 figures.
Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich ranked fourth for a second year running with £557m, while Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain climbed one place into sixth spot on £480m.
Premier League leaders Liverpool recorded the biggest income increase from clubs in the top 10, with profits soaring 25 per cent to £455m, while Chelsea also achieved an impressive 22 per cent growth with £448m.
Arsenal (£389m) dropped three places into ninth spot after missing out on Champions League football for the first time in 20 years, but narrowly trumped north London rivals Tottenham (£379m).
Everton (£189m), West Ham (£175m) and Newcastle (£179m) also made the top 20, with Rafa Benitez’s side recording a chart-topping 108 per cent increase in revenue – up from £86m in 2016/17.
Other clubs to make the annual index include Juventus (£350m), Borussia Dortmund (£281m), Atletico Madrid (£270m), Inter Milan (£249m), Roma (£222m), Schalke (£216m) and AC Milan (£184m).
Dan Jones, head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Real Madrid’s outstanding financial performance in 2017/18 is built on their long history of success on the pitch, most recently three consecutive Champions League titles.
“This has enabled the club to continue to drive commercial revenue as the appetite to partner with Europe’s most successful clubs remains stronger than ever.”
Five people killed in shooting at Florida bank | US News
Five people have been killed at a bank in Florida after a gunman opened fire.
The gunman, identified as Zephan Xaver, 21, called police after firing shots inside the SunTrust bank in Sebring, Florida, and eventually surrendered.
Karl Hoglund, Sebring police chief, said the shooting happened at about 12.30pm ET (17.30GMT).
Xaver called police to tell them he had fired shots, according to authorities.
Negotiators failed to convince him to leave the bank, at which point the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team entered the building and continued to speak to him.
He surrendered and is in custody. His motive is not clear.
Mr Hoglund said: “Today has been a tragic day in our community.
“We’ve suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime.”
No information has been released about the victims.
CNN reported there had been no danger to the surrounding areas.
Ron DeSantis, Florida governor, said he was asking the state department of law enforcement to help local police.
Sue Malliano, a spokesman for the SunTrust bank, said: “We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected at our Sebring, Florida branch.”
Troops return to Bulawayo with a vengeance | World News
A week of protest, violence and national trauma in Zimbabwe began last week in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo.
It was here on the morning of 14 January that protesters took to the streets after President Emerson Mnangagwa’s administration raised fuel prices by 150%.
Seized with fury, demonstrators blocked roads and occupied neighbourhoods – and their protests would lead to city-wide looting and rioting.
Shops and business in large swathes of the city were destroyed or stripped bare. I asked the owner of one supermarket in an area called Nkeita what had happened to the police.
“They came late, they were late. Everything was gone when they got here,” he replied.
Business owners told me that they were abandoned by the police and the army for the first three or four days.
Government critics, like lawyer and former opposition MP David Coltart, think that the authorities decided to hand over this independent-minded community to thugs and criminal elements.
“I have seen the destruction of food outlets on an industrial scale.
“Having represented the people of Bulawayo for many years, I cannot believe the people themselves would have done this because they would have harmed themselves.
“Some 80% of food outlets in working class areas were destroyed. The capacity of these businesses to open again was effectively ended.”
Zimbabwe’s president promised to prosecute members of the army or the police who were found guilty of misconduct.
Yet it is members of the public in Bulawayo who are now being rounded up and arrested as the authorities re-assert their control in the city.
Lawyers told us 500 people have been detained in the past few days. The city’s prisons, “are packed like sardines,” said one.
We found one woman called Noxolo Maphosa, outside the city’s stately magistrate’s court, carrying a toothbrush and some basic suppliers for her brother, Josephat.
Josephat Ngulube ran as a candidate in the last election but he was arrested over the weekend for trying to organise a protest.
“Now I don’t know what is going to happen to him,” said Ms Maphosa.
“I am just waiting for them to tell us what is going to happen but I don’t have hope. I thought we would get a trial date today but they keep on postponing. I am losing hope.”
The police and the members of the military are back on the streets and they are making their presence felt.
I heard and saw evidence of systematic raids and beatings carried out in the city’s suburbs.
Residents in an area called Marbutweni told us that troops turned up after 8pm on Tuesday and went door to door, administering beatings to men over the age of 14.
A resident called Clive showed us a series of blue marks and bruises covering his back, then turned around to address us in a quivering voice.
“I met those guys. ‘Where you coming from?’ (they said).
“I said ‘I am going home. It is after dark’.
“(They said) lie down and then nine guys were hitting me. Baton sticks and everything. Come on, is this Zimbabwe?”
We were given more testimony from a man called John, whose face was badly swollen.
“I was asking, ‘what did I do wrong?’ But they were continuously beating me and I don’t know what to do now because I am scared,” he told us.
These are arbitrary and unjustified attacks in a country led by a man – Emerson Mnangagwa – who is trying to sell it as a modern democracy. The people of Bulawayo are unlikely to forgive.
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