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.
Man jailed for sharing footage of Christchurch mosque shooting | World News
A man has been jailed in New Zealand for sharing footage of the al Noor Mosque attack.
Christchurch businessman Philip Neville Arps had admitted two charges of distributing an objectionable publication after the shootings.
On Tuesday he was jailed for 21 months, with a judge saying he had “glorified” the shootings.
Fifty-one Muslims died after being shot as they attended Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in March.
The al Noor shooting was streamed on Facebook.
Arps, among 13 people charged regarding the attack material, distributed the video to approximately 30 people on the social networking site, the court heard.
The second charge related to him asking another person to add crosshairs and a “kill count” to the video, intending to use this as a meme.
He was arrested days after the shootings and has been kept in solitary confinement since then.
In comments reported by the NZ Herald, Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said on Tuesday that Arps, 44, had “strong and unrepentant views towards the Muslim community”.
The court heard that Arps, who runs what was described as an insulation company that has used neo-Nazi imagery, showed “particular cruelty” in sharing the footage the day after the attack.
A pre-sentence report said Arps showed no remorse or empathy for any of those affected.
Judge O’Driscoll said some parts of the pre-sentence report were concerning but he did not mention them publicly, wary of Arps considering them a “badge of honour”.
The judge did, however, say that Arps had once compared himself to Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess and that the report said he was a high risk of re-offending.
According to TVNZ, Arps faces six months of strict conditions after he completes his sentence.
These include psychiatric assessments, drug and alcohol treatment and a ban on using the internet.
Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, has been criticised for being slow to take down footage of the attacks, which was deemed objectionable by New Zealand’s Chief Censor.
Along with other social media, Facebook has long been under pressure to do more about hateful and abusive posts.
Toronto Raptors: Two injured in shooting at victory parade for NBA champions | World News
Two people have been injured in a shooting at a victory parade for the Toronto Raptors basketball team, police have said.
Tweets from people attending the parade at Nathan Philips Square said they heard several gunshots, which sparked a stampede from the crowd.
Canadian journalist Diana Weeks said she heard four shots in total, but “thought they were fireworks”.
She added: “I don’t even know what to say right now.”
“Started running for our lives. This is not Toronto. Children crying… ppl running.”
Videos of the incident showed people running to exit the square as the incident unfolded.
Toronto police said the victims’ injuries were “serious but not life threatening”, and that two people had been arrested.
Two firearms have also been recovered.
More than a million people had lined the streets on Monday to celebrate the Raptors’ – and Canada’s – first ever NBA championship win.
The team was paraded aboard five double-decker buses through the city, before coming to an end at the square.
Several public figures delivered speeches, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mr Trudeau, Toronto’s mayor and Raptors player Kawhi Leonard remained on stage as the incident unfolded, and resumed celebrations shortly after.
Teenager survives after 10in blade narrowly misses his brain | World News
Surgeons have told a 15-year-old Kansas boy who got a 10in knife embedded in his skull when he fell on it that he was within millimetres of death.
The knife narrowly missed Eli Gregg’s brain with the tip pushing against his carotid artery, which supplies the brain with blood.
Dr Koji Ebersole, who oversaw the removal, said: “It could not have had a pound more force on it and him survive that event.
“I don’t think he would have survived it.”
Eli’s mum Russell said her son was playing in the garden on Thursday when she heard him scream.
She found him with the large knife jutting out from just below his eye.
“It looked pretty grim, it was scary,” she said.
Within 24 hours of the surgery, Eli was able to talk and make light of the situation.
His mum added: “He says he is going to stay away from sharp objects.”
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