The Stand

“Don’t Stand Idly By”

That is what it says.  Simply, it’s a matter of fact.

It’s on a badge that he has attached to his coat — the coat he wears as he administers to his patients.

Yep.  He stands and delivers.  He doesn’t “stand idly by”.  He works hard, all the while, standing.

“The teenagers started hugging me and saying they had heard that my life was in danger. They explained that they had come to defend me. I had tears in my eyes. These handicapped girls wanted to help me, a big burly man. This is what I feel all the time from those who come to the hospital – the desire to keep loving, to keep giving, even when someone has tried to strip you of all your dignity and values. You cannot abandon people like that.”

No, he takes the stand: do something useful, something tangible, do something helpful.


Denis Mukwege: Stand and Deliver

Denis Mukwege (born 1 March 1955) is a Congolese gynecologist. Working in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by Rwandan militia, Mukwege has probably become the world’s leading expert on how to repair the internal physical damage caused by gang rape. He has treated several thousands of women since the 1998 Congo’s war, some of them more than once, performing up to 10 surgeries a day during his 18-hour working days. [Wikipedia]

Dr. Mukwege, A Guardian, possibly a Contributing Leader and a Provider Guardian, is tireless in devotion to his patients, he will take in all those who arrive at his doorsteps.  Thousands have walked, hobbled, and sometimes crawled to get to his clinic.  He is there at his post, working tirelessly — in his hospital. He is tireless when comes doing what he sees as his duty.  Many Congolese doctors and lawyers abandon the Congo as soon as they get an opportunity to go outside the country, but not Mukwege, he has stood his ground.

At Post

Of the four Outlooks from which to regard one’s past, present, or future, is the post far more than path, front, or pointThe latter almost a matter of indifference. Indeed, Guardians are strongly inclined to stand by, to stay the course, to hold steady, to be steadfast. They will not leave the station at which they are posted under any circumstances. They want to be posted; they like to be posted; they hope to be posted; they are determined to be posted; so other points of view are of much less interest to them. [Personology, page 91]

Guardians® (SJs) are the cornerstone of society, for they are the temperament given to serving and preserving our most important social institutions. Guardians have natural talent in managing goods and services–from supervision to maintenance and supply — and they use all their skills to keep things running smoothly in their families, communities, schools, churches, hospitals, and businesses. [Please Understand Me II]

Dr. Mukwege is married with five children, but his brother, Herman, tells me his family doesn’t see him much because his devotion to the women has consumed his life…the doctor’s energy, his sense of duty never flags….and Mukwege himself has received death threats on account of his work.  But, Denis Mukwege has been helping and standing his ground all his life.  Denis was the third child of nine children. “During my young age my mother was suffering with asthma. In the night when she became ill, I was the one who would go and look for a nurse or bring her medication. We all thought she would die. Even now, each birthday she celebrates, I am so happy to see her alive..”

UNICEF, ECHO (the humanitarian aid office of the European Commission) and PMU (a Swedish humanitarian organization) are the major supporters of Panzi. Although the hospital can always use more money, the real need is for a political response to the violence.
Barring that, Dr. Mukwege would at least like to get real protection for the women once they leave the hospital. “I patch them up and send them back home,” he says, “but there is no guarantee they will not be raped again. There have been several cases where women have come back a second time, more destroyed than the first.”
Eve Ensler explains part of the tragedy of the Congo.
… you have to go back further than 1996 to understand what is going on in the Congo today. This country has been tortured for more than 120 years, beginning with King Leopold II of Belgium, who “acquired” the Congo and, between 1885 and 1908, exterminated an estimated 10 million people, about half the population. The violent consequences of genocide and colonialism have had a profound impact on the psyche of the Congolese. Despite a 2003 peace agreement and recent elections, armed groups continue to terrorize the eastern half of the country. Overall the war has left nearly 4 million people dead—more than in any other conflict since World War II—and resulted in the rape of hundreds of thousands of women and girls.

And it’s more complicated than Ensler has pictured.  It’s also the grab for natural resources.  The Congo is loaded with abundant natural resources, verdant forests and mineral resources, such as gold and diamonds.  The surrounding nine nations have been essentially in and out of war and conflict for decades.  The Rwandan genocide just next door, with their soldiers often invading the Congo.  The situation in eastern Congo is horrific. Government and rebel militias fight to control Congo’s mines, which are rich with natural resources. Profits from conflict minerals fund violence. Congo’s military and police do little to stop it, corruption is rampant within the current government. Armed groups, operating without accountability, use rape and murder to intimidate civilians.

Dr. Mukwege is standing in the middle, refusing to leave.

8 thoughts on “The Stand”

  1. Yes they are our unsung heroes, every country, every town, city, at post, duty bound, incredibly touching blog post of the importance and inspiration of just one Guardian’s story.

  2. You know the greatest advances in surgery were made by guardians. Idealists want to heal, and Rationals seek scientific advancements. But before the late ninteenth century there were sharp limits to this. On battlefields there were floods of casualties, no real way to conduct surgery beyond amputations and many hospitals were more unhealthy then remaining where one was hit. It took guardians like Barron Larrey, Florence Nightingale, and Clara Barton to ruthlessly browbeat the medical system of the day into some kind of order and to strictly enforce the sanitation which the technology of the day could at least provide.

    1. Jason, you came up with another undiscovered priceless gem: hadn’t heard of Barron Larrey.  Much appreciated. Going to have to re-review Nightengale — complicated case.  There is a fantastic book on the Nightengales, I never finished it though.

  3. Barron Dominique Larrey was the chief medical officer of Napoleon’s army, known for the strict sanitation discipline he imposed, and the efficient medevac system(including the invention of a new ambulance wagon) introduced, He was also known for his impartial treatment of all irregardless of rank and uniform.

    In any case my point was that the most fundamental advances in medicine were brought about by guardian methods. Larrey could not have been expected to understand germ theory. He could and did know how to impose order.

  4. Reblogged this on Please Understand Me and commented:

    A few days ago, Dr. Mukwege survived an attempt on his life. A group of armed men burst into his home, held his two young daughters and their friend at gunpoint, and killed a man who worked for him. It is fair to conclude that he was targeted because of his extraordinary work.

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