I read this remarkable story about Chad’s remarkable woman, Jacqueline Moudeina, and thought, not for the first time, that I could never never be this courageous.
Threats and obstacles have been part of Jacqueline Moudeina’s life since she and a handful of others set out to bring to justice Hissène Habré.
Source The New York Times: Surviving Grenade and Terror to Bring Chad’s Ex-Leader to Trial
A thrilling, scary, triumphant story. Here’s how it begins:
PARIS — The day she was meant to be killed, the lawyer had gathered with a group of other women in Ndjamena, the capital of Chad, to protest electoral fraud. She heard someone call her name, then saw a man pointing at her. Seconds later, a grenade exploded at her feet.
Threats and obstacles have been part of Jacqueline Moudeina’s life since she and a handful of other advocates set out to bring to justice the former president of Chad, Hissène Habré, and his henchmen, who terrorized the country throughout the 1980s.
The murder attempt on June 11, 2001, almost ended her mission. Doctors in France worked for a year to repair her burns and fractures and save her legs from amputation. X-rays show that her body is still pocked with shrapnel. She was left nearly deaf in one ear, she walks with a limp, and chronic pains often exhaust her.
“The grenade became a challenge for me, to live and continue the legal work, and so I did,” Ms. Moudeina said during a recent visit to Paris for a screening of a new documentary about the dark years of the Habré dictatorship. The film, “Talking About Rose,” directed by Isabel Coixet, tells the stories of people who remember his prisons firsthand.
Ms. Moudeina, 58, is no ordinary lawyer. Fifteen years ago, she filed the first complaint against Mr. Habré on behalf of his victims. Now she is widely credited with playing a central role in bringing him before a special international court in Dakar, Senegal, where he will go on trial on Monday.