People need to be supported, not saved, for peace in Darfur and Congo

September 6, 2007 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

I read What is the What? last week, a fictionalized version of Valentino Achak Deng‘s experience as a Lost Boy growing up and fleeing Sudan. I now have a better understanding of the recent history and conflict of the country, even though we only hear about Darfur in the news.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently went to a refugee camp in Darfur, and as anyone confronted with the faces of war would, committed himself to ending the conflict. For years now a small African Union Peacekeeping force has been doing what it can, but efforts to reinforce the AU troops with UN Peacekeepers has been blocked by the government in Khartoum, who are exactly the ones who armed the militias that have made so many refugees in the first place. Hopefully the promised 26,000 Peacekeepers, the largest UN Peacekeeping force ever, arrives soon and can avoid further displacement and death.

While there are only so many troops available for ‘peacekeeping’ the 17,000 size force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, has done little to bring stability or peace for the Congolese. While Africa’s World War theoretically ended in 2003 with a peace agreement and a national democratic election was held earlier this year, there is still widespread violence and displacement throughout the country with over 4 million civilians dead since 1998. Fighting in the North and South Kivu Provinces alone has displaced over 200,000 people so far this year and threatens to escalate to full-fledged war (though I’m sure it feels like full war to people in the region already), again. No one here talks about this country, or this endless conflict, for a variety of reasons that include our overthrowing the first democratically elected Prime Minister on the continent, Patrice Lumumba, and installing the heinous dictator Mobutu as well as the intense pillaging of the Congo’s rich resources (Diamonds, Gold, Coltan, Uranium, Copper, Tin, Silver, Cobalt, Niobium, Timber, Hydro Power, Manganese, Petroleum) on the cheap because of the dictatorship and later the ongoing conflict.

Talk about it. Check out the Friends of the Congo site. Take action. War anywhere is wrong, don’t ignore it’s existence because people will keep dying and suffering.

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Entry filed under: Congo, Darfur.

Stop children, what’s that sound? Dave Cline

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