I have held off talking about this subject long enough. But now that the elections in these divided states are finally over, I just can't anymore.
Way over on the other side of the world, in a country on a continent many of us don't like to think about, there is a serious civil war going on. No, I am not talking about Iraq, this war is much worse than that. I am talking about the civil war taking place in The Democratic Republic of Congo, or the DRC. As a result of this sad and tragic war, 45,000 people lose their lives every month. That was not a misprint. I wrote 45,000. And, to date, close to 4.5 million people have lost their lives in the largest war in modern African history. Sadly, half of the people dying are children, in a place where only 20% of the children live to reach the ripe old age of five.
But I will excuse you if you have never heard of it. I will excuse you if you think that Laurent Desire-Kabila is a fashion designer, or Kinshasa is just a girl from around the way; because here in A-merry-ca we are programed to ignore such things. Unless, of course, it is taking place in the Middle East, or if we feel that our own interests are threatened.
Back in the early nineteen nineties when the Hutu's were slaughtering the Tutsi minorities in Rwanda, our first black president chose to ignore the planned genocide taking place on the continent that no one cares about (Sorry Sarah, it's a continent not a country). Now I am just hoping that the first real black president doesn't do the same thing. Oh come on field what can poor Obama do, this conflict is complicated, it involves at least four other countries, --including Rwanda--, it involves different ethnic groups(over 200 by last count) and fractured interests and coalitions. Not to mention years and years of tribalism and ethnic strife. The shit has been going on in The Congo ever since Belgium left those savages on their own, and ever since they murdered one of the greatest leaders they ever had, Patrice Lumumba. Yes kind of sounds like the Middle East doesn't it? But we are at least trying to broker the peace there, why not in Central Africa?
I wonder if Obama, a son of that continent, will order his secretary of state to take a serious look at the conflict and try to set up some sort of multi nation peace accord? If anyone can do it, I think he can. I think the leaders in countries like Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC would listen to him, don't you? He has political capital here at home, why not spend some of it on Africa?
The irony is that it is a region with as much, if not more valuable natural resources than the Middle East. There is oil, uranium, gold, water, and incredible wildlife; yet we choose to ignore all of that, because it's on that dark continent, and we literally refuse to go there.
Maybe we can start blogging and talking about all the atrocities taking place over there a little more. I know that there are blogs dedicated to speaking out about women of color and their causes, I sure hope that they are speaking out about the rapes and mutilations taking place in the DRC, because that shit is seriously fucked up. If a sister is raped in Detroit by some thug, or in a village in Central Africa by some animal masquerading as a soldier, what's the difference? There isn't any.
Let's hope that we can try to put this issue on the front burner and start focusing our energy towards trying to help these poor people. I know it won't be easy, lord knows we have some issues of our own right here to deal with. But we have to start somewhere, and our keypads and our pocket books seems like a good place to start.
Here are a couple of great organizations doing their thing for the people of the DRC. Check them out to learn more about the crisis , and to see how you can get involved.