Followers of this blog will know that I have been to Eastern Congo and am passionate about the people there. You also know that there is a rather ugly and complex struggle for power in that region. This link to a Huff Post opinion piece provides an insight to some of those current complexities from an insider’s perspective. For example, some found the M23 group as elevating safety over that of the government soldiers. And yet, the M23 group may be funded by outsiders with evil intent.
I highly recommend you read it. You might ask why, since what goes on in the DRC has little to do with your life. You should care because,
- the extent of the recent decades of disaster there will boggle your mind and overshadow nearly every other disaster you care about
- these are our brothers and sisters and we are called to love our neighbor
The author, Julia Lewis, concludes her essay this way
The sad fact is that violence in the DRC is constant. As Congolese activist Vava Tampa recently reported in an article on CNN, the conflicts in DRC
… have claimed nearly the same number of lives as having a 9/11 attack every single day for 360 days, the genocide that struck Rwanda in 1994, the ethnic cleansing that overwhelmed Bosnia in the mid-1990s, the genocide that took place in Darfur, the number of people killed in the great tsunami that struck Asia in 2004, and the number of people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — all combined and then doubled.
What will happen next in DRC? Anything is possible — and we need the world to keep listening. As many as 5.4 million people died in the last Congo war. That is fact, not fiction. And we cannot afford for it to happen again.
Image via Wikipedia
Today, November 28, 2011, Congolese have been voting in presidential and parliament elections. For those of you who followed my DRC/Rwanda trip posts, I encourage you to lift up this country, its leaders, and the people. As you likely know, the country has a weak central government, an assortment of militias roaming the north and east, wrecking havoc in the form of rape where ever they go. It is a lovely country, resource rich (minerals) and yet one of the poorest places in the world.
Pray for no violence. Pray for leaders with integrity. Pray for the church to be the church. Pray for nonprofit ministries like the Bible Society in the Congo. Pray for a united will among all the peoples to stand against rape.
Read this short news item in the WSJ on the elections.
Join Meredith Andrews, Dove Award winning Christian artist, in a concert to benefit She’s My Sister and celebrate the conclusion of the She’s My Sister Bike Tour. Each $10 ticket will provide Scripture-based trauma care to one abused woman in the Congo. The concert will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Easton, Pa. on Friday, July 8 at 8:00 p.m. Purchase tickets online at www.congosister.org or contact Hannah Wildasin for group sales at 610-360-3864.
Cover via Amazon
Ever notice how we can feel quite helpless when we hear about evil on a mass level? We’ve all had times when we’d rather turn away from systemic evil because we can’t stand to look at what we cannot change.
But check out the story of one Edmund Dene Morel as told in King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (by Adam Hochschild, Houghton Mifflin, 1998). Most likely you’ve never heard of him or the mass destruction of 5-8 million Congolese during the reign of Leopold II, Belgian King who “owned” the Congo during the turn of the 20th century.
Instead of my summarizing this story, click the link above and read the story yourself (link goes to Amazon’s search inside, p. 1). You will see that one person who saw the problem of slavery and raping a country and did not turn away. Rather, he made it is work to tell the world and cause Americans and Europeans to rise up and force the government of Belgium to take control of that area away from their king.
Once again, the Congo is facing the destruction of some of its population–the women. The main method is not slavery but rape. The instigators are warring groups, Congolese and outsiders. The goal is to destroy by destroying families, spreading HIV and fear. Many women are raped multiple times.
What will we do?
Consider writing to your congressmen or the president or Sec Clinton to speak out about this problem. Also, you might consider giving to groups that are working in the area to care for these women and/or trying to change culture. Doctors without Borders (MSF), Amnesty International, American Bible Society, and many others are working in the area. And start with talking to your friends about this problem.
Unknown people can do much when we are willing to speak the truth.