Gang rape, child soldiers, tribal militia, government corruption, aids orphans, conflict minerals, arms/human trafficking, impotent peacekeepers, extreme poverty…shall I say more?! Such is the landscape of this ‘hell on earth’ war zone called Eastern Congo where more than 5 million people have died in the past decade, more than any conflict since WWII.
Given the remarkable response to Haiti after the devastating earthquake, you would think a humanitarian crisis with 30 times the casualties, would generate at least a comparative reaction. Instead, the DR Congo languishes as an afterthought in our economically driven collective conscience. Back page news in a headline world.
The powers that be are more concerned with the lucrative business of extracting precious mineral resources such as the “the three Ts”, tin, tantalum, and tungsten which are found in abundance here and fuel our technology market. After all, the dynamics of supply and demand always trump the concerns for human welfare. As for me, on the demand side of this exploitive process, I am just another accomplice, more preoccupied with upgrading my cell phone than upgrading someone’s life.
Beyond the glaring global injustice, the most disturbing aspect of this crisis, is the emergence of rape as a weapon of war, which has now permeated the culture. The sexual exploitation of children is a common theme on this blog, but in this context the victims range from infants to the elderly. Not only does this region ‘boast’ the highest percentage of rape victims per capita in the world, but the typically brutal gang raping is often accompanied by other unspeakable atrocities to children and spouses. I’ll let the informative video unpack those gruesome details.
One last thought. The next time you pick up your cell phone and contemplate its capacity to access a global network allowing you to make your voice heard anywhere in the world, just remember its fabrication is most likely linked to the DR Congo where millions of suffering souls have no voice whatsoever!