Fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently spiked last week, the scene of the world’s bloodiest conflict since World War II with 5.4 million killed in the last decade.
45,000 Congolese continue to die every month from both the conflict and humanitarian crisis with a scale of devastation of Darfur happening in the
Exposing the role of Western corporations fueling the conflict, the enormous humanitarian crisis, and the plague of atrocities committed against women was the focus of Congo Week, a week of events and actions that took place on campuses across the world.
Kambale Musavuli, a Congolese activist and student at
"We’re seeing masses of people being displaced from the villages, from the cities, simply because they live in an area rich of minerals," he said to Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman.
The official story of the conflict, Johann Hari writes in the Independent, is that after the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu perpetrators fled into neighboring
"But it’s a lie," Hari said a UN panel found, "The Rwandan government didn’t go to where the Hutu genocidaires were, at least not at first. They went to where
The minerals found there are in high demand, especially coltan, of which
The more coltan the West bought up, the more that invading forces stole, Hari said, adding that the "rise of mobile phones caused a surge in deaths , because the coltan they contain is found primarily in Congo."
The UN released a report in 2001 to 2002 on the illegal exploitation of resources in the
"What we are seeing now is beneficiaries of the illegal war economy fighting to maintain their right to exploit," François Grignon, Africa Director of the International Crisis Group told Hari.
Last October, Congolese activist Christine Schuler Deschryver described the horrific violence committed against women during the conflict.
"We are talking about sexual terrorism," she told Amy Goodman. "They are not just rape like usual rape, but they put hot plastics inside the organs. They put woods, they put bamboos, they put everything…guns. They shot inside the women, so they’re completely destroyed."
The rapes are a part of a war against women and their central role in African society, Musavuli told a questioner in the Washington Post. But the source of the rapes is the conflict. And the cause of the conflict is the scramble for
"So, to end the rape, you must end the conflict. And to end the conflict, you must stop the resource exploitation of the
UN peacekeeping forces need to be augmented, but it is more important that the West act by not buying "blood-soaked natural resources" that fuel the conflict in the first place, Hari wrote.
Kambale Musavuli interview on Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/27/kambale_musavuli_on_the_forgotten_war
Jonathan Hari, The Independent. 10/30/2008 http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-how-we-fuel-africas-bloodiest-war-978461.html
Johann Hari, The Independent. 4/5/2006
In Bukavu, a 29-year-old human rights campaigner called Bertrand Bisimwa summarised his country’s situation for me with cruel concision. "Since the 19th century, when the world looks at
Maurice Carney interview on Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/23/corporations_reaping_millions_as_congo_suffers
Christine Schuler Deschryver interview on Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2007/10/8/they_are_destroying_the_female_species
Kambale Musavuli interview in