(Part of The Darkness Visible series)
(The Hell of Eastern Congo)
In 2012 the genocide in the Congo surpassed the estimated deaths of Jews in the Holocaust. The fact that the world remains silent has left some of us cynical jaded souls asking if the victims in the Congo were just born the wrong color? Would the world care more if these 6,100,000 souls been cared for a little more if they had just been born white?
In 1994 the Hutu militias and Hutu civilians who had been defeated after committing genocide in neighboring Rwanda fled into what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their presence there brought forth the sins they had committed in Rwanda. With their bloody hands came the crimes that had driven them from their homeland. Every since 1996 the Congo has been paying the price of war and genocide.
Rebel armies rape, pillage, and torture innocent civilians daily in Eastern Congo and the Northern Congo. Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Hutu extremist group, continues to terrorize the eastern areas of the Congo. The Lord's Resistance Army, despite President Obama's claims, continue to force famine upon the northern areas of the Congo and abduct innocent children.
In recent years organizations like "Invisible Children" have taken up the cause of the victims of groups like The Lord's Resistance Army. But even these good intentioned organizations fail to recognize that the use of children soldiers is just a symptom of genocide in the region. Those who support organizations like "Invisible Children" also seem blind to the fact that an estimated 45,000 people die each month in the Congo. This estimation includes more than just children and women (though women and children do suffer disproportionately). It includes all Congolese citizens who refuse to support and participate in the killing of their neighbors and families.
What makes the Congo genocide unique however is not the religion or race of the victims. This is a genocide that challenges the definition of genocide itself. This is a genocide that targets those who happen to be in the way. They happen to live on land that is rich in resources and minerals that are far to precious for the Western world to ignore. Instead it is the victim that is ignored while the diamonds, gold, silver, and lumber are pillaged by rabid governments in the developed world.
This is where the color of the victims skin seems to show the tale tale signs of willful ignorance and neglect by the Western world.
It is expected of China and Russia that they would support regimes like that in the Sudan and Iran when they exploit their citizens to boost the private wealth of those in charge of the victimized country. Communism does not preach to the impoverished the core values of human rights. It does not teach its citizens that all people are equated equal and with inalienable rights endowed to them by G-d. It only teaches its citizens that their own welfare is important and that the desire of the masses must be met despite the suffering of the few.
So why is it that the United States and Canada alike seem far to willing to allow companies who operate within their borders to exploit and prop up genocidal regimes like those in the Congo?
This year President Obama lifted sanctions on American based companies doing business in Myanmar. It is unfortunate that Mr. Obama never had to bother with lifting sanctions on American businesses that would prevent them from doing business in the Congo. Instead American mining companies and natural resource purchasing companies in the United States have long been doing their business with Congo based war lords. And in Canada the government decided to drop a piece of legislation that would have blocked Canadian businesses who currently import Congolese resources.
This failure to pass any from of sanctions against the Congolese war lords has allowed for Western cash to continue to fund genocide in the Congo. This constant flow has boosted the flow of blood in the worlds second poorest nation. At the same time the 24 trillion US dollars worth of resources continues to be picked clean as greed fuels the flames of the hellish genocide it supports.
If we are ever going to see action taken to stop the killing in the Congo we must first force action in the governments of the Americas and Europe. We can no longer accept the word of companies when they assure us that the products we buy are not "blood diamonds" or "conflict minerals". These same companies still take your cash and send it to the killing fields so that they can use middle men to traffic the cheap resources back into the Western markets. Only actual laws and bills can put an end to the cash that fuels the genocides in developing nations like the Congo.
This callousness to the suffering of Congolese citizens by Western markets leaves me jaded only that much more. And once again it leaves me asking... do these six million dead receive little acknowledgement simply because they aren't white? Or is it our greed that blinds us to the blood stains on our own hands?