Why the World Is Ignoring Congo War

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http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/27/opinion/congo-war-ignored-vava-tampa/?hpt=hp_c1

Though I disagree with some of the author’s conclusions in the above link (after seeing what has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Philippines, Iran, Pakistan, etc., etc., etc., do you really want US policymakers to intervene in the Congo?), I think it is important to consider the question of “Why the World Is Ignoring Congo War”. Vava Tampa, the author and Congo native, offers the following possibilities:

Is it due to the geographical or cultural distance between London or Washington and Congo? Or are Western media just reluctant, if not uninterested, to cover it because no Western interests or ally is endangered by it?

Would the coverage the situation in Congo receives be the same if it was happening in Europe or if Congo spoke English rather than French?

What if Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe or his disciples were implicated in funding murderous militia gangs in Congo? Or if the killing was between black Africans and Arabs? Or if minerals funding Congo’s killing and raping industries benefited the East more than the West?

Taking them in order: 1) No, it is not due to geographical or cultural distance. We need only look at all the other places that US and British powers have invaded and attempted to colonize to know that that can’t be the answer. 2) This is the most likely explanation. Western media’s reporting is highly in-line with what Western governments are doing and what their interests are. I’m sure the reader can think of numerous examples off the top of his or her head of places where the outright disregard of individual rights is rampant but only spoken of when Western governments have some kind of interaction with them (such as Myanmar when Hilary Clinton was negotiating with their military junta about trade barriers, North Korea whenever the US government decides to send sanctions or aid, or sub-Saharan Africa whenever the US government decides to respond to a video fad about a military dictator using child soldiers). 3) Obviously not! to the former part of the question. Why is this the case? Inevitably, some will point to the answer of racism but this is overly simplistic and not helpful, in addition to being wrong. If this were the situation in Europe, the US government would have a far greater interest. Poor people in sub-Saharan Africa can pose little challenge to US-led hegemony. The language spoken is irrelevant except to the extent that if it were English then it would be likely that English or American powers had colonized the Congo and would therefore have more of an interest. 4) Not sure that it would matter, in terms of media coverage, if Mugabe were involved. The US is currently funding rebels in Syria, some of them known to be al-Qaeada. It is also beyond dispute that third-world dictators receive funding from the US, hence the question. Should we really be surprised that it is used to abuse human rights? This should be obvious. It seems that major media outlets could really take the US government to task for this; I’m not entirely sure why they do not. (Though it is possibly the case that since most news reporting involves what government officials say that major outlets don’t want to jeopardize their access to them by embarrassing them.) 5) Again, I don’t think it’s about race but about the interests of the US government and its cronies. 6) We are getting somewhat closer to the answer with this question. I imagine if it were oil then this would be much bigger news (notice how the “humanitarian” war in Libya could have easily taken place in a number of other countries if the goal were really about “liberating” people? Is it just a coincidence that Libya has massive oil resources?).

Regardless to the answer of why the world is ignoring what is going on in the Congo, it is an absolute and utter tragedy. I want to thank the reader in joining me in refusing to ignore it. I would ask the faithful among us to pray that situation may take a turn for the better. I would also ask that those of us who do not profess such a faith would excuse us who do. Let us demonstrate to any and all who may notice that adherents of the non-aggression principle, whether they be theists or atheists, can live at peace among one another. This should be one of our great legacies to the world.

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2 responses »

  1. Thank you for sharing this inside source on the tragic and heart-wrenching conditions in Congo. If I may critique the author, I wonder why he doesn’t mention the achievements his founded organization has won in the fight for the innocent and suffering people of the Congo. Crying out to Western mass media is just a step down from appealing to policy makers. I would like to see an article from Vava Tampa on his own and other grassroots efforts.

    • Here is what I could gather from his organization’s website (http://www.savethecongo.org.uk). Under the “Our Work” section, they list Public Lectures, Publications, STAC, CII, and CEF. There are two public lectures, one of which is a broken link and the other which hasn’t yet happened, The publications include an “Open Letters” page (all of which are written to the UK government), some speeches, press releases, and sermons. STAC stands for Students Taking Action on Congo and their stated purpose is to “galvanise students and student-led groups and organisation from across the UK and around the world to raising awareness, lobbying, and fundraising to help move the wars and human tragedy overwhelming the Congo from the margins of national and international politics into the centres of national and international discourse and policy priorities.” CII is the Congo Interfaith Initiative and it “grew out of the need to raise awareness of the human tragedy overwhelming the Congo and to summon the conscious of major aid donors into tackling the root cause of the wars and humanitarian crisis…” Under the campaigns page of CII, it simply reads “1. Impunity, 2. Blood Minerals”. CEF is the Congo Education Fund. It seems that that program is still under development since there is no information about it.

      It is hard to get an idea of what they do exactly from their website.

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