War in the Congo. An Ongoing Humanitarian Catastrophe

Linked on our blogs with Danny Schechter – USA.

Published on Global Research.ca (first on Media Channel), by Danny Schechter, December 16, 2009.

GOMA, KIVU, EASTERN CONGO: After a week in Kinshasa talking about war in Congo, it was time to see it, or at least visit its epicenter in the East. This is where rape is used as a weapon of war, where rebel groups challenge government forces militarily and occupy territory. 1.8 million people have been displaced causing a major humanitarian crisis; territory seems to change hands regularly and, as they say, tension is high.

Will peace break out or should we expect a country in pieces? … //   

… It is easy to latch on to a conspiracy theory or many. Many Congolese blame the Rwandans for perpetuating the conflict for the interests of their leaders. Suspicion is rife; rumors are pervasive. People who have spent a lifetime studying the conflict admit to their own confusions about what is going on.

Keith Harmon Snow writes on Dissident Voice that we are all being snookered, although a lot of his argument is very detailed but based on unnamed “intelligence sources.” He reports on a new uprising against Kabila in Equateur Province and says the government has asked that Belgian paratroopers be sent in.

I tried to check this out with my own “sources” in Kinshasa. The response: little evidence. A Parliamentary source wrote me:

“There is absolutely nothing about this in the Belgian media (Dutch nor French language). I passed your question on to a reliable journalist on the national flemish radio and to a member of parliament …  But your information confirms rumors here in KIN about dead bodies in the streets of villages in the Equateur Province.

And then there are the rumors about a new invasion of Goma by rebels there.”

Snow also writes, “The western media broadcasts the suffering in Congo, but the propaganda is simplistic disinformation, and the western news [sic] consuming public eats it up and dismisses the Congo, abandoning the people whose lives are determined in part by the raw materials stolen from them in a state of war and organized crime.”

Alas, most of the so-called “consuming public” overseas is not informed and what’s worst largely indifferent. (Why wouldn’t they be, given the lack of ongoing media coverage?) As for crime, that is likely. The Observer in London reports, “an estimated <I>$352bn</I> of drug and mafia money was laundered by the major banks at the peak of the credit crunch, while regulators turned a blind eye, since the highly liquid criminal underworld was the only source of the cash necessary to keep the banks’ doors open.”

American politicians have yet to cite a report by Global Witness that showed  foreign mining and trading companies that are buying minerals from suppliers linked to the various armies plundering the Central African treasure house.

“The mineral wealth in eastern Congo is vital to running the modern technological and military machinery of today’s world,” a friend steeped in African issues writes. “An American University professor named Kenneth Anderson says that the West is attempting to sever Sino-Congolese ties, which means the north to south highway that China is building to give Congo its own lifeline…”

So here we are in the final days of 2009 with a story that goes back to colonialism. If any country needs a “Surge,” this is it, but, like in Afghanistan, more soldiers alone will not necessarily help the people because the crisis is not just a military one. It is as much about aggression as ethnic antagonism. (full text).

(Danny Schechter — MediaChannel’s News Dissector, author of THE CRIME OF OUR TIME is making a film in Congo DRC. For more on his work on the financial crisis, see Plunder the crime of our time.com. Articles on Global Research.ca by Danny Schechter).

Comments are closed.