Congo; A Story of â€œUnimportant Peopleâ€
His words hold true today, partly, because the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) contains Africa?s largest single deposit of gold, along with diamonds, coltan, cobalt, zinc, iron, coal, and uranium. It is reported that Congo has been a key source of uranium for the West since the birth of nuclear technology. Congo provided most of the uranium used to make the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. (1)
In June 2004, the investigative NGO, Global Witness, issued a report that detailed how the DRC?s natural resources fuelled slavery, exploitation, suffering, and a civil war. They chronicle the DRC history with all its atrocities from King Leopold?s reign of terror till today.
Global Witness described the gradual development of the 1998-2003 civil war, detailing the involvement of different factions and of neighbouring countries which relied on the exploitation of the DRC?s natural resources to finance their war expenses.
The main points of the final peace agreement were that the four-year-old war should halt. That has not happened. Fighting in the northeastern parts of the DRC continues unabated. The UN gave the fighters till April 1, 2005, to hand in their weapons, warning that those who did not could face prosecution. Militia groups are still clutching their weapons, more firmly than ever.
According to the UN: since 1999, fighting in the northeastern district of Ituri has killed more than 50 000 and forced 500 000 to flee their homes. And, the 16 000 UN peacekeepers in the DRC seem to be incapable of stopping what some describe as the deadliest conflict since World War Two. This is the UN?s largest and most expensive mission, but at the same time the most ineffective and troubled mission the UN has undertaken in recent times.
Apart from being understaffed, the mission itself has been a total disaster. There have been reports that the peacekeepers have failed to defend victims in attacks despite being authorized to use all necessary means to do so.
Understandably, the anti-war movement has been occupied only with the imperialist war in Iraq, and is still yet to include on its agenda civil wars which are the design of the imperialist mischief-making schemes. Consequently, we have yet to see urgently needed global solidarity in Darfur, as well as in the DRC.
So, I pose the question, what is going to take us to move from where we are to a position where we will have means to provide this kind of solidarity?