Last Sunday kicked off “Break the Silence” Congo Week. (I know, we’re a bit late!) From now until October 25th, students from the US, Canada, England, Belgium, Germany, France, Brazil, Jamaica, Norway, Korea, Ghana, Mali, South Africa, Columbia, and others are running events to raise awareness about what is going on in the Congo.
What is happening there is one of the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today. The United Nations said it is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War Two. However, hardly anything is said about it in the media; though last weekend, The NYTimes published an article to shed some light on the story.
Basically, militias are being sent into the Congo to break the spirits of the people there through rape and violence so that they can mine and steal the resources of the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) such as Coltan (used to make computers, cell phones, DVDs, kid’s game consoles, etc), copper, and diamonds and then sell it to the corporations.
Guess who some of those are? (It’s companies in the US, Europe, and Asia who supply us with all our cool stuff). How often do you buy a new tech gadget? Are you quick to go for the refurbished tech piece, or the brand spankin’ new edition that gets updated yearly? All those gadgets are made from special base metals in the Earth, and are incredibly valuable in a poor continent like Africa- valuable enough to rape and kill over.
This long-standing war also feeds into the epidemic of AIDS. Through the rapes, the virus has spread. Thankfully, there are inspiring people like YOUTH AIDS activist Suzanne Africa Engo who is taking a stand and raising awareness for the AIDS epidemic. Right now she is on her journey, running 858 miles from NY to Oprah’s studio in CHICAGO. Check out her site and blog to see how you can help her on this journey.
A simple solution of free trade can help disintegrate the use of rape as a war tactic. Pressure manufacturers to reclaim/recycle materials that we already have, and not to finance the militias (take action in a number of ways here). Do we really need to buy a new Laptop or DVD player every year or two or three that is made of raw materials that are gotten through murder, torture, and rape?
I know this is all over whelming but a little bit of effort to make a change goes a long way for any cause. We as human beings need to take a stand for our given rights to love, have peace and own our bodies…for the sake of humanity. Invoke democracy. Speak to others, write to authorities, demand free trade, research, ask for help if you need it. VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Be the change that you want to see and help create the world that you would want to bring your own children into.”