Congo Week: Day One
What do you think of when you think of the Democratic Republic of Congo?
What’s that you say?!? You don’t think of the Democratic Republic of Congo? Hardly surprising.
Let’s be honest. Most people would be hard pressed to say what a Democratic Republic of Congo is, much less spend a lot of time thinking about it.
Well, we should.
And yes, of course, I am going to tell you why ….
Because each and every one of us can play a role –
without even leaving our chairs –
to stop one of the most horrific conflicts in the world.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, is a country in Africa ravaged by a conflict driven by competing forces’ desire for control of the country’s vast resources of copper, tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and cobalt. This conflict has been marked by some of the world’s most egregious cases of sexual violence perpetrated against civilian populations for the sole purpose of sowing fear and forcing submission. Armed combatants follow no acceptable rules of war – even the country’s army is regularly accused of participating in abusive practices and seeking control of funds generated by mining. Children and families are forced to work in inhumane conditions. Death stalks the Congolese hour after hour, day after day, month after month ….
Like the “blood diamonds” of Sierra Leone, profits from the sale of DRC’s minerals are used to fund the conflict. Like the “blood diamonds” the appetite of global markets – via computers, cell phones and other electronics – is helping the trade.
This week – October 17 – 23 – Friends of the Congo is running its third Congo Week – Breaking the Silence – in a bid to raise awareness of the conflict in the DRC and help end the violence.
So what can you do?
Keep reading. All this week, I will be featuring guest bloggers each with a unique voice and viewpoint on the DRC, the conflict, and what we can do to help stop it.
Spread the word. Help me break the silence by sharing the blog posts via Twitter, Facebook and any other way you like.
Get informed. Learn about the DRC and our role in the ongoing conflict. Read things like this recent piece from actress Ashley Judd and the Enough Project’s Jon Prendergast on the DRC, minerals and cell phones.
Take action. Friends of the Congo, The Enough Project and others consistently champion efforts to improve the situation in the DRC that contain actions members of the public can take to get involved.