Email just in from Friends of the Congo May 30, 2006:
In its June 5th issue, Time magazine features on its cover the Congo crisis, entitled, "Congo:The Hidden Toll of the World's Deadliest War" by By Simon Robinson and Vivienne Walt.
Time correctly raises the critical issue of "what's needed to prevent the deaths of millions more [Congolese]." However, its accounting of the facts are incomplete and it's analysis does not lead us to a comprehensive prescription for preventing more dying and suffering in the Congo.
Time claims, in part, that the world has let "Congo bleed" because of its "maligned reputation and feckless rulers." Aside from the fact that there is absolutely no justification for letting "the Congo bleed" to the tune of 4 million dead since 1998, Time totally misses the central cause for the conflict and unbearable human toll in the Congo. The reason why the Congo bleeds today is the same reason it bled under Belgium's King Leopold II's genocidal reign of the Congo from 1885 - 1908, when at least 10 million or half of the Congolese population perished in a 23 year span as the King brutally and illegally exploited the resources (at that time rubber and ivory) and labor of the Congo.
The central issue of the Congo has long been its enormous wealth and the nexus that exists among local sycophants seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, greedy neighbors with visions of regional grandeur and the veracious appetite by Western governments and corporations to profit from the natural resources of the Congo with no regard for Congolese lives. Until this issue is squarely and honestly addressed the Congo will continue to "bleed."
Johann Hari hit the nail on the head in his article Congo's Tragedy: the War the World Forgot" published in the May 6 edition of the Independent online. He stated "This war has been dismissed as an internal African implosion. In reality it is a battle for coltan, diamonds, cassiterite and gold, destined for sale in London, New York and Paris. It is a battle for the metals that make our technological society vibrate and ring and bling, and it has already claimed 4 million lives in five years and broken a population the size of Britain's. No this is not only a story about them. This - the tale of a short journey into the long Congolese war we in the West have fostered, fueled and funded - is a story about you"
Click here to read entire critique.