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Presentation on genocide in congo

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PRESENTATION ON GENOCIDE IN CONGO “ Genocide is the “ intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”(www. genocidewatch. org).
“ Genocide results from the conjunction of influences and actions widely present in the world today, it needs to be addressed directly, and understood, not neglected.” (Newbury, 1998).
Theories exist that the Belgians who colonized the country, showed preference to the Hemas at the cost of neglecting the Lendus, which paved the way for several social injustices that culminated in rivalry between these groups.
When the Belgians left in 1960, relinquishing the power to the people of Congo, it became known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Lumumbo was elected as Prime Minister.
After a short while the power-crazy President Mobutu assassinated him and took over power. He encouraged cross-border infiltration which provoked the Tutsi dominated regime of Rwanda under Kabila which, in turn, triggered the First Congo War.
Gradually Laurent Kabila began to face rebellion from within his country and in 1998 Uganda, joined by Rwandan rebels, invaded Congo. This marked the beginning of the Second Congo War.
The US tacitly supported Mobutu, and created an outward impression that their concern was to fight communism and Soviet influence. But they had a hidden agenda of tapping the natural resources and using the strategic positions.
Mass-scale murders, rape, looting etc characterized both the Congo Wars. The genocide resulted in untold miseries to the country. Some of the most horrific consequences were:
2, 000, 000 people were internally displaced and a million out of these didn’t receive outside assistance
2, 500, 000 people died from diseases
18, 000, 000 people had no medical facilities
16, 000, 000 had critical food needs
About 9, 000, 000 children were orphaned
2, 500, 000 people earned less than a dollar a day and in some cases families lived on US $0. 18 per day
Four out of ten children didn’t have the facility of education
Fifty five percent of people didn’t have safe drinking water
Perhaps one of the most tragic and horrendous aspect of the Congo Genocide was the disregard for women and children, and the cruelty meted out to them.
The Observer on June 15, 2003, quoted a former student of Bukavu university, named Feli: “ Women, children, everyone we could get our hands on, we killed them all,” leaving “ not even babies” (www. observer. guardian. co. uk).
Girls were raped, bellies of pregnant women slit open and knives driven through the fetus.
The Congo Genocide was widely believed to be the aftermath of the long standing rivalry between African ethnic groups.
“ In Central Africa three countries viz. Burundi (1993-96), Rwanda (1994) and Zaire (1996) have been overtaken by catastrophes in 3 years.” (Newbury, 1998). Western Media gave wide coverage to the catastrophe, but none, including the UNO, took any cognizance of the real issues.
The world at large attributed it to the savage nature of Africans’ ethnic rivalry and the collapse of their social system.
This propaganda was used to shield Multinational Corporations, and the West in general, who had a vested interest of exploiting the natural resources, especially Coltan and Niobium used for the production of cell phones and other high tech electronic equipment.
The role of propaganda is evident in the statement: “ The tragedy of the Congo conflict has been instituted by multinational business corporations, their proxy armies and supra-governmental bodies that support them.” (www. globalsecurity. org)
Genocide in the 20th Century. Cited on October 14, 2006
Newbury, David. Understanding Genocide: African Studies Review. Volume 41, Number 1 (April 1998)
Accessed on October 14, 2006
Accessed on October 15, 2004

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