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DR Congo and Ban Ki-moon
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-11-08 08:09:47
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Barack Obama is the new president of the USA but the world didn’t change from one day to the other and the crisis in DR Congo lands us to the land of misery, war and death. The African leaders are numb from the events and keep asking from Ban Ki-Moon more action and more peacekeepers, while thousands of people flee in panic and more Angolan troops are getting involved.

Every time I write something about the African union I remember Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe. What happens this moment in DR Congo is not a surprise and nothing new to anybody who’s watching the area for the last five years at least and the humanitarian catastrophe was predictable to everybody, but for long the African Union insists in taking over the peace process and sometimes they even managed to have negotiators. Does that remind you of something? Does the name Mbeki say anything?

The people of DR Congo have already fled the cities and most of them live in camps, the fights between the government troops and the rebels have become ruthless and merciless with the innocent the usual victims but now the worst has happened, just like it happens in Sudan, the fights have moved inside the camps leading the people into unknown. The situation near Goma where some of the biggest refugee camps are has become chaotic, without control and people in panic.

The same time the DR Congo government has accused the United Nations and personally Ki-Moon for inability to control the rebels who according the government has started the slaughtering from the east while the UN’s General Secretary is accusing the government of DR Congo and especially the General Laurent Nkunda saying, “the recent military offensives by the CNDP have radically compounded the situation, led to severe humanitarian consequences and thrust the eastern DRC once more into a phase of heightened crisis. This crisis could engulf the broader sub-region.”

Of course the General Secretary was equally patronizing to the African leaders, “as leaders of Africa, you have a historic responsibility, it is a critical moment for the Great Lakes region, and for Africa as a whole. We must put the cycle of violence behind us.” Please somebody stop the man from going to parties all the time, drinking Champaign and dancing, he has no idea what he’s doing.

The United Nations General Secretary ones more proves that he was the worst possible choice for the position and the only thing that excuses his existence in the position is that Bush’s administration needed a bureaucrat pawn for the seat and they found Ban Ki-Moon. The man is a joke and instead of patronizing he should understand what is the role of the United Nations in crisis like that and act immediately before more people get killed and worst of all as he accidentally I presume said he, before the whole region gets in deep trouble.

But to return to the situation in DR Congo perhaps most don’t know what really going on in this poor country despite the fact that is one of the bigger in the African continent and could be one of the richest in Africa due to copper and diamonds. In this country the last ten years more than 5, 5 million people have died due to bloodiest conflicts after the WWII in human history. The last ten years situation has involved all the countries in the area and general conflicts is not far even this very moment t since some of the neighbors support the government and some others the rebels and never forget that Sudan, one of those neighbors is already on fire.

The number 5, 5 million people are definitely nightmarish and patronizing about peace is the last thing the UN Secretary should do. A few months before the actions and the involvement of the UN had been an issue in the Security Council with more disagreements and no decisions taken and here we are now seen people in panic and the numbers of dead rising in an impossible to count speed.

The African Union is impuissant to do anything otherwise wouldn’t ask for help and to be honest here, I’m really worrying for the day that the opposition in Zimbabwe won’t be able to continue these idiotic ‘talks’ with Mugabe and they will decide to take the arms, the African union has a lot to do with those talks and especially Mbeki. So what is left for the situation? For Ban Ki-Moon to wake up keep away from the parties and call the Security Council to take some decision here and now but most of all take action here and now. How many thousands should die before something be done?

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AP2008-11-08 21:00:27
The UN's peacekeeping forces are not being effective enough, and who's responsible for that? Who's responsible for the fact that there are no enough forces available, or not efficient enough? Why doesn't the African Union have a permanent peacekeeping force yet? Who's responsible for not having stopped it on time? Congo is a former Belgian colony and Belgium is currently a member of the Security Council, I guess they are in a previleged position to call other members' attention to these problems too, right? And the diamond companies from Canada, Japan, Australia and the U.S. that used to support Kabila, aren't they responsible?
Ultimately, peace is a choice of the people who don't pull the trigger - Angola should know that, as they made that choice not so long ago. Just imagine the money spent with these guns during both Congo wars invested in food, goods and health for the people... Who made the wrong choices?
A country that could be one of the richest in Africa and is not... due to unstoppable greed. Where diamonds and copper are exchanged for the wrong things... diamonds for guns instead of food in a country where two-thirds of the population (over 40 million) suffers malnutrition, copper and cobalt for guns instead of health and education in a country with the worst rates of rape and sexual violence in the world, and where over 5.2 million children did not receive education at all due to civil war.

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