Saturday, November 22, 2008

Africa, Part One: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

For the past two weeks, we have been incredibly fortunate to have John Prendergast at the School of Peace Studies as a guest scholar. John has worked in Africa for years, including under the Clinton administration, where he played a key role in establishing a peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. He led many events, lectures, and discussions while he was here, so I will do a series of posts on Africa as a result based on what John spoke about.

The war going on in the DRC is the world’s deadliest war since WWII. 5.2 million people have died in the past decade. One of the especially devastating aspects of this current conflict is how rape is being used as a tool of war. Mass rapes are taking place throughout the DRC right now, and have been incredibly effective in removing people from their land and humiliating the population affected. The DRC is the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman. Rape is being used as a “weapon of mass destruction.” If we allow this to continue, historians will look back and say it was a turning point where rape was proved to be so effective as a war tactic that others began using it.

Every American has a role in this conflict, because this is a conflict over resources that we all use. We are all personally benefiting from the War in Congo because the minerals extracted from the country are used to produce our electronic devices such as computers, i-pods, and cell phones. The atrocities taking place are fueled by our insatiable demand for resources.

This is not a hopeless situation though. Peace has been achieved in various parts of Africa, it can be attained here, and we can all be a part of the achievement of peace in this region. More to come on these topics in the next few posts.


  1. Excellent. Thank you.

    It's amazing the ignorance the typical American has about the consequences of his or her piggishness. How it destroys whole lives, lands, cultures. It's way, way past time we woke the hell up.

    Looking forward to more from you.


  2. I am definitely looking forward to what else you'll write on this issue!