Sunday, November 23, 2008

Africa, Part Two: Sudan and Uganda

In the DRC, an inhumane war is taking place where widespread rape is used as a tool to advance political agendas, and genocide is being committed in Darfur, Sudan. John Prendergast calls this area the 21st century version of the Holocaust. In Sudan and the DRC, 7.5 million people have died. In Northern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army has kidnapped thousands of children to use as soldiers in their military (the United Nations estimates that there are about 250,000 child soldiers worldwide). They often make these children kill people in their family or their community so they are too scared to go home. Uganda currently has the highest child abduction rate in the world, and this abduction is spreading into Eastern Congo and Southern Sudan. Another grave aspect of these conflicts is the displacement of people, which results in a large part of the population living in refugee camps. In Northern Uganda, 1.5 million people have been displaced. In Darfur, 2.5 million have been displaced, and in the DRC over 1 million people have been displaced, with 250,000 of those occurring in September and October 2008 (according to the UN).

On average, the countries in Africa are only fifty years into their independence. When our country was at this stage of its formation, we were experiencing economic explosion on the backs of African slaves, who were completely dehumanized and killed in the process. We were still in the process of displacing Native Americans from their land, a development that resulted in the destruction of almost an entire people and their culture. And we hadn’t even fought our civil war yet, which ended up being one of the most deadly wars in history. We are not too different than Africa then, except for that they are trying to build their country in the midst of a military-industrial complex, where they have easy access to affordable weapons. The United States and Russia are the leading arms dealers in the region. Once again, we are already playing a role in this area.

However, there is hope for Africa, and we have a role to play in bringing peace to the region. More to come on this in the next few posts.

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