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World turns blind eye to atrocities in Congo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 27th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Think of a place where the number of lives being unjustly taken is akin to having a 9/11 every single day for 360 days, in addition to the genocide that struck Rwanda in 1994, the ethnic cleansing that overwhelmed Bosnia in the mid-1990s, the genocide that took place in Darfur, the number of people killed in the great tsunami that struck Asia in 2004, and the number of people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- all combined and then doubled. Vava Tampa, founder of Save the Congo, says that this is going on in the DRC - and yet the world's media has turned a blind eye to it all.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Indeed, one only need contrast media coverage of the latest Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza strip and Hamas rocket attacks into southern Israel, which have made front pages around the world," Tampa says. He points to the slim - if totally nonexistent coverage of the atrocities committed that same week by M23, the newest militia gang terrorizing the local Congolese population.

Tampa says his group Save the Congo, a London-based campaign is intended to address "the impunity, insecurity, institutional failure and the international trade of minerals funding the wars in Democratic Republic of the Congo."

The United Nations has labeled the DRC, Africa's second largest country, as the "rape capital of the world" due to the use of rape as a weapon of war by proxy militia gangs fighting for control of Congo's easily appropriable and highly valuable natural resources.

"Yet we rarely hear anything about it," Tampa says.

M23's murderous campaigns to besiege Congo's eastern mineral-rich provinces of North and South Kivu have left over 200,000 people in ravaged, killed countless others and ushered in a dire humanitarian transgression.

"The question here is not whether the human suffering in Congo deserves more media coverage because it is greater than that in Syria or Gaza, but rather, why has the crisis in Syria or Gaza qualified for extensive media coverage, but not the killing and raping industries in Congo?

"I doubt that this is because of a shortage of sobering imagery of Congo's killing fields or a lack of first-hand testimonies from survivors, or a lack of human rights and humanitarian reports and assessments of the situation," Tampa says.

There may be widespread cultural reasons as to why the atrocities there have undergone a media blackout. "Is it due to the geographical or cultural distance between London or Washington and Congo? Or are Western media just reluctant, if not uninterested, to cover it because no Western interests or ally is endangered by it?

"Would the coverage the situation in Congo receives be the same if it was happening in Europe or if Congo spoke English rather than French?"

Tampa beseeches that the eyes of the world turn their attention to this suffering African nation. "We must flood the airwaves with vivid images and news stories on the human sufferings in Congo. Newspapers such the Guardian, in the UK, and the New York Times must drumbeat front-page news stories on the wars and human tragedy engulfing that country.

"Unless they tip that balance a little and force policy makers in Washington and internationally to pay more attention and act, the killing, raping and looting that have thus far claimed over 5.4 million Congolese lives, and continue to leave 1,100 women raped every single day, could continue to unfold undetected by the camera lenses of Western media and excluded from Western political agenda."

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