With an estimated death toll of six million, the Holocaust is widely viewed as the singularly most devastating period in modern history. Yet despite the increased interconnectedness of the world today and the international provisions in place to respond to humanitarian crises, the conflict in eastern Congo rages on without an effective international response –- surpassing the Holocaust in number of years and now, even in number of lives lost. Read More »
Given the complexities of the mineral trade and the many powerful vested interests who continue to profit at the expense of Congo’s crisis, it can tempting to say that it’s just too difficult to do something about this problem. But a new proposal written by Congo specialists Jason Stearns and Steve Hege powerfully and succinctly suggests otherwise. Read More »
During his January 27 unveiling of the new iPad, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that his company had just sold its 250 millionth iPod. I own one of those – maybe you do, too. If every consumer-electronics purchase is like a vote, that’s 250 million voices saying: “Yes, I’m OK with that” – with everything it took to put that device in my hand. Read More »
Yesterday, on a short walk to the funeral for Koko’s baby cousin, an elderly woman sitting under the shade of a tree, called to Koko. Since it seems like half of Dungu is family or old friends of Koko, it wasn’t out of the ordinary. But this lady’s slow turn to face us, the sober look about her, clued me in. She turned to reveal the bullet-wound-size bandage on her chest. Read More »
NPR affiliate WPSU, the radio station of Penn State, recently featured Professor Lee Ann De Reus explaining her belief in Ubuntu, an African philosophy that says each of us is part of an interconnected global community, and its relation to her experience interviewing women who had survived rape in Congo. Read More »
With a record 61 cosponsors, the bipartisan Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was submitted last month for Senate passage by unanimous consent. But a lone senator – Tom Coburn of Oklahoma – is single-handedly blocking the bill, jeopardizing the progress toward peace so many have worked to create. Read More »
My Thursday column is about the war in eastern Congo, looking at the work of Lisa Shannon and her Run for Congo Women. Readers sometimes ask why I often write about outsiders, like Lisa, rather than about the innumerable local people who are doing extraordinary work — often at greater risk. It’s certainly true that Congo, for example, has a vibrant and admirable civil society, full of Congolese women themselves organizing against rape and war.
But it’s already very difficult to get Americans to show any interest in a remote, distant conflict, and if everyone in the drama is Congolese it’s that much harder. An American protagonist in the column creates a connection to readers, I hope, and leaves them more engaged in the topic. That may not be fair, but it’s the reality. Likewise, I want to encourage readers — overwhelmingly American — to get involved, and Lisa makes a nice role model for that.