Last week, I traveled to the University of Richmond (UR) to perform my spoken word poetry and hip-hop on the Congo. Getting people like these students thinking about how Congo is part of them is proof positive that the movement we’re building for Congo is on the right track, and we must continue spreading the word. Read More »
The Lord’s Resistance Army continues to pose a severe threat to civilians in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since the LRA began attacking civilians on Congolese soil in September of 2008 through the end of 2009, it has killed approximately 1,800 civilians.
A new report released by Global Witness details the challenges posed by resource-fueled conflicts to the United Nation’s peace efforts around the world, dedicating a hard-hitting segment to Congo. Read More »
It has now been more than 100 hours since a team of young U.S. activists, inspired to help stop the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa, descended on the Oklahoma City office of Senator Tom Coburn (R) to demand that he lift his hold on a bill aimed at neutralizing the LRA fighters and rebuilding communities long terrorized by the insurgency. Read More »
If you’ve read Adam Hochschild’s eye-opening and masterful King Leopold’s Ghost, you’ll probably have the same reaction I had when an advance copy of his newest article, “Blood and Treasure,” came across my desk: Stop multitasking and dedicate full attention to Hochschild’s piece. Read More »
Next Monday, March 8, will mark International Women's Day. It’s a global day during which women and men around the world join together to highlight the accomplishments of women, as well as call for their political, economic, and social empowerment. But we think that a day is just not enough to celebrate the accomplishments of women in Congo and around the world, as well as advocate for their empowerment. Join us for events all month long. Read More »
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is not an obvious candidate to be Africa's turnaround story of the coming decade. This is a country that has been pillaged by outsiders for more than a century, cursed by its extraordinary natural resource base to unparalleled levels of death and destruction. With a seemingly intractable war in the east, one of the worst corruption-fighting records in the world, and some of the highest rates of sexual violence ever recorded, Congo does not, understandably, lend itself well to optimistic prognoses. But sometimes a situation deteriorates so badly that it catalyzes transformative responses. And things can actually change, no matter how entrenched the troubles. That opportunity for real progress is exactly what I found on my recent visit to Congo.
Congo's conflict, the world's deadliest since World War II, is not really a war -- it's a business based on violent extortion. There are numerous armed groups and commercial actors -- Congolese, Rwandan, and Ugandan -- that have positioned themselves for the spoils of a deliberately lawless, accountability-free, unstable, highly profitable mafia-style economy. Millions of dollars are made monthly in illegal taxation of mining operations, smuggling of minerals, and extortion rackets run by mafia bosses based primarily in Kinshasa, Kigali, and Kampala. The spoils are tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold, minerals that go into laptops, cell phones, MP3 players, and jewelry stores in the West. Armed groups use terrifying tactics such as mass rape and village burning to intimidate civilians into providing cheap labor for this elaborate extortion racket.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is not an obvious candidate to be Africa's turnaround story of the coming decade. But sometimes a situation deteriorates so badly that it catalyzes transformative responses. Read More »
Appearing on Capitol Hill this week to testify about the Obama administration’s foreign policy priorities, Secretary of State Clinton offered some specific details – and personal dedication – on the topic of stopping the marauding Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa. Read More »