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The Threat of ‘Conflict Fatigue’

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The Threat of ‘Conflict Fatigue’

Posted by Laura Heaton on June 12, 2009

In an piece on Foreign Policy’s The Argument, Enough’s Colin Thomas-Jensen and Rebecca Feeley challenge the impression that nothing can be done to end the violence that has long plagued eastern Congo. Their overview of the current conditions on the ground is indeed grim, but they offer a host of challenging yet feasible steps that key actors could take to end the rampant violence and address the deeply ingrained dynamics that have perpetuated conflict in the region. The major obstacle, as Colin and Rebecca put it, boils down to this:

Doing research and advocacy to help end the crisis in the Great Lakes region around Congo can feel like screaming into an empty room. The region has been so violent for so long that the United Nations, donor governments, and the press have become numb. But there is a cure to even the worst cases of "conflict fatigue": an understanding that solutions are within reach if we just have the will to pursue them — solutions that can prevent thousands of senseless deaths.


[I]n a place like Congo — a desperately poor country where nearly 6 million people have died from 13 years of chronic conflict — the world has a lot of work to do. Anyone advocating for an end to the conflict must be content with slow and steady progress and not expect a quick fix.

Check out the full piece to learn about the numerous paths the United Nations, diplomats, and the Congolese and Rwandan governments could pursue to stop the deaths and move the region beyond its bloody status quo.