Condition Critical in Congo

I often wonder why in the West we are so numb to what’s going on in other parts of the world?  Who wants bad news all the time?  Certainly not me.

I’ve been reading a book on the first year of the war in Iraq.  And now, rather than ‘tune out’ reports on Iraq which is what I prefer, I listen to them with different ears.  Informed & caring ears.   The situation in Iraq has new meaning to me because I read about it.  But honestly, I just don’t want to be bothered or guilted into anything.  I am speaking for myself here but I’m thinking I’m not alone.

You likely know that there is a war that has been going on for a decade or longer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mostly we don’t hear about it in our “world” news. I know next to nothing about Congo, but Googled it and found this out:

“Conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken the lives of 5.4 million people since 1988 and continue to leave as many as 45,000 dead every month, according to a 2008 mortality survey released by the International Rescue Committee.” 1

From time to time Tom and I give money to an organization called Doctor’s without Borders 2 (more about them below). Today, I received an email and found myself watching the most


sad, and


video about what is happening right now in the Democratic Republic of Congo! (I tried to embed it here, but alas I am way too dense.)

Hundreds of thousands of people are on the run, and/or in refugee camps, fleeing a war that is raging in the eastern part of Congo, in the provinces of North and South Kivu.  Many people are sick or wounded, others have been separated from their children or parents. I’m sure you’ve heard the reports of women being harassed or raped. The people of the Kivus are in dire condition and the destiny of everyone in this region is shaped by the war.

This is a striking photo timeline of the war.  And here’s a link to the short video full of personal stories about the impact of this war.

I think, once I have learned so much about the people of Congo, I won’t be able to ignore it in the news any more.

But even as I write this, as I read on about the IRC on their website, I find myself sighing deeply and thinking I don’t want to know any more right now. (e.g. I just read $50 could ensure that 100 refugees have access to safe, clean water in the midst of an emergency. ) I think I’ll go make myself a cup of tea and while I do I’ll thank the good Lord that I have heat, a full tummy and a toilet that flushes.

We can’t care about everyone, everywhere, all the time.  But it is good to let the armor or complacency shield down every once in a while.  Because somewhere, right now as I write these words, people are suffering.


1  The International Rescue Committee is a global network of first responders, humanitarian relief workers, healthcare providers, educators, community leaders, activists, and volunteers. Working together, we provide access to safety, sanctuary, and sustainable change for millions of people whose lives have been shattered by violence and oppression. Founded in 1933, the IRC is a global leader in emergency relief, rehabilitation, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement services and advocacy for those uprooted or affected by violent conflict and oppression.  The IRC is on the ground in 42 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees, and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster.  Through 24 regional offices in cities across the United States, we help refugees resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient.

2 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, or exclusion from health care in more than 60 countries. New York office: 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY, 10001

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