Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 8:02 AM
I had a profound sense of déjà vu yesterday listening to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threaten intervention by the United States if the Syrian government uses weapons of mass destruction against its own people. Concerns are that a besieged President Bashar al-Assad will deploy WMDs to finally exterminate the popular uprising that has been pestering him for the past 20 months.
But the irony was not lost on me that she was vowing to stop a potential genocide in the Middle East on a day when the international media were reporting once again on an actual genocide in Africa that has been raging for the past 14 years.
[F]our million or more people have died as a result of the conflict [in the DR Congo] since 1998, almost half of them children under the age of 5, according to the International Rescue Committee.
(New York Times, December 2, 2012)
Indeed, it is noteworthy that the killing of 40,000 people in Syria has provoked far more political outrage and media coverage in the West than the killing of over 4,000,000 people in the DR Congo. The greater irony, though, is that no less a person than Hillary’s husband Bill, as president, threatened intervention by the United States if Africa were ever faced with another Rwandan-style genocide.
Of course, because of Syria’s geostrategic and geopolitical importance, I have no doubt that the United States would follow through on Hillary’s threat to intervene. By contrast, because the DR Congo has never figured as anything more than a humanitarian nightmare, I fear Bill’s threat to intervene will remain as hollow as it was when he uttered it back in the late 1990s.
In 2005 I wrote a commentary, Genocide in DR Congo: Rwanda with a Vengeance, in which I lamented that ‘genocide is taking place in the DR Congo … on a scale that threatens to surpass the horrors of Rwanda.’
I urged President Bush to do all in his power to end this genocide because we do not need another American President traveling there in a few years to apologize for failing to intervene [as Clinton did in 1998 for failing to intervene in Rwanda]. Nor should we wait for the movie Hotel DR Congo, and the killing of another one million Africans, to incite outrage about this crisis.
But with more people already dead in the DR Congo than in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur combined, and with as many women being raped in their homes as men being killed on the battlefield, the extent and nature of the ongoing violence there are unconscionable – even by African standards. Which, alas, means that the producers of Hotel DR Congo will have enough raw footage to make a horror trilogy.
(“Kenya: Another Genocide in the Making,” The iPINIONS Journal, January 17, 2008)
Latest reports are that the besieged government of the DR Congo is seeking peace talks with rebel forces. But anyone who knows anything about this ongoing conflict knows that it will end on the battlefield, not at the negotiating table.
And if this prospect were not ominous enough, there are also reports that sympathetic (Tutsi) troops from neighboring Uganda and Rwanda have joined rebel forces, which means that this conflict could spread well beyond the DR Congo.
I’d say the first installment of the Hotel DR Congo trilogy is long overdue … no?