Break the silence CAMPAIGN – 7th April 2010 at BBC World Service – Strand – London WC2B 4PH

Millions of people have been dying in the Great Lakes Region of Africa (GLRA) since the early 90s.

The world has today shifted its focus elsewhere but the suffering is ongoing in the region. Root causes are still there: leaders of rebel movements (Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila) presently turned into presidents of sovereign countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo), thanks to the US and UK backing, are using the same inhuman methods from their time in the bush to rule over their citizens.

They are not allowing real and effective democracy in their national political space. They are harassing, imprisoning political opponents who try to emerge and address issues faced by their compatriots: human rights, famine, epidemic rape of thousands of women, lack of health systems, education infrastructures, and others. The objective of the demonstration is to bring back to the attention of the international community the plight of millions of Africans in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda.

All the ongoing situation would normally be more than enough to become recurrent news material as underlying issues are still present: protected criminals and pursuit of DRC wealth, to get an ongoing media attention the world over, especially if it were to threaten influential nations in some way. Yet, perhaps as a cruel irony, influential nations in the world benefit from the vast resources coming from the DRC for which people are dying over and oppressed in the region.

We demand to BBC World Service and other global media to point to the real culprits of the tragedy of the Great Lakes Region and not cover them up because they serve interests of the West at the expense of millions of African lives. Without underestimating the insecurity that current rebel movements are causing, particularly in Eastern and North Eastern Congo, the latter shouldn’t be seen as scapegoats. They didn’t wake up one day and decided to become rebels without a reason. Dictators of the region are fuelling their existence and using them to justify their oppressive structures to stay in power for ever.

We want global media to see and highlight to the attention of governments and UN and the general public the relation between

  • financing massively Rwandan and Ugandan dictatorships through bilateral and multilateral channels and the suffering of millions of citizens in the Great Lakes region
  • arming and supporting militarily these regimes and the lack of political space for democracy, particularly during these electoral years when populations expected to express freely who they want to lead them
  • plundering DRC mineral resources through embezzled structures with bases in Rwanda, Uganda and connections with companies in UK, Germany, Belgium, US, Canada, China, and the ongoing tragedy of rape, torture, imprisonment, displacement of populations

We demand to global media to objectively inform decision makers in influential nations and international institutions such as UN, Security Council, EU, particularly US and UK governments, because of their unconditional support to the dictators of the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

We request from global media such as BBC World Service to highlight the plight of millions of Rwandans and Ugandans who are suffering at the hands of their  dictators, and put pressure on their sponsors, among other measures,

  • to end in Rwanda an apartheid like system camouflaged under a wall of laws and daily practices  which only fool foreigners but not Rwandans, and which oppresses the majority of the population
  • to suspend temporarily bilateral and multilateral aid and put a military embargo to Rwanda and Uganda until they stop opposing fully inclusive inter-citizens dialogue involving pro and against their respective regimes and open up their political space for democracy and change; inter-citizens dialogues have been applied in South Africa, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo successively; there is no reason they shouldn’t apply in Rwanda and Uganda.

5 responses to “Break the silence CAMPAIGN – 7th April 2010 at BBC World Service – Strand – London WC2B 4PH

  1. This is a very powerful message. We will repost on our blog with your permission.


  2. Hope the organisers have set up a strong task force which will make ready the press releases, boards, etc… But knowing how the media work, what are we expecting exactly from BBC? And anyway, why BBC World Service?
    Depending on how this event is prepared and organised, it can be an opportunity to deliver a strong message, the question is to be able to estimate the anticipated impact such an event will have. Is there a follow-up strategy?


  3. I agree with your point about BBC. They have been brave in the past. After the ban by the Rwandan government there were negotiation between the two sides to remove it. I am not aware of the results from their discussions. Though it is true that they should be praised for their work, the suffering of millions in the Great Lakes region is such that more needs to be done particularly by global media in highlighting the real causes of that ongoing suffering. Another point is that the protest is not targeting BBC as such, but all global media which distorted the truth knowingly and continue to do so.


  4. I should add that, though it may make sense to protest at the BBC, the BBC has been the best broadcast outlet on the issue that I know of, and that it’s Kinyarwanda language outlet was even banned, at least for awhile, in Rwanda, in 2009.


  5. I will think about how to share this with San Francisco’s local NPR affiliate, KALW, which broadcasts the BBC from midnight till early in the morning here.


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