“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King.
This is not about the victims, neither individuals in public offices or uniforms, but only a few names speaking for the Congolese voiceless.
What have been happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly since 1996, Rwanda since 1990, and Central Africa region for the last quarter of a century has affected and continues to impact millions of lives in that part of the world and far beyond. As you might notice, I am writing this because somehow I am also and feel particularly concerned.
The death toll of the Congolese tragedy exceeds today 8 million human beings, who deserved to live, like you and me. Except that they were Black Africans. But because of the colour of their skin, did they merit less consideration than the rest of humanity? The number of victims, and still counting, is significantly more than the Holocaust. Nevertheless the international community does not seem to really feel so preoccupied and take required measures to end the suffering as they did against Hitler.
There are people, Congolese and others, who courageously and tirelessly have worked and or continue persistently to raise unselfishly awareness about the plight of the Congolese people. There might certainly be many that I am not aware of. I am only focusing here on the following names: Floribert Chebeya, Kambale Musavuli, and Patrick Mbeko. From time to time, I exchange views with the last two. And I have reproduced on The Rising Continent blog many of Mbeko’s reflections on Congo and Africa in its relations with the rest of the world.
This Congolese human right activist of international renown was murdered in Congo on June 2, 2010. Many believe he was killed by the Congolese government. On that day, Floribert Chebeya was called to meet with Congo’s Inspector General of the National Police, John Numbi. Later on the same day, he was found dead in the backseat of his car. Before Chebeya’s death, the police had been threatening him for his strong denouncement of the current regime in Kinshasa — and now several high-level police officials are suspects in his murder.
During “Congo Week,” which is organised in October since 2009, Friends of the Congo are presenting the film The Chebeya Affair which follows the trial of these officials, uncovering a trail of lies, denials, forgeries, disappearing evidence. And the question which remains unanswered is: Will the judicial authority be capable of exercising impartial justice?
Author of “Le Canada dans les guerres en Afrique Centrale,” which was published in May 2012, Patrick Mbeko reveals, in his voluminous investigative work, truths about criminal involvement in the tragedy of the region, that world leaders or countries, particularly from the West, would want to see covered up forever. He points so poignantly to responsibilities in the carnage that the Great Lakes region of Africa has experienced that one wonders how they manage to get away with impunity.
This is what Keith Harnon Snow who prefaced the book writes,
“The heart of darkness lives on in the minds of white people, and those subject to the white mythologies that immunize us whites from seeing the truth of our complicity in mass murder. The souls of black folk are not immune to these mythologies, and so there are plenty of people of colour participating in the collective insanity and the economies of carnage that wreak havoc on Africa and its people, under the guise of development, aid, humanitarianism, wildlife conservation, tourism, or so-called “peacekeeping”. Some 10 million people have died in Congo since 1996, and the reason is clear: our white power economies want those niggers out of the way. The Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia–what we are seeing is depopulation as policy and private profit.”
In his numerous public interventions promoting positive and pertinent views about Congo and Africa, I recently listened to Patrick Mbeko on radio Cameroon discussing with other prominent African intellectuals the significant and multifaceted presence of China on the continent.
Kambale MusavuliThis time of the year, Friends of the Congo, organised what they have called “Congo Week.” Recently I have been interacting with one of the organizers Kambale Musavuli, who is cheer-leading Congo in Harlem. This morning I watched a clip titled Crisis in The Congo: Uncovering the truth that he posted on Facebook raising awareness about the situation in Congo. Among planned actions for October 2012, there is a postcard that concerned and caring people are invited to send to Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, for her 65th birthday, asking her “what will be your legacy?.”
I have been following Musavuli campaigns for Congo for more than two years. But his enthusiasm and empathy for his compatriots are contagious. That explains among other reasons why he features in this note. If the country had a few dozen people like him with in-commensurable passion for the plight of Congolese suffering, the world would certainly wake up and stop atrocities being perpetrated on a daily basis and which appears to have become the norm.
Congo has given Africa one son who became legendary because of his stand during the independence period of the 60s: Patrice Lumumba. I don’t presume that any of these names I mentioned could become like that illustrious figure. I might be pessimist on this, considered how in high spirit most Africans look up to the personality of Lumumba. But what I can foresee is that the plight and importance of Congo are so significant today that they will certainly give us another legend. It’s usually during the time of extreme adversity that exceptional personalities emerge. That Congolese person will undoubtedly get his or her country taking another important step in its future and with it the rest of the continent.