“Six millions Jews were killed by a dictator. They were innocent. The entire world went to war against him to end the genocide. More than six million Congolese people have been killed. And yet no one dares to end this genocide.” Kambale Musavuli.
My take on this is that it is only racism that can explain such attitude.
Kambale Musavuli, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a human rights activist, Student Coordinator and National Spokesperson with the Friends of the Congo (FOTC). He has written for The Washington Post, Foreign Policy in Focus, The Huffington Post and numerous other academic and news publications. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Democracy Now, ABC News, Al Jazeera English Television, Radio France International and a myriad of radio and television programs. He has been featured in documentaries such as Iara Lee’s “Cultures of Resistance,” Martin Scorsese’s “Surviving Progress,” and the film “Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth.”
Very tenacious and resourceful in his campaign of raising awareness about the situation in DRC, iIn August 2010, I got from him a copy of the then leaked UN Mapping Report, this in the very early hours when the document started circulating onto the public. More recently, many of us learnt from him the attempt of assassination on Dr. Denis Mukwege, Director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu – South Kivu – DRC. In the following text, he explains what US citizens could do to help. If you are American and care much about what your government does with your tax money, Kambale Musavuli shows you how by taking a few actions, you can make a difference in the lives of millions of Congolese, particularly women, children, and elderly.
I’ve had a few calls and meetings with allies around the situation in the Congo and I believe that I needed to share with you some points so that you are effective in your lobby in your community.
This is mainly for people living in the United States.
First thing: It is important to be clear that as Americans, we have contributed in the devastation in the Congo since 1996. The crisis in the Congo can be traced all the way back to US policy in 1986 to support a rebel called Museveni to take over Uganda in a military coup. Since then, for the past 26 years, things have been terrible in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo.
How have we, as citizens, contributed to fueling this instability? Our tax money unfortunately has supported dictators and oppressive regimes in Africa. In the case of the Congo, since 1996, our government has funded the Rwandan and Ugandan governments and military in tune of billions of dollars while knowing exactly what was going on with these regimes and their devastating actions in the Congo. Many reports have been written, yet there is deafening silence in Washington.
Second thing: In the United States, we actually have a law to help this situation. Public Law 109-456 clearly states in its section 105 that :
“The Secretary of State is authorized to withhold assistance made available under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 […], for a foreign country if the Secretary determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
It simply means, Hillary Clinton can cut off aid (our tax we pay to our government) to Rwanda and Uganda if she has evidence they are fueling the conflict in the Congo.
On July 21, 2012, the State Department made this following statement as they froze only $200,000 to Rwanda.
“In light of information that Rwanda is supporting armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Department of State has decided it can no longer provide Foreign Military Financing (FMF) appropriated in the current fiscal year to Rwanda, considering a restriction imposed by the 2012 appropriation act.”
This means that the State Department led by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has evidence that Rwanda is supporting rebel groups in the Congo. The law gives her the power to not use our tax money to fund a country supporting rebels in the Congo.
Note: This statement has never been posted on the State Department website to my knowledge yet was sent to the press who published it. I still wonder why.
Third thing to be clear on: The United States government is divided on the issue of the Congo. There are people who are tired of the continuous cover-ups which is causing the deaths of millions in the Congo. There are those who still do not want the past mistakes to be uncovered. As a Congolese refugee in this country, I know many Congolese could care less of the mistakes of the past. What they want is peace and security and for the United States to stop supporting oppressive regimes fueling conflict in the Congo, from Kampala to Kigali, all the way to Kinshasa.
Last thing: There are things you can do… and not just one action. The best way to understand it is that Congolese need your engagement, passion, time, energy, and commitment to see peace in the Congo. It is a lot to ask, but the battle is going to be long and is morphing as time passes.
What can you do right now while you are in the United States?
Section 105 of Public Law 109-456 must be enforced. Your Congressperson, your senators have the power to get it enforced. Now you know that Secretary of State is not enforcing it… the US president is not even talking about this… nor his national security staff who don’t even know about this law… That’s where you can help.
Primary points of pressure are your legislators.
Letters and phone calls to 3 people: Your one congressperson and your two senators.
Ask: I care about the Congo. I am appalled that the US government is not doing more. I understand we have a law called 109-456 where in section 105 it calls for sanctions to help in the Congo crisis. I urge you to do everything you can to enforce this law by freezing military aid to Rwanda and Uganda given the credible reports that exist on their actions in the Congo.
I hope you get the drift… The law needs to be enforced! We only cut $200,000 to Rwanda and in July and that has caused over 5 “peace” meetings to happen since that time with the countries in that area. Pressure must continue to be placed on the situation.
I have yet spoken about the issue we have with Rwanda being now a member of the UN Security Council starting January 2013. We shall talk about it soon.
I hope some of my thoughts can help you in seeing what needs to happen. I believe that outside pressure on the belligerent forces can bring peace and stability simply because we are funding the military of nations supporting the rebels in the Congo. The complicity of our government is so blatant that each one of us need to be clear about what is actually happening and know what we can do while we are on the outside of the Congo.
So… Hillary Clinton had her birthday celebration yesterday… now let’s keep working on peace in the Congo. Organize your community for action in support of the Congolese people.
Above message is addressed only to US citizens. But we are well aware that the situation in DRC is a global issue. Because of the country’s many mineral resources needed in strategic industries around the world, there are multinationals involved in what is going on in the suffering of Congolese people. The culprits have been identified through several investigations over the years. In recent months, aid suspension to Rwanda has been decided by a number of countries normally supporting its development. This explains that what is being asked from US citizens also applies to those from Canada, Germany, Holland, UK, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, etc. They should ask too their governments to stop assisting Rwanda and Uganda who have been causing mayhem in DRC for so many years.