“I am not appealing to the government. The appeal is to the American people, the people that I meet every day in the streets, with whom I share what is happening in the Congo. They ask me, “What can I do to help?” Kambale Musavuli.
Congolese activist Kambale Musavuli, Spokesperson of the Friends of the Congo denounces the silence over the genocide being committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
800,000 people who died in Rwanda in 1994 made the international community feels strongly outraged.
With more than 6,000,000 and still counting in DRC, the same international community is today looking the other way.
The question is not about the figures, but fairness and doing what is right.
Following extracts are from an interview of Kambale Musavuli published by Daniel Kovalic on the online news outlet Counterpunch. The interview traces the background of the current Congolese crisis, and describes what has been happening at different levels of stakeholders to the situation.
DK: What role does the United States have in all of this?
KM: Well, as I mentioned, there are conflicts and the rebel groups, the militia group actually I would rather call them militia. The militia group they are supported by Rwanda for the most part, and Uganda is also supporting them. Rwanda and Uganda are United States allies. They receive our taxpayers’ money, their leadership is trained by our military and they operate as trained police of the world for the United States. So you see Ugandan soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. And you see Rwanda soldiers in Sudan, especially Darfur, and in Haiti. Doing these peacekeeping operations where the U.S. has interests, and because of that, the United States is mighty silent despite the evidence that exists. And the evidence that even the US government recognizes — remember the United States has withheld $200,000 to the Rwanda government because of the support to rebel groups in Congo, which means they have evidence of what Rwanda is doing in the Congo. Yet, we are still providing them [Rwanda] with $240 million of our tax monies. So the US is playing the very negative role in continuing to support nations that are supporting, training, arming, and equipping the rebels in the Congo and at the United Nations even playing a bigger role in being an obstacle to peace in the Congo. By that I mean Susan Rice, the United Nations Ambassador from the US, has blocked the reports according to many. Let me go back, so it is clear what I am saying. Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, according to many diplomats, has blocked the release of the reports; there were two UN reports that were supposed to be published, and the first one was supposed to come out in June. Diplomats from the Security Council have shared with the media and different contacts in New York that she single-handedly was blocking the report from being published and wanted to give Rwanda an opportunity to respond to the UN report documenting involvement in supporting rebel groups in the Congo. The second report …
DK: Now, Susan Rice is one of those, how would you say it, she believes in this R2P, this right, or this “responsibility to protect” doctrine.
KM: Yet in R2P there is no “C”. That’s what we’ve been saying. We say that in R2P there is no “C”; this means there is no “C” for Congo. According to US policy, this means that The Congo is not to be protected. The evidence is overwhelming. You don’t even have to read the newspaper to find out what is happening. You can actually talk to Congolese, walk on the ground in the areas where the militia group is. But, and we know that the US government is aware of how bad it’s happening. They are denying the report from the United Nations. The head of the UN mission to the Congo, Roger Meece, is an American. He is in contact. We have attaches there. What is happening in the Congo is visible. But the responsibility to protect has not been activated for the Congo, so why I have to ask. Why, what is the right of the United States to talk about the issue of Syria, when we know what is happening in the Congo, and we know the perpetrators, and the perpetrators are backed by our allies, and that’s the discussion that needs to happen as they push for R2P and we see that this does not apply to the Congo.
They are very aware of the situation — the UN mission, the US government, all the way up to the White House and the National Security Council, they are very aware of the situation. And I’m using the evidence that the US government withdrew $200,000 to Rwanda for a military academy. They did so because they had evidence that Rwanda was supporting rebel groups. So I’m using their own information about their knowledge of what is happening, and yet they’re not taking action. This is complicity. If you are aware, just as we took action to end the Holocaust in Europe, if we know in the Congo millions have died from, estimates take the number to over 6 million, and half of them are children under the age of 5, and we remain silent when we know what is happening, we are really complicit. And in a very tangible way because we are supporting the two oppressive regimes in Rwanda and Uganda, and in turn these nations are using the support that we are giving them to create, fabricate militia groups which are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. And when one has the proper evidence, there should be outrage. I am not appealing to the government. The appeal is to the American people, the people that I meet every day in the streets, with whom I share what is happening in the Congo. They ask me, “What can I do to help?” . . . So I’m appealing to them, I’m letting them know your government is complicit in the killing of the people in the Congo through its support of Rwanda and Uganda who have been implicated in the massacre in the Congo by numerous respectable organizations such as Human Rights Watch, a United Nations group of experts. If you want to help me, hold your government accountable for supporting oppressive regimes in Africa. That would mean in this case stop supporting Rwanda and Uganda militarily. Stop supporting oppressive regimes in Rwanda and Uganda. That will go a long way for peace in the Congo.
DK: And Kambale, why do you think the US is continuing to support Rwanda and Uganda even knowing that these atrocities are being committed? What interests are they protecting?
KM: Economic interests and military interests. Economic interests in Congo are that which we need in our daily life. The coltan which comes out the Congo can be found in your cell phone, the cobalt of the Congo can be found in the battery of your phone and all the different resources the Congo has. Rwanda and Uganda have become the broker of Congo’s minerals, and they loot Congo’s mineral resources while they commit atrocities. . . . Chaos allows resources to leave from the Congo at a cheap price, and of course it’s not actually just leaving it’s actually being stolen from the Congolese people. The second one is military interest. Rwanda and Uganda their militaries have been trained by the United States. Since the era when the American soldier was killed in Somalia in Mogadishu, the US did not want to have any of the troops in Africa anymore. So the U.S. created a system in which they would train all the foreign military missions. I mean, can you imagine that in Afghanistan today, we have Ugandan soldiers in Afghanistan fighting the war on terror. How many Americans know that? We have Rwandan soldiers in Haiti and in Sudan. These missions can be deployed across the world to protect US interests around the world. . . . So, the US government is valuing profits before people, and ignoring the fact that people have the right to life, to human rights. . . .
Source: counterpunch to read the full interview.