Friday, January 06, 2006

Dickie's Tragedies

The BBC reports this morning on 2 tragedies in the world. The one that's been going on the longest is the war in DR Congo. This is an immense and terrible event. Politicians who speak about dealing with despots, the torture and deaths of millions of people have been quiet about this war. Surely it affects more people in one concentrated area than Iraq, Iran, Korea, and Afghanistan. Yet you won't hear any high minded words about it from those promoting democracy as a means to end world suffering. Perhaps, dare I point out, it has something to do with skin color? Perhaps it's just because so many different issues are at stake here? Perhaps it's because people like Pat Robertson are benefiting from the war by exploiting the diamond mines? Perhaps it's all of the above. From the BBC:

Since the war began in 1998, some 4m people have died, making it the world's most deadly war since 1945, it said.

A peace deal has ended most of the fighting but armed gangs continue to roam the east, killing and looting.

"Congo is the deadliest crisis anywhere in the world over the past 60 years," said Richard Brennan, health director of the New York-based International Rescue Committee and the study's lead author.

"Ignorance about its scale and impact is almost universal and international engagement remains completely out of proportion to humanitarian need,"

Some 17,000 United Nations peacekeepers are in DR Congo, to restore peace and organise elections due by the end of June 2006.

For the record, yes I did complain about this in the lead up to the Iraq war. Proponents of that strategy would stare blankly at me when I asked them if we'd go to the Congo next given their high minded ideals they were espousing at the time. I'm still waiting. The Sudan was an important step, but it pales in comparison to DR Congo.

The other tragedy pointed out by BBC is the continuing plight of earthquake survivors in Pakistan. As bad as New Orleans and the tsunami were, they were merely preludes to the monstrous effect of this earthquake. The fact that the world hasn't done more is criminal. Yes, I know people are drained, but governments need to lead on this. Blair and Bush have a real opportunity to preempt Muslim fundamentalism by providing the proper aid. However, they aren't doing enough and it's not effective enough. Hell, even if you want to leave the political realm of this to the scum that practice such things, there is preventable human suffering going on here and it is the world's moral duty to address it. People are getting desperate as winter goes on. From the BBC:
Dozens of quake survivors have stormed UN helicopters in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, forcing the crews to evacuate them to cities in the region.

The UN said the survivors had been stranded in mountains and called the incidents extremely disturbing.

There were two incidents, involving more than 50 people. The survivors fled on arriving at Muzaffarabad and Abbottabad. No-one was arrested.

The 8 October quake killed more than 73,000 people and displaced millions.

Since then the UN and dozens of other organisations have remained involved in the emergency relief work.

However, heavy rain and snowfall early this week created new landslides, leaving thousands of people stranded in mountainous regions.

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