The Congo Domino Effect

“The World’s deadliest conflict since WWII”

The genocide occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has had a deep impact on the livelihood of those who live in the DR Congo but also began as a product of it’s neighboring states.

map-democratic-republic-of-the-congo

When the Rwandan genocide ended in 1994, the genocidaires who had committed acts of genocide actually fled to the DR of Congo and formed the Forces Democratique de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) which has been operating mass killings and abductions ever since. Much like a domino effect, this conflict has spiraled from one neighboring country to another, perpetuating the problem to another state. This is an important distinction and aspect of genocide to target and I often find this to be a common misconception of genocide. The problem does not begin with a particular nation-state necessarily. The country is only a means for genocide to occur (as it provides the population of innocent civilians or a particular group of targeted individuals), it is rather the people who perpetuate genocide that are at the root of the issue. Therefore, it has nothing to do with targeting a particular area or assisting one country that experiences acts of genocide but it is important to find the genocidaires, and stop the issue that they are perpetuating. Throughout my experience in this course, I often find that people are knowledgable of the countries that are experiencing genocide but most often, those who I speak to have no understanding of the actual people or groups of people who create the problem.

While the conflict may have begun as a movement of a group of genocidaires from one country to the next, it has escalated to multiple other problem areas since. One of the circular issues that has heightened the genocide has been a “race for minerals”. Minerals that are found in electronics are in high demand and are also easily minded in the DR Congo. Mining these minerals (like gold, tungsten, and tin) are sold for weapons which further arms the genocidaires and allows the corrupt politicians to stay in power and order more genocide to occur. The weapons are also given to rough estimate of about 4,000 abducted children who are then forced to act as soldiers. Children are abducted and forced to mine for these minerals which is not only dangerous but cruel as they are ripped from their families and forced to endure hard and physical labor. About 43,000 children are working in the mines. Involvement of children reflects on the twisted and severely psychologically damaging effects of genocide on both ends. The genocidaires are induced to commit acts of violence against children that they may have never considered prior to the influence of a corrupt leader. Also, in terms of the refugees’ lives who are able to escape these types of war crimes, they endure life-changing experiences and witness violent acts that are representative of the worst possible human behavior. Understanding the implications of the Congo can help to provide insight into the psychologically disastrous impacts of genocide.

What is most disturbing about the Congo genocide is that the war crimes being administered include rape and torture. This type of violence has become so constant that the DRC has become known as the rape capital of the world. A estimated 48 women are raped every hour, and the crisis appears to one of the worst in the world. In one article a Congolese solider, Lake Kivu stated, “I’ve raped 53 women. And children of five or six years old.” One of the most horrendous acts against human nature I could ever imagine, happens every hour in the Congo. The soldiers are conditioned to believe that these acts of rape and violence are a result of limitless power, “When we arrived here we met a lot of women. We could do whatever we wanted.” I am not only horrified by these crimes but this type of violence needs to be immediately put to an end. To read more about this article, click here.

Acts of violence against both women and children are perpetuated and occurring daily. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most disturbing areas of violence and genocide that I have researched and further attention needs to be centered on this country and further action needs to be taken to protect the innocent women and children who are forced against their will to submit to the genocidaires request.

– Anna

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