When I got into a cab this morning after traveling hundreds of miles north to Boston, one of the last things on my agenda was making a friend. The cab ride was short but was the most meaningful conversation I will have today and it’s only 9 am. My new friend’s name is Blaze and he traveled to America in 1997 from Congo. I am so thankful to have met him because in a time where grades, job interviews and follow up calls had clouded my mind, a simple “Where are you from?” brought me instantly back into focus.
If you need a refresher, United to End Genocide reported that 5 million lives were lost between the civil war breakout in 1996 and 2003 which already makes it the deadliest conflict since World War II. From my conversation with Blaze today, even this astronomic number is 3 million people short. Some of this violence originated when people fled after genocide was stopped in neighboring Rwanda in 1994 but the main sources of conflict have been and continue to be diamonds, minerals and oil. What is most heartbreaking is the list of war crimes include mass killings, corpse mutilation and rape as a weapon of war. Congo is the rape capital of the world which reports over one thousand women becoming victims every day (that is 48 an HOUR). In case this conflict could not get more disturbing, in 2011 a presidential election erupted in chaos and resulted in a mass killing that claimed 18 million lives.
I am not a government official and it would be hard for me to believe that any human that is can 1. grasp the tragedy of this situation and 2. quickly find a solution but what we need to do is keep talking. This this the most dire situation in our world right now but no one knows about it. What we can do as citizens is share the information in the paragraph above or go find the facts yourself and TELL EVERYONE. We cannot let this many lives continue to be derailed by sexual violence or completely lost. Thank you Blaze for bringing me back into focus.