Congo Week 2024

Enough is Enough!

I am quite surprised to realize that the few things that the West knows about the Congo and as usually broadcasted by BBC and CNN are the following: lack of strong leadership, war, extreme poverty, poor infrastructures, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and rebellions. But the West has never asked this fundamental question: Why do these things continue taking place in the Congo? Who are responsible for? This is what these western leaders should address instead of covering up the real issues with false solidarity. I call it false solidarity because the West is known for being charitable. The West is known for being good at charity. But let’s remember what Bono said: “it’s not a matter of charity, but it’s about justice”. Congolese people do not need western charity anymore. What they are eagerly awaiting for is JUSTICE. Theywant justice to be done. Congolese people want to live a decent and dignified life that they deserve.

What I and many of my fellow citizens do not understand is that the West claims to be a model of democracy. What is that democracy all about? Can it be also allowed to other nations? Congolese people are having hard time to reconcile the western teaching of democracy and the actions in which the West is involved in the Eastern part of Congo which make us very suspicious; because one of the pillars of democracy is justice. Where is justice? Keeping silence about the world deadliest war after World War II is that justice? Putting our heads in the sand about millions of women who have been raped is that Justice? Not saying a word about children who have been forcibly given guns to kill their own moms, dads and siblings is that justice? We want JUSTICE, JUSTICE and only JUSTICE.

Nearly six millions of Congolese people have innocently lost their lives simply because they were born on a portion of land that covers coltan, gold and other natural resources. You know! There is nothing wrong to get the wealth of Congo in response to the world’s needs of electronic devices and technological advancement; and the Dem. Rep. of Congo has always willed that; but at one condition that all taking out of any natural resources be based on fair and equitable deals with the Congolese authorities. Unfortunately this is not the case. Therefore, I am calling upon the attention of the International Community, the UN Security Council, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to take a concrete action by joining us in breaking the silence about the atrocities which are taking place in the Eastern part of Congo. Congolese people have come to realize that the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (monuc) whose mission ‘was’ to restore peace and security in the Eastern provinces of Congo is simply a well organized instance from the higher ups that covers up the pillaging of natural resources. I am happy that the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (cenco) has recently pointed it out in its declaration to the International Community. It says: “We are just suspicious about these repeated wars in the East and North-East of the Congo if they are just covering up the looting of natural resources; because these battles are taking place where important natural resources are”. I guess this is the point. And these hostilities will end only when there will be a strong will and desire from both sides; the Congolese leadership and the world leadership.

This is what has been done so far here in the Philippines. This was a talk during my birthday party celebrated on October 19, 2008 at 7pm Philippine time. It was a great opportunity for me to offer this talk as an action to breaking the silence about what is going on in Congo. Minutes of silence were observed during the party in memory of these nearly six million of Congolese people who have lost their lives. My dear friends of the Congo, the job isn’t over, on the contrary, it’s just started!