Marriage is love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Word from the Congo

This post is a little off topic for Julien's List. However, I thought it was important to share. This email was sent to me from a friend of mine who has done relief work all over the world, most recently in the Middle East. Cal Carpenter is now in the Congo. Below is the email he sent after his first week there.

We have been in the Congo a week now. Each group we meet with gives us some variation on the same message. Go home.

People have a very clear understanding here that the conflict they live under could not exist without the world created by US power and they want us to go home and tell our country our people and our churches to stop it.

The church leaders questioned the supposed Christianity of Americans. They said that the first thing our president does is put his hand on the Bible, but maybe he should read it and then the US wouldn't be spreading conflict around the world.

The election volunteer who spoke to us demanded that te US stay home during the upcoming congolese elections. They want an election that is free for the people with no influence from the outside supporting any of the parties or candidates.

The ethnic leaders talked about how in the past the organisation of the ethnic groups served to handle conflicts bot within and between the groups. Now though, they say that outside money and weapons have marred the system and made fighting between them a reality that it never was before. In particular they talk about the way that Rwanda and Uganda, both countries allies of and armed by the US, have used guns and money from outside to create and support ethnic violence as a cover for expliotation of Congo's resources.

Everyone talks about how well they know that the Congo is rich. It has unbelievable resources, but te resources have never benefited the people. From the time of the Belgian colonisers until now te west has always created systems to take the resources and the profits leaving the people with nothing. We have been given several lessons in Neo-Colonialism 101 from people explaining the difference between the direct colonisation under the Belgians and the different, but just as clear, expliotation that goes on today under the world market.

It is unclear whether there will be any good fit for the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams here on the ground, but we have been charged with plenty of work to do. We are daily called to go home and change the way the US relates to the world so that our country will get off the backs of the Congolese and they can benefit from their own wealth and solve their own problems.