Stop ignoring massacres in Africa
By: Jennifer Fierberg
We live in a world filled with terrorist attacks. So much so that they become the noise of the nightly news that most Westerners ignore. Simply watching the nightly news or scanning social media for a few minutes will typically reveal the horrors of terrorism in all corners of the world. However, why do some attacks garner coverage, political marches and the response of world leaders yet others barely make the bottom corner of a news report?
Earlier this year in Paris, terrorists murdered 12 members of a media house and the headlines dominated mainstream media for days. It was the top report on the nightly news and the front page of almost every worldwide paper. The terrorist attack in Paris was horrific and the world stood up and took notice. Many world leaders flew to Paris to march in their honor.
Just over two weeks ago the co-pilot of a jetliner decided he would end his life and the lives of 150 innocent passengers and crew into the side of a mountain in the French Alps. Those headlines continue to dominate the news outlets as the media investigates each and every detail of his life and mental health. No one has dared to call him a terrorist yet but what he did is exactly that, he committed domestic terrorism…that makes him a terrorist despite his mental health issues. Did anyone assess the mental status of the 9/11 terrorists in the US? Or those in Paris? No, the media bias labels someone from the Middle East immediately as a terrorist however; if they are European then they have “mental health issues.” This despicable and blatantly racist practice needs to stop immediately.
On Thursday April 2, 2015, four known Al Shabab gunmen entered Garissa University College and began a senseless slaughter of 147 students. All of the victims were shot execution style at close range. The closest military response was stuck in Nairobi, which is over 370km away. It has been widely reported that journalists arrived before any military response did. There were 800 students taken hostage when the siege began and later 663 were released leaving 147 dead. One hundred and forty seven students lost their lives that day.
If this horrific act of terrorism had happened in the US or UK, mainstream media would be reporting on it around the clock. When I looked at the news over the weekend online, the top four stories were about college basketball games in the US. This fact should cause anger to well up inside your chest to the point of rage. Geography should not determine whether the world cares about terrorism. A domestic terrorist viciously attacked Virginia Tech in the US a few years ago and it was a daily story for months.
Why would a US terrorist attack garner the attention of the world but one in Africa goes ignored?
The Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa has been the victim of one of the worst ongoing warzones over the last 20 years. Over 6 million people have been brutally murdered in rebel wars stemming from the surrounding countries of Rwanda and Uganda in a battle for natural resources and access to minerals for technological consumption. The payoff for these minerals is beyond imagination and the outside companies know that in order to access these minerals they must go through the mafia style channels of Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.
There have been more civilians murdered in Eastern DRC than there were victims in World War II yet this fact continues to be ignored by mainstream media.
How can over six million lives lost continue to be ignored by the west? It is a travesty that should weigh on the conscience of all mainstream media outlets.
Shockingly, just late last week, a mass grave was discovered in capitol city of Kinshasa, DRC where nearly 500 bodies were found buried and not one English news-reporting agency reported it.
Kambale Musavuli, Congolese activist and organizer for Friends of the Congo, stated on his Facebook page Sunday night that, “Through the day, I kept looking to see if the mass grave found in Kinshasa will make it to the Anglophone world, still not. Only three French sources right now I have seen reporting on this matter.
Situation is that for the past two weeks, people who lived in Maluku (neighborhood in Kinshasa) have reported that there were dead bodies in their area. This past week, as they exhumed the bodies, 425 dead corpses have been removed from the mass grave. Of course, the government is denying that these dead bodies are connected to deaths of protesters in January, which they said only 12 were killed.
If you remember what was happening in January, the Congolese military went to hospitals in Kinshasa where the wounded and dead bodies were and they stole the corpses. Also, currently they have arrested over 400 youths who went out in the streets in January. Lastly, they have arrested Congolese youth who participated in the March 15 press conference that saw the participation of Burkina and Senegalese youth.
The question that I always ask myself… what will it take for the world to turn their attention to the Congo?
I do not want to believe that Congolese are alone in this fight…
If the heart of Africa is having a heart attack, the body may not survive.
To our sisters and brothers who have been killed during the January uprising, your sacrifice was not in vain… we will keep fighting ’till victory is won!”
Human Rights groups are calling for the government of the DRC to investigate this situation. Thus far, the government is refusing to investigate or exhume the bodies.
How long will the world remain silent on the atrocities in DR Congo? In Kenya? In Rwanda and Burundi? What will it take for the world to take notice that Central Africa is on a destructive path that will lead to more lives lost.
When will the world care?