Sunday, March 19, 2006

Troubles Unheard of



Having been born and brought up in Africa, the fact that the wolrld's worst and least reported human disasters are all African was a rude shock. I fondly remember peace and humanism as the face of the Africa that I love. It brings to mind the title of a famous African tale "Cry, the Beloved Country".

1) War in Democratic Republic of Congo that has claimed at least 10 times as many lives as the December tsunami."It's the worst humanitarian tragedy since the Holocaust," said John O'Shea, chief executive of Irish relief agency GOAL. "The greatest example on the planet of man's inhumanity to man." Almost half of those polled--including leftwing intellectual Noam Chomsky--nominated Congo, citing the brutality of an ugly, tangled war that has killed nearly 4 million people since 1998."The human suffering is mind-boggling," said Lindsey Hilsum, international editor for Britain's Channel 4 News. "The wickedness and cruelty of the armed men who kill and maim and rape defies belief." The images that emerge are too horrible to print.


2) The details of northern Uganda's 18-year war, ranked second in the AlertNet poll, are just as shocking. More than 20,000 children have been abducted by a cult-like rebel group and forced to serve as soldiers and sex slaves, while most of the population in the conflict zone have been forced from their homes into squalid camps. "Like many people, I didn't have any idea of the scale of this conflict" says Hollywod star Helen Mirren.



3) Sudan, where Africa's longest-running civil war has raged for two decades in the south and almost two years of atrocities in the western Darfur region have raised the spectre of genocide. "Darfur has slipped from the front pages, but the situation there is again going from terrible to being absolutely horrendous," U.N. relief coordinator Jan Egeland said. In addition the situation in Western Africa and in Zimbabwe are threatening to wreak even more havoc from statrvation and threatened civil wars.
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