(I found this remarkably interesting article on Black Agenda Report. The article challenges the silence of the United States over the 5 million+ people killed in the Congo, compared to the various voices lifted for the deaths in Darfur. It also discusses imperial and corporate interests guiding ethical concern. Here’s an excerpt. Crossposted at my blog and at AfroSpear.)
Active U.S. Passivity In 1994, Rwanda was on the brink. The Hutu majority, which had for a century been oppressed by Tutsi surrogates for European colonialists, feared that another massacre of their kin was imminent. There had been many massacres of Hutus, before, in Rwanda and neighboring Burundi, also under minority Tutsi control. Pent-up hysteria exploded in an orgy of violence that claimed the lives of as many as 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus that did not support the genocide.
The U.S. did nothing to interfere, because they had two actors in the game. Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni was now the Americans’ guy in central Africa. Tutsi Rwandan exiles, headed by Paul Kagame, were an integral part of Museveni’s army. As the genocide began, Kagame’s forces launched an offensive from Uganda into Rwanda. It did not halt the massacre of Tutsis, but succeeded in driving the disorganized Hutus into neighboring Congo. The Americans now had another player in the African game: the new head of the Rwandan Tutsi-dominated state, Paul Kagame. His forces then invaded eastern Congo, chasing the fleeing Hutus.
“The eastern Congo was up for grabs, and everybody grabbed some.”
All hell broke loose. President Mobutu Sese Seko, America’s man in the Congo, then called Zaire, was terminally ill. He fled and died in exile in 1997. The eastern Congo was now up for grabs, and everybody grabbed some. Eastern Congo is one of the most minerally rich places on Earth, an extractors’ paradise. According to the CIA’s “Factbook,” the DRC abounds with “cobalt, c
opper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber.” All of these resources are exploited by European and American corporations that maintain their own mercenary armies to guard the extraction fields. For generations they have run their patches of Congolese land like governments, with the support of France, Belgium, the United States and other powers. The so-called civil war effectively gave them full autonomy in the wake of Mobutu’s corrupt demise, as the power of the central government in Kinshasa, crumbled. Mass carnage raged around them, but did not interrupt the extraction process.
Read the rest here.