“Trapped in Violence and Forgotten”
The Washington Post, September 28, 2014, p.A1
“It is a war that has claimed an estimated 5 million lives, many from starvation, disease and other conflict-related causes, since 1998 — more casualties than the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined, and more than any conflict since World War II. It is a war that the world’s largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission has failed to quell. The peacekeepers, heavily financed by Washington, are now engaged in their most ambitious effort in years to end the fighting. And yet the war remains invisible to most outsiders, who have grown weary of the unending cycle of violence. Today, relief groups have trouble raising money to help Congo as more publicized upheavals in Syria, South Sudan and elsewhere grab the world’s attention. The story of Kivuye over a few months this year offers a glimpse into why the conflict seems so complex and intractable, and the solutions to Congo’s misery so elusive. Even during brief periods of calm, when hope begins to grow, residents still grapple with the forces the war has wrought. On the day the market reopened in Kivuye, the most liberating day in years, villagers didn’t know that the militia had retreated only to the forest, waiting for a chance to return. They didn’t know that in a few days another warlord who once ruled the village would come back. They didn’t know that in a few weeks, Congolese army soldiers sent to protect them would commit mass rapes nearby. And they didn’t know that the U.N. peacekeepers based less than five miles away would soon depart.”
Quickie Analysis: An excellent, in-depth look at Congo’s forgotten wars.