Congo: What does a poor country need to get aid? Publicity

Nicholas Kristoff writes in the New York Times:

Sometimes I wish eastern Congo could suffer an earthquake or a tsunami, so that it might finally get the attention it needs.

The barbaric civil war being waged in the Congo is the most lethal conflict since World War II and has claimed at least 30 times as many lives as the Haiti earthquake. Yet no humanitarian crisis generates so little attention per million corpses, or such a pathetic international response.

A peer-reviewed study found that 5.4 million people had already died in this war as of April 2007, and hundreds of thousands more have died as the situation has deteriorated since then.

This is a pointless war — now a dozen years old — driven by warlords, greed for minerals, ethnic tensions and complete impunity. While there is plenty of fault to go around, Rwanda has long played a particularly troubling role in many ways, including support for one of the militias. Rwanda’s government is dazzlingly successful at home, but next door in Congo, it appears complicit in war crimes.

It’s time to show the same compassion toward Congo that we have toward Haiti.

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