Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why Is Canada In Afghanistan...And Not The Congo?

Canadian soldiers are doing much of the heavy lifting in southern Afghanistan, attempting to secure an area vitally important for a long desired natural gas pipeline route. Over one hundred of our nation's best killed, in what is largely framed as a humanitarian battle against Islamic extremists...with little reporting of the long proposed TAPI pipeline. Our European NATO allies have been reluctant to commit to the battle, with many seeing the war in Afghanistan for what it truly imperialistic land grab over resources and geopolitical gamesmanship.

Meanwhile in another part of the world a far deadlier conflict has been raging for the better part of the past decade, with casualties numbering in the millions. The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) is the centre of the widest war in African history with involvement of at least 9 other African states. While the DRC lacks huge deposits of natural gas and oil, it is rich in many other resources...which is is ultimately fueling the conflict.

In Afghanistan much has been made of the plight of women. Canadians are proud to see our nation's military involved in a struggle that is helping many Afghan girls attend school for the first time...a justification the Soviets used when they invaded. Meanwhile in Central Africa an even more insidious and disturbing war is being waged against women and girls...rape on a massive scale.
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Perhaps this is part of the reason why our attention hasn't been riveted in this direction. Some news is just too disturbing, which makes ignoring it all the easier. Reading stories about Islamic fundamentalists throwing acid on girls attempting to attend school gets us angry, while reading about the gang rape of a child is too unsettling making it convenient to ignore.

For those with the stomach to educate themselves about this conflict and the way in which rape is used as a tactic of war, then I suggest watching...THIS VIDEO. Be warned however, the content is incredibly disturbing, which is perhaps why there is so little coverage. Mainstream media hasn't totally ignored jt, 60 Minutes did a story as well with the video and write-up available HERE.

But we don't see emails invading our in-boxes exhorting us to do anything about this conflict, no suggestions that everyone wear a certain colour of clothing one day a week to show our solidarity with the pop-gun UN security presence in this forgotten region of the world.

Canadians to a large extent have willingly bellied up to the Kool-Ade bar and drink up with thirst the propaganda being fed to us about our mission in Afghanistan....while we turn a blind eye to a far greater evil. Meanwhile the mining of Congo's resources continues, with western companies reaping huge financial rewards....Of course that's what war is almost always about, economics. Humanitarian concerns are just a sidebar story to convince brave men and women that the lives they're sacrificing are worth the price.

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