Monday, 02 June 2014
Conflict Minerals and the Priorities of the Congolese People
Speech delivered by Jeanne Kasongo L.Ngondo of the Shalupe Foundation at the
Massachussetts State House, House Chamber on May 27, 2014

Although, we are here to discuss conflict minerals and the concerns of the American consumers, I would be remiss if I did not speak to the two most pressing concerns of the Congolese people. The first of these concerns is best expressed in a March 2014 National Geographic feature that recounts an encounter between US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and a few displaced Congolese women in a refugee camp. The author writes:

When Power asked, “What would it take for you to feel safe enough to go home?” the women all tried to speak at once. But, aside from repeating salama (peace), they didn't mention the things one usually hears are needed in Congo, and which these women clearly needed very badly: food, homes, jobs, government. Instead, they were concerned with geopolitics. One by one, they execrated their neighbor Rwanda, whose government has, according to UN investigators and others, backed militias in eastern Congo. They called out presidents and warlords by name.

“We don't want Rwanda to take a single meter of our land,” a woman said. Another got on her knees and pleaded for the international community to put sanctions on Rwanda. An old woman in the back called out, “Makenga and the rest of the leaders should be arrested.”
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Since the first invasion, more than 5 million people have died in Congo, making it the deadliest conflict since the Second World War. And many of those deaths lie at the hands of the Rwandan government. These are hard truths we must swallow. Not only must we come to terms with crimes that were committed against us, we must now deal with crimes committed in our names. These crimes are not simply committed in our names, survivors of the Rwandan Genocide, but in the name of the entire global community that stands still, providing tacit approval. They are also committed for the same international community that justifies, excuses, and protects, the Rwandan government, as it continues to wreak havoc in the Congo. Though we could not stop or stand up against the violent acts that were committed against us during the Rwandan genocide, we can and we must stop and stand up against crimes committed against others, crimes committed in our name in Congo.

Congo Connect Youth Initiative (Click Below Image)