FOTC Newsletter

Dear Friends

The New Year began with a lot of mobilization efforts across the globe by Congolese communities. They have denounced the fraudulent elections that took place on November 28, 2011. They have demonstrated to bring attention to the fraudulent elections and have appealed to other democratic nations not to recognize the elections results that have returned Joseph Kabila to his presidential seat in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On January 21, multiple cities around the globe witnessed Congolese taking to the streets; people turned out in the thousands in Paris and Washington. The Congolese Diaspora’s actions manifest people’s desire to see Congo become a genuinely democratic society. Friends of the Congo joins Congolese inside and outside of the country in appealing to people of goodwill throughout the globe inviting them to join the Congolese people in their quest for democracy in the heart of Africa.

On February 22nd, Friends of the Congo will launch the 4th annual Breaking the Silence Speakers Tour. We look forward to visiting your city  and sharing concrete actions that you can take to support the Congolese in what is being called the “second coming of the Congolese independence.” As we travel the world, we will remind supporters that this year will be the 5th anniversary of Congo Week and will mobilize them to continue supporting Congolese youth as we work to transform the Congo into a safe, stable and just society.

Thank you for your continued support as we get closer to realizing peace and honoring human dignity in the Congo.

As a word of salute to supporters of the cause, we say to you "Ingeta," a word meaning "so be it" in the Kikongo language.

Kambale Musavuli
Spokesperson and Student Coordinator
Friends of the Congo



Congo: Elections, Democracy and The Diaspora Awakening

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is at a critical juncture in its tenuous march towards peace and stability. The Kabila regime suffers from a severe crisis of legitimacy and the future of the democratic project hangs in the balance. Stability will be fleeting without legitimacy. What is at stake in the Congo is not merely a single election result but respect for the will of a people and the future of democracy in the heart of Africa. Read more>>



Friends of the Congo Highlights and Past Events

December 6, 2011
United States Senate Congressional Briefing
The African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition (Africa Faith and Justice Network, African Great Lakes Action Network, Friends of the Congo, Foreign Policy in Focus) organized a briefing for members of the United States Senate to address the United Nations Mapping Exercise Report and the November 28th Presidential and Legislative elections in the Congo. Read more>>

October 16 - 22, 2011

Breaking the Silence Congo Week IV

Friends of the Congo and its global supporters organized its fourth annual “Breaking the Silence Congo Week” from October 16 – 22, 2011. FOTC would like to thank all the students and communities that participated in Congo Week IV. Your support has been truly heartfelt. Highlights in Congo Week included Congo in Harlem Film Festival, a concert in Kisangani, a film festival and forum in Goma, post-elections conflict resolution workshops in Kinshasa, and a benefit concert at the University of Maryland in the United States. As in previous years, students from Australia to Ireland, Kenya to South Africa, Ghana to England, Congo to Canada and throughout the United States participated in Congo Week. 

Winners of Congo Week Fundraising Contest:
Congratulations to the African Students for Progressive Action Committee (ASPAC) of the University of Maryland, College Park, who won the 2011 Congo Week fundraising contest by raising $1,500 during Congo Week. The students organized a benefit concert to raise funds for the Congo Connect Youth Initiative.

Highlight of Other FOTC Events

View other events including the June 30th independence day celebrations, the launch of Friends of the Congo film, Crisis in the Congo, the Mother’s Day Fundraiser to support women in the Congo, as well as the March Congressional Briefing for the United States House of Congress on the United Nations Mapping Exercise Report. See other FOTC highlights here.



FOTC Produces Documentary

Crisis in the Congo Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering The Truth explores the role that the United States and its allies, Rwanda and Uganda, have played in triggering the greatest humanitarian crisis at the dawn of the 21st century.

The film is a short version of a feature length production to be released in the near future. It locates the Congo crisis in a historical, social and political context. It unveils analysis and prescriptions by leading experts, practitioners, activists and intellectuals that are not normally available to the general public.

The film is a call to conscience and action. Join thousands of others throughout the globe by hosting a screening of  “Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth.” Hosting a screening (in your home, religious institution, school, community center, club, etc.) is simple:  Download the film here or send us your mailing address at info@congojustice.org to receive a copy of the DVD via mail.  Also, download the screening kit and share it with your guests.



Extraordinary Friends

Kristin Reidy and Clayton Howatt raised over $2,000 for the youth of the Congo!  It is the second year in a row that they have held fundraisers to support the education of Congolese youth who have dedicated their lives to not only completing their education but also transforming their country. Kristin says "that even if you don't have a lot of money you can do little things."  Kristin and her family and friends have not only raised money but they have also advocated for policy change. They signed petitions calling on their Congressional Representative to support the full implementation of Public Law 109-456. Kristin explains they "have a specific [petition] for Keith Ellison just explaining that [they] are concerned citizens." 

Kristin says she is motivated by her two baby daughters and that she wants them to know that she stood up in the face of injustices. She says "I don't ever want them to look at me when they see documentaries about the Congo and ask why we didn't do anything. I want them to know that their parents tried."

Join the global movement and become an extraordinary friend of the Congo like Kristin. Click here to learn how you can host a fundraiser for change in the Congo.

Some other extraordinary friends hosting fundraisers include:
Brooke Sparling, Lansing, Michigan
Kwame Kenyatta, Councilmember, Detroit City Council
Summer Sheridan, Harlem, New York
Marita Golden, Prince Georges, Maryland



Inside the News
A great deal happened in the Congo at the end of 2011 due to the November 28th presidential and legislative elections. Below are some key articles that capture the essence of the post-elections political impasse and crisis in legitimacy:

DRC - Democracy at a Crossroads
Pambazuka News
Click here to read!

DR Congo: 24 Killed since Election Results Announced
Human Rights Watch
Click here to read!

Analysis: DR Congo elections open new wounds
BBC
Click here to read!

World has little stomach to take on Congo vote row
Reuters
Click here to read!

Carter Center: DRC Presidential Election Results Lack Credibility
Click here to read!

Friends of the Congo in the News:
Christian Eyenga's second season begins with great uncertainty despite contract security
Click here to read!

Kabila, Tshisekedi and Congo
Click here to read!

In addition, FOTC worked collaboratively with Existence is Resistance and Occupy Wall Street, below is an article detailing the weekly protest.
Click here to read

Africa Today speaks with Friends of the Congo
Walter Turner interviews Kambale Musavuli
Click here to read!



Congo Connect Youth Initiative
In partnership with Congolese youth, Friends of the Congo is establishing technology centers throughout the Congo. The Centers serve as spaces for exchange of ideas, learning, training, communication and skills development.  The central, overriding purpose of the centers is to serve as a social space for reflection on the challenges of the Congo, the exchange of ideas, civic education, and training.

How to Get Involved:
Pledge to be a PARTNER. Are you a student or community group that can make a long-term commitment to Congolese youth? Are you committed to sustainable development? Do you believe that technology can give youth a voice? Pledge to be a Partner. Complete the online form here:



Dispatches From the Congo

Congolese youth who have been working to educate their peers and members of their community about participation in the November elections share their work and insights with supporters in Harlem, New York, during Congo Week. Asked who they will vote for, the youth say that they will vote for the alternative, knowing full well that the alternative does not represent “change.” Their logic seems to be that anything is better than the status quo. Hence, supporting the alternative is one step toward fundamental change that this new generation wants to bring about. Watch the Congolese youth share their insights about Congo's political landscape.



Take Action

1. Screen Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering The Truth
2. Host a fundraiser for Friends of the Congo
3. Invite Friends of the Congo to your community, religious institution or University to speak
4. Support Congo Connect Youth Initiative
5. Call on your elected leader to support the democratic aspirations of the Congolese people (If you are located in the United States demand that the US government implement its law that calls for support of Democracy in the Congo - Public Law 109-456)