Friday, August 16, 2013

Great Lakes Region: Remembering the millions that have been killed in the last 30 years.

Rising Continent blogs

Dying in the Great Lakes – A Living Portrait

The event will take place in London on Saturday 14th 2013. 

That is September.

What is it?

It is a public spectacle against the indifference of the West to the suffering of Africans.

The truth of that statement should make us all stop and think. The Western world has for centuries nicked everything we could get our thieving hands on in Africa, including at our worst its people. From slavery in the past to Coltan today we have been complicit in the deaths of millions of Africans. It is not a question of blame, we today are not to blame for the slave raiders of  previous centuries but make no mistake we are responsible for that exploitation. The wealth that we enjoy in the first world was accumulated through centuries of colonial exploitation. That we now turn away from engaging with the people of Africa and demanding that they are afforded human rights, food security, political freedom and education is an indictment on us. 


It is a claim to Western governments about their responsibilities in the plight of the victims of political and military leaders in the Great Lakes region they support.

There is no shortage of Crocodiles in the region. Kabila, Kagame, Museveni lead the list but there are many others.

                                                          Radio Netherlands Worldwide

It is an act of raising consciousness among the victims and their supporters to show that change depends on the determination of people.

It is a small scale visual representation of the tragedy that millions of Africans in Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi experience since the 80s until today.

That the West is largely ignorant of this history tells of the need for this it should not be just limited to London though.

It is a testimony about one sad and revolting picture of the chains of production of electronic devices [iPad, iPhone, mobile, laptop, play station, etc] that the Western world cherishes and cannot live without.

It is a way of honouring and remembering the millions of people who died in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since that the Ugandan president Joweri Museveni started his bush war in that country in 1981.

It is a bit of a stretch to blame Museveni  for everything. That is actually one of the problems with Rising Continent, they see thing in black and white when there are always shades of grey. I certainly don't think to many Ugandans look back nostalgically at the " reign " of Idi Amin. And yes I realise that the Bush War is post Amin.

Script on the day

The event will bring together as many people as possible in a square in London to be indicated a few days before 14/09/13. We will play the dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo in particular, but also Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. Participants will lie down on the floor with blood-stained clothes for 30 to 40 minutes, when others will be watching the scenery while being blindfolded. While all this takes place in silence, four people will speak out alternatively the names of the missing ones. A flyer will be distributed to passers-by asking people to write down on a scale of 1 to 10 how indifferent they can be to message of the spectacle.

That is a good idea.

Encrypted by history

This action will be filmed by two Swiss journalists who are trying to make a film about our regional struggle with a particular emphasis on the issue of raw materials in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I get the feeling that this protest would get a better response if it wasn't so political from an African perspective.

How to get involved

We ask you [if you are in London or can travel there] 40 minutes of your time to support the millions of Congolese, Rwandans, Ugandans and Burundians whose leaders are responsible of their death with different levels of responsibilities. Provided the significance of the initiative, we ask people who intend to get involved only to register on the facebook event page – [type DYING IN THE GREAT LAKES on your facebook page] if they are effectively committed. Honoring our dead requires some seriousness in our commitment.

Thank you in advance if you plan to get involved.

I think the organisers need to think more about what their objective is. Western indifference or African domestic injustice both are I concede linked but in 2010 the voter turnout in the British General Election was 65.1% focus I suggest on the victims and make it clear to the West that it is also our responsibility to halt the violence in the Great Lakes Region. 

There will be no rescue, no intervention for us. We can only save ourselves. Many of you know influential people abroad, you must call these people. You must tell them what will happen to us... say goodbye. But when you say goodbye, say it as if you are reaching through the phone and holding their hand. Let them know that if they let go of that hand, you will die. We must shame them into sending help."  
Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda

1 comment:

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