24 January, 2008

A Peace Deal in the DRC ??

DRC Peace Deal So, I’m confused. What does this “peace deal” even do? It doesn’t bind people or have explicit consequences for breaking it, it doesn’t address the immense wealth of the DRC, it doesn’t disarm or remove the Interahamwe (who are ridiculous at best, and might be better id-ed as terrorists.). And it will only truly work if the “leaders” of these militias disarm their people in the remote areas of the country, which they might claim to do – but the practicality of that operation might be harder to pull off. I have serious doubts that some of the local groups will be willing to abandon the strong holds they established in remote areas for the opaque terms that won’t hold long. And, it includes minor absolution for some of the people who had done truly atrocious things. Where is the justice in that? It’s like how Joseph Kony won’t come out of hiding until he is guaranteed immunity. Um, no. You don’t get that, you gave up your right to walk away from all this the first time you kidnapped at five year old boy and handed him a machete. This conflict has killed more people than Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur combined. It’s a conflict that has turned the abuse and rape of women into an act of war and a form of strategy. It’s a fierce battle with, at one time, six sides vying for one of the most mineral rich areas in all of Africa. And a paper is going to settle all that?

Again: what does this peace deal actually do? How will it extend beyond Goma, or will it? And, again, what consequence is there for any of these players who go against the treaty?

You think the one thing the people of the DRC could agree on is the fact the Interahamwe have to go. But where to send them? They’re obviously still dangerous, obviously still hungry for blood and power, sending them back to Rwanda might send that country back thirteen years. From what I’ve read about the Interahamwe they are intentional, manipulative, brutal, and know how to spread lies and turn them as truth. They’ve been stirring up strife in the DRC for thirteen years. This is a group of rebels with nowhere to go – and nothing better to do. And until they either get bored of find a place to rest they will be a thorn in whatever country has the displeasure of having them within their borders.

And what of the women – will they ever get their justice? Will their rapists ever be held accountable? Or when the dust has settled, or one rebel group is replaced by another, will they be left with their scars (internal and external), and told “it was a time of war” and all is forgiven? Some of these women have lasting physical damage because of what these men did to them, many have children from their attacks, most live in a state of isolation and shame. Communities have been shattered, homes destroyed, innocence repeatedly stolen – where is their peace? Where is their assistance? Where is their voice?

Goma: the biggest joke of 2008. It’s not a peace deal, it’s a public melodrama for the world stage to see and write off the DRC as resolved. It allows the sides to say they’ve made peace then continue on their raids of abuse and murder unnoticed because the “leaders” in Goma say everything’s fine. DRC was getting too much attention, quick, sign a peace deal! Pathetic. Call my cynical, but I don’t think this is going to go anywhere. Within a month someone will get mad at someone for refusing to give up this part of the DRC or move their roadblock, and the conflict (which never ended) will explode again. And all we’re hear from Goma is finger pointing – another melodrama to keep the world at bay while they continue to terrorize and murder at astounding rates.

But hey, we have a peace deal!

For another perspective go here

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© Amanda Lunday