Congo: Caught in the Cross-fire

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There is no place on this planet with more problems than the Democratic Republic of Congo (aka the D.R.C.). Cursed by its priceless cache of precious resources, the failed African state has been consumed by internal war since 1998, with little hope for progress anytime soon. So far, 5 million people have been killed.

As is the case with most modern conflicts (i.e. Syria), there is not so much a good side and a bad side so much as there are two bad sides fighting over power while the majority of people are killed and brutalized from all directions.

This powerful and utterly depressing video from the New York Times shows the all-too-common occurrence of a military group forcibly clearing out a village, letting residents escape with little more than their lives.

These people being forced out of their village will likely never return home again. They may live in the refugee camp indefinitely, or, best case scenario, they will eventually be processed through the camp and relocated in a foreign Western land where they start their lives over again.

And if you want to do some good without visiting a dangerous war-torn nation, volunteer at and/or donate to a local refugee resettlement agency such as Denver’s African Community Center. There has been a sudden influx of refugees from the D.R.C. and these organizations need all the help they can get to settle these families and individuals in an unfamiliar land where they have nothing and know no one.

And next time you see a foreign-looking person in your local community, whether they are wearing a turban or African wax-fabrics, smile and make them feel like a neighbor. After all they have probably been through, the last thing they deserve is to feel unwanted in their new home.


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