Meditation Focus # 16
Humanitarian Crisis and War in Congo
Web posted on August 25 for the week beginning Sunday August 27
What follows is the 16th Meditation Focus suggested by the Global Meditation Focus Group for the week beginning Sunday August 27.
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND WAR IN CONGO
2. Meditation Times
3. More information on this week's Focus
The Democratic Republic of Congo, previously known as Zaire under President Mobutu's rule, has been a nation of people tormented by internal conflicts and has hardly experienced any lasting peace and stability since it gained its independence from Belgium in 1960. Since current President Laurent Kabila drove Mobutu from power in 1997, a shifting group of surrounding countries have supported or opposed him in his efforts to control this sprawling African nation. In this current civil war, Kabila's army (backed by Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia) has been fighting since August 1998 with several rebel groups (backed by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi) who control large parts of the east and north of the country. At stake are not only these various players' political objectives but also access to Congo's diamonds and other minerals. A cease-fire was agreed in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, in July 1999, but it has not been respected by any of the parties. A special U.N. envoy said Wednesday, August 23, he had reached agreements with Congo's President Laurent Kabila that would soon allow a U.N. peacekeeping force of over 5,500 soldiers to be deployed in the war-battered nation to supervise the cease-fire and the withdrawal of foreign forces. According to a U.N. official, this is "a rare positive sign that there could be progress toward peace."
A huge humanitarian crisis has gone largely unreported and the scale of the sufferings endured by the 20 million people living in this area, many of whom are displaced persons, parallels some of the worst situations that the world has seen in the 20th century. According to a recent survey of five population centers, there have been at least 1.6 million deaths in war-affected areas -- over and above the 600,000 deaths that would have occurred during normal times. About 15 percent of these deaths were directly attributable to violence; most of the rest resulted from malnutrition, malaria and other preventable or curable diseases that have proliferated amid the social and economic chaos created by the war. A disproportionate number of the victims were women and small children.
We have a common spiritual responsibility as members of the global human family to see that enough resources and attention are devoted to assist our brothers and sisters there amidst the difficult circumstances they must face on a day-to-day basis.
Please hold in your heart and mind a vision, as guided by Spirit during your meditation, of the cessation of all hostilities and of the successful deployment of all the urgently needed assistance in this part of the world. May peace prevail in Congo, for the highest good of all.
2. MEDITATION TIMES
i) Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes with a special Earth Healing Focus in the last few minutes.
ii) Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.
These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT: Honolulu 06:00 -- Los Angeles 09:00 -- Denver & San Salvador 10:00 -- Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 11:00 -- New York, Toronto, Montreal, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 -- Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 13:00 -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 16:00 -- London, Algiers & Lagos 17:00 -- Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg & Madrid 18:00 -- Athens, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Nairobi & Istanbul 19:00 -- Moscow & Baghdad 20:00 -- Tehran 20:30 -- Islamabad 21:00 -- Calcutta & New Delhi 21:30 -- Dhaka 22:00 -- Rangoon 22:30 -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 23:00 -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur 00:00+ -- Seoul & Tokyo 01:00+ -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne 02:00+ -- Wellington 04:00+
(+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time)
3. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS WEEK'S FOCUS
This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximize our healing effect.
For a review of this humanitarian crisis and what has been termed as the "World War I" of Africa (involving 6 countries) please go at: http://fullcoverage.yahoo.com/Full_Coverage/World/Democratic_Republic_of_Congo
The latest development is at: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000824/wl/congo_peacekeepers_dc_1.html
Thursday August 24 - Congo's Kabila to Let UN Troops Deploy Freely
See also http://www.hrw.org/press/2000/08/uganda0822.htm
Uganda/Congo: Resurgence of Inter-Ethnic Violence - Uganda Must Rein in Congo Troops
And from http://www.stratfor.com/SERVICES/giu2000/082500.ASP
Will Peacekeepers Finally Enter the War-Torn DRC? 25 August 2000
President Laurent Kabila reportedly agrees to allow an international peacekeeping force into the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though he still enjoys the support of one important player in the African wars, Zimbabwe, Kabilas change of heart is probably due to pressure from the regions most powerful player, South Africa.
In a significant reversal, President Laurent Kabila has authorized the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), local television reported on Aug. 24. The U.N. mission was to deploy earlier this year -- but the government refused to allow it to enter the country.
Kabilas change of heart is probably due to indirect pressure from South Africa. One of Kabilas closest supporters, the government of Angola, recently warned that it would discontinue support if the DRC did not allow the U.N. peacekeeping mission to go forward. South Africa supports the U.N. deployment and has pressured Kabilas allies to withdraw support. Without Angolan help, Kabila would find it difficult to keep power.
Southern African wars are like spider webs with many different interwoven threads. The civil war in the DRC involves six different countries and connections to the civil wars in Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan. The many players have made resolving any one conflict almost impossible.
For an excellent historic background summary on the Democratic Republic of Congo see:
Also from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/opinion/A52559-2000Jun23.html
Catastrophe in Congo - June 24, 2000
FINALLY, HERE IS A LARGER PERSPECTIVE ON PAST CONFLICTS IN THIS AFRICAN GREAT LAKES REGION
Recently, there have been media reports of clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo near the Rwandan border between government forces and rebels seeking to overthrow DRC's leader, Laurent Kabila. For nearly four decades, the Africa Great Lakes Region has been plagued with violence and political upheaval. For example:
In Rwanda in 1959, Hutu politicians overthrew the Tutsi monarchy resulting in the massacre of thousands of Tutsi. Many Tutsi fled to neighboring countries like Uganda and Tanzania.
In Burundi in 1972, 300,000 Hutus were massacred by government forces. There was another anti-Tutsi uprising in 1988.
In Zaire in 1993, armed clashes resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and displaced several hundred thousand others.
As many as 200,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by government forces and armed groups in Burundi since October 1993.
In Rwanda in 1994, 500,000 to 800,000 (most of them Tutsi) were killed by Hutu-dominated government forces and militia. Thousands of unarmed Hutu were also killed by RPF combatants. More than one million Hutus fled to Zaire when Rwanda was overthrown by the Tutsi-controlled RPF later that year. During the 1996-97 war against Mobutu in Zaire, tens of thousands of people from South-Kivu province in Zaire fled into Tanzania.
Since 1997, raids into Rwanda from the DRC have killed thousands of unarmed civilians (both the insurgents and the Rwandese security forces have been implicated in the killings).
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