On air: Is the world letting Africa down again?

The Red Cross is calling the situation in Congo a human catastrophe, and a quarter of a million people have been displaced already. We’ll do two things today.

First, we’ll hear as many of your reports. If you’re in Congo, or know people there who’ve been affected this week, we’d welcome you sharing what you’ve seen or heard.

Second, the way the world responds to a crisis in Africa is again being discussed. The footage from earlier this week of children throwing rocks in disgust at UN tanks which were driving away from the fighting was powerful stuff.

Is this another example of compassion fatigue? Of the UN failing to provide adequate support and protection? Or should some of Africa’s problems be left to Africans to sort out?

Q&A on Congo conflict

94 Responses to “On air: Is the world letting Africa down again?”

  1. 1 Jackthehat
    October 31, 2008 at 14:07

    Ros – phooey!

    The World doesn’t owe Africa a living.
    Love thy neighbour – God helps those who help themselves – take your pick.
    The poor mugs who live there are bled dry, fleeced, whatever…by their own people, their rulers…
    That’s it: no more, no less; so Africa, stand up for ypurself!


  2. 2 parth guragain,nepal
    October 31, 2008 at 14:13

    we should not expect others to solve our problem .Nepal can be example how problem can be solved by involvement of all parties.if problem could be solved by involvement of other parties outside country iraq,afginastan would be most peaceful place in the world.

    October 31, 2008 at 14:29

    Yes, the world is letting Africa down again!

  4. October 31, 2008 at 14:31

    The is a reality is that a hierarchy for the value of human life exist and the super powers of the world hate to acknowledge it! It is absolute not right, but it’s the reality, so they/we have let Africa down again and it won’t be the last.

    In a previous debate after a WHYS on air show Pangolin reference the UNESCO for examples. Dan described it perfectly as the SuperPowers of the world have a hierarchy of “Enlightened Self Interests”.

    You don’t have to look as far as Congo. Look at how minorities are treated in the US. When a white child goes missing no resource is spared. If a Black or Latino child goes missing, good luck kid making it on the 6 o’clock news. Do you think the US will care about Africa if there is nothing in it for us? No oil or photo-op with Bono?

  5. October 31, 2008 at 14:34

    The reality is that a hierarchy for the value of human life exist and the super powers of the world hate to acknowledge it! It is absolute not right, but it’s the reality, so they/we have let Africa down again and it won’t be the last.

    In a previous debate after a WHYS on air show Pangolin reference the UNESCO for examples. Dan described it perfectly as the SuperPowers of the world have a hierarchy of “Enlightened Self Interests”.

    You don’t have to look as far as Congo. Look at how minorities are treated in the US. When a white child goes missing no resource is spared. If a Black or Latino child goes missing, good luck kid making it on the 6 o’clock news. Do you think the US will care about Africa if there is nothing in it for us? No oil or photo-op with Bono?

    (Sorry again, delete previous post if it is posted twice. Comment shows it did not go through on Word Press.)

  6. October 31, 2008 at 14:44

    Africa has been the most troubled continent in the past decades, from civil wars, internal violence, famine and diseases.

    The world has a responsibility to help Africa when it comes to human crises caused by famine and diseases, but it needn’t to be its policeman to bear the burden of resolving its armed conflicts when those involved in them can’t agree on how to solve their problems without bloodshed.

    Africa seems to be losing many opportunities because of the mismanagement of its leaders due to corruption and fight for power at the expense of the prosperity of its people. African politics need to grow up and to have ways to solve its problems based on national interests and not on tribal ones. Otherwise, Africa will remain, a fighting ground on many levels, making its vast and rich natural resources a milking cow for the raw material hungry nations.

    DR Congo has a vast wealth of minerals but it is plagued with the vast greed of its warring leaders, making it one of the poorest in Africa when it should be among the richest.

  7. October 31, 2008 at 14:58

    its understable the world is tired of helping us Africans. We need to deal with our greed for power. How does Nkunda help the poor eastern congolese by claiming to fight for them. It comes a time when the world can do no more and frankly the world fatigue is understandable if all the rest of the world has to do is fight fires which us Africans start.

  8. October 31, 2008 at 15:01

    right now the world is enroute to let itself down. The poor, meek, and repressed may verywell inherit the Earth. They may verywell baave eveolved the back in the end to survive an economic and energy collapse.

  9. 9 Bob in Queensland
    October 31, 2008 at 15:05

    This isn’t necessarily about aid.

    When the true horror of the massacre in the Congo became clear after the previous civil war, many western politicians spoke at length about their regret at the failure of the international community to intervene.

    Well, guess what? History is repeating itself. Are we going to learn from history or let the same thing happen again?

  10. 10 selena in Canada
    October 31, 2008 at 15:14

    Do we really know what is happening in Africa? We see the news but are we getting a clear idea of what is happening on the ground?

    We watch the same pictures over and over and listen to the same reports, albeit from different people. But what is actually happening there?

    What do Peace Keepers do? They don’t appear to be able to keep the peace!

    If we are to believe reports, Africa has been pillaged for centuries. We appear to accept the fact that it happens because the top does not care about the bottom and Africa seems clearly at the bottom.

    So, are the events in Africa happening because we don’t believe we are letting down people like us?

    Everything is about self-interest, we are told. If, in self interest, we construct a hierarchy whereby Africans are at the bottom, why do we wonder about the consequences?

    We will continue to let down Africa as long as we soar above reality.

  11. 11 Munyoro from Kenya
    October 31, 2008 at 15:16

    There’s alot they are not telling us. Whats at stake if there’s peace in the Congo? More revenue from the mineral rich soils? Someone wants war in the Congo.

  12. 12 Muthee Mwangi
    October 31, 2008 at 15:26

    I really get sad when it comes to the Congo situation. This country has never known peace since independence in the 60s after the murder of Lumumba by Western agents.
    I also get really sad when i hear comments like the one by Jackthehat(ABOVE) because even though we’ve had leaders in Africa who don’t care about their people, the plight of Africa is very much tied to Western historical escapades in Africa. The mineral rich Congo does not sell its minerals(legally or illegally) to other Africans. It is to the west who doesn’t care the means as long as they get their precious metals. They work in cahoots with Individuals to inflict suffering upon a whole population.
    About letting Africa down, we should ask ourselves, where do these mindless warlords and rebel leaders get their weapons from in the first place??

  13. 13 John in Salem
    October 31, 2008 at 15:50

    For most Westerners the very name “Africa” is synonymous with suffering. Compassion fatigue was replaced with ambivalence a long time ago.

  14. 14 Krzysztof
    October 31, 2008 at 15:53

    Another conflict where the only victims are civilians. And these humanitarian aid is given to them. It’s like giving food and drink to someone who is bleeding and not trying to stop blood flowing.
    The UN is still neutral… but how long are they going to look at this and spending a lot of money keeping soldiers there?
    In my opinion this conflict should not be solved by guns and blood but by peace/ and disarmament talk. The result would be long-lasting. Well, no more civilians would die.
    And yes the world is letting Africa down Again. Darfur, Congo…
    But there are peaceful countries. And they are well, aren’t they?

    And I agree with Selena in Canada. We don’t get clear picture of what is really happening in Africa. Anyway, we won;t achieve anything by looking and talking about the problem only. Africa needs more decisive steps to be made.

  15. 15 Roy, Washington DC
    October 31, 2008 at 16:01

    Some parts of Africa are in such a chaotic state that, out of concern for their own safety, aid workers just don’t want to go there. Humanitarianism is a noble goal, but it doesn’t mix well with anarchy.

    Somalia is a good example of this, with all the piracy that has been going on lately in their coastal waters, and with the anarchic situation inside the country (Wikitravel’s page on Somalia paints a very bleak picture).

  16. 16 Lei, UK
    October 31, 2008 at 16:19

    We can’t sort out all the bad things in the world. We haven’t even perfected our own countries. We haven’t even perfected our own lives. There will always be poverty and suffering in the world.

    As privilaged people, we should definitely do all we can to help others. If we can’t help, we should give money to support those wonderful people who do.

    But don’t fool yourself that “the way the world responds” could solve all problems in Africa. Charity is much-needed bandage. But the root cause of suffering is human selfishness and will never cease to exist.

  17. 17 Dan
    October 31, 2008 at 16:23

    It is true that nations act in their own enlightened self interests. Africa has been in constant turmoil for as long as I can remember.
    Mugabe turned Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) from the breadbasket of Africa into a basket case. Who gave a damn? Where was the UN.
    UN Peacekeepers are impotent and when attacked the UN writes a strong letter of protest. I’ll be that scares the hell out of dictators.
    The Congo, Rwanda and so many other countries are in a perpetual state of civil war. Anybody with a gun tries to take over the Government or become the Government.
    If any Western power tries to intervene they are called racist and smeared throughout the liberal left wing media.
    If sub-Sahara Africa had oil there would be peace.
    If there was a true United Nations dedicated to improving the lives of those in desperate poverty absent just throwing money at them, we’d see a different Africa.
    Anyway….that’s my view.

  18. 18 Ogola B
    October 31, 2008 at 16:32

    Ros keeps on asking how i tune in to the WHYS? There is a satellite just next to my rib and a computer facing me. sorry for those who signed out!

  19. 19 Ana from Puerto Rico
    October 31, 2008 at 16:32

    I am horrified by some of the comments I have seen here today! YES THE WORLD IS LETTING DOWN AFRICA!!!! And yes western countries have some responsibility. These countries are still suffering from the legacy of colonization but must of all they are suffering from the greed of the rest of the world. The reality is that Africa is a resource rich continent and the rest of the world does not seem care that these people are suffering so long as they can take their piece of the resources pie. I think it’s a shame and very sad that such a beautiful place is plagued with so much pain. Western countries should try to help stop the killings, I know some people may think it’s not their responsibility but if western countries set out to help other countries in equal distress then they should help Congo and Sudan as well.

    I hope 2009 is a more peaceful year!

  20. 20 John Ohler
    October 31, 2008 at 16:35

    Has the world let down Africa? Well perhaps that is true, but the problems of Africa go beyond much what the west can do. The problem is that all the west has been able to do is pour money and food into Africa. The sad fact is that the money is syphoned off by corrupt governments and the food has relatively destroyed local farming. The problem is that Africa needs to be able to help itself and that is far easier said then done. The west does have some responsibility for it because of the way Africa was carved up. The carving up of Africa has created nations with ethnic groups that hate each other and created in some cases. Congo is the perfect example of this.

    The truth is that I beleive that there is nothing the west can do to Congo. It is a nation of diverse ethnic groups that hate each other. The ruling power would not agree with a partition of the nation. The irony is that the wealth this nation holds in its interior that could pull it out of its state, is the very thing that causes the strife. Add to the fact that weapons are cheap and cannot be withheld leads to continuous war.

    I don’t know what exactly the answer would be, the fact is that Africa has to be able to help themselves. Somolia in 1991 shows clearly that intervention will not work. The people need to take control.

  21. 21 Venessa
    October 31, 2008 at 16:38

    The wars in Africa have been going on for years but I agree with others on this page that we don’t have a clear picture. However, one thing that does stand out for me is that no amount of aid will help the Africans until they learn to help themselves.

  22. 22 gary
    October 31, 2008 at 16:45

    It is true that much exploitation has occurred in Africa; but much of it was (and is being) facilitated by enthusiastic, local collaboration. Her lands were colonized and her people subjugated; but not by superior numbers. The wholesale theft has always been facilitated by an “inside man.” Given the dispositions of her peoples, I’m forced to say: “I’ve got absolutely no ideas – never had any – to remedy the big, sad mass that is African tribal strife.” The world is going to have to used to facts: We are likely unable to fix it, even with massive occupation. Bad actions have bad consequences that leave bad memories, and short of inducing mass amnesia, almost nothing will persuade people to stop acting upon those memories.

  23. 23 Marcell, Cameroon
    October 31, 2008 at 17:13

    World leaders are preoccupied by the GFC. The recent firce fight in DRC has taken them by surprise.
    They didn’t expect it at all. Bu if it were a European conflict response would be swift and efficient.
    What a shame.

  24. October 31, 2008 at 17:19

    World leaders are preoccupied by the GFC. The recent fierce fight in DRC has taken them by surprise.
    They didn’t expect it at all. But if it were a European conflict the response would be swift and efficient.
    What a shame.

  25. October 31, 2008 at 17:20

    The people in Africa should learn to help themselves. They are the ones who are fighting and killing each other, they should be responsible. No sympathy for them. I don’t think Europe or USA should interfere with these ungrateful people. They have their own African union to go to.

  26. 26 mahamed geeljire in somaliland
    October 31, 2008 at 17:24

    bbc ,geeljire in somalialand I think the world is letting africa to down specillay western,for example somalia is 18 years of confilict and have no centeral government,and other african states still on war

    geeljire somaliland

  27. October 31, 2008 at 17:29

    YES. Perhaps,the continent had been led down by the Africans Nationalists, librators, oppositions and the people who calls themselves SUPERPOWERS like Russia,US,BRITIAN,China and so many others who supports oppositions and dictators to rule as their YES MEN to implements their politicals interests through idioligicals,politicals, economicals and religious in any matter. Please! please! Africa wake -up to defends your people and naturals resources please!.Please world We dont want another World War in Africans soils, we suffers enough in our internals conflicts and WW1 and WW2. The solutions now for DR Congo and other African problems is AFRICANS PROBLEMS FOR AFRICANS SOLUTIONS and just politicals supports from the world but not armies like unprofessionals sends by UN to loots and stills a Africans resources, aids and a 40 barrels artillarries.

  28. 28 Roberto
    October 31, 2008 at 18:02

    Do we really know what is happening in Africa?

    ——- According to Africans I talk to, Africa is a fine hunky dory place to live.

    Has no problems, people are happy, and the western media is the problem for reporting problems that don’t exist.

    Then I ask them why they immigrated. They just shrug and go blithely about their business.

  29. October 31, 2008 at 18:05

    Hey, the US has done enough. Let that two super – powers , Russia and China do something. They sit by and watch all these people die and do nothing.

    My name is Richard Neal Huffman, and I approve this message.
    Author of, Dreams In Blue: The Real Police

  30. 30 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    October 31, 2008 at 18:07

    For many years we in the west have sent help to Africa. Food, money, and aid workers to help get them going. However, it never seems to work. The wars and famine move all the time. Africa has an abundant supply of natural resources that they need to use for their people. Maybe by helping them so much we in the west have made Africa so dependent that they cannot develop themselves. In other words, if we (the west) keep giving them aid what need is there for the governments to develop their land or go use their resources. Just take the money because it is easy. The old saying, “Give a man a fish and he will not be hungry. Teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry.” The people and government of Africa need to start fishing! I feel that the west has given then enough help.

  31. 31 Ryan in the US
    October 31, 2008 at 18:15

    The world pushed to get apartheid out of Africa to allow Africa to rule themselves. Were they having troubles of this magnitude while under foreign rule? Congo elected the very government that is committing many of these atrocities.

    Maybe it’s because I live in the US, I am ex-army, and own firearms that I can’t understand why hundreds of thousands of people can’t help in their own defense. Most of the European countries have had peasant revolts that overthrew governments that had superior weapons. Why must other nations do the work of these people?

  32. 32 Dan
    October 31, 2008 at 18:22

    @Thea Winter – Indianapolis IN, USA
    I think that you are absolutely correct.
    We have given aid for decades and nothing has improved.
    America has provided HIV-AID’s drugs. Has anything improved?
    Food aid, clothing, medicines, Doctors, What has changed what has improved?
    There is always some Western Woman crying on the radio about “the children” saying how unbelievable it is.
    The UN can provide nothing. All the UN can do is write strong letters.
    Perhaps the time has come for the West to re-colonialize Africa…Oh wait someone will call me a racist so that we can let the killings go on and on.

  33. 33 Ogola B
    October 31, 2008 at 18:30

    The other day i was reading an article on one of the papers that said the rebels have been accused of carnibalism, an allegation that its chief denied, ruling it as a malicious statement!

  34. 34 Muthee Mwangi
    October 31, 2008 at 18:41

    @Karuga. Trust me sir, Nkunda and his ilk have their role in starting the fire, but not solely. Like someone said, someone wants a war there. And have we all forgotten the alleged role of nur good friend Kagame in the suffering of the Eastern Congolese.

  35. 35 Robert USA
    October 31, 2008 at 18:42

    Four decades have passed, but Patrice Lumumba is still someone that should be remembered for what he represented and how the “developed” world does have programs of destabilization that benefit those that use the guises of modernization and democracy for self-serving interests. Little care for the victims of these imposed policies is expressed beyond token discussions of peace and redress.

    I wish not to imply that the West is directly responsible for the current state of affairs, rather just highlight how the general environment of chaos in the most war-torn regions has been perpetuated by benefactors that have divided and conquered.

  36. October 31, 2008 at 18:45

    I think the political aspect of the problem is ideally handled locally. The UN and peacekeeping groups can/should serve a mediation role, to help local governments and leaders develop skills, perspectives and relationships that enable them to resolve these conflicts internally.

    Mercy Corps is currently in the DRC now, providing fresh, clean water and other critical supplies to the 100s of thousands displaced Congolese. We will continue to offer this aid as long as there is a need.

  37. 37 usa
    October 31, 2008 at 18:46

    No, Countries need to start taking care of themselves and that includes the USA. America is not the world police and we need to stop getting involved.

  38. 38 Mohammed in Liberia
    October 31, 2008 at 18:51

    United Nation mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo is lackadaisical in protecting innocent civilians from cross-fire and with the response of the European Union in providing troops to aid the Government will further escalate the war because Gen. Laurent Nkunda’s is being fully sponsored by the International community like wise the Government of Congo but remain mute over Rwanda role in the crisis which make it almost impossible to achieve peace without the Government of Rwanda full support.

  39. October 31, 2008 at 18:51

    It is so sad that inspite of all efforts by Red Cross, history in Africa keeps repeating itself. What Africa needs is not just humanitarian aid and waiver of debt but also a helping hand in learning to rule themselves.

  40. 40 Ryan in the US
    October 31, 2008 at 18:52


    I have a friend in the Peace Corps in Africa and she says that there radio broadcast stating that the antiretroviral drugs are poisons from western countries. That the these “poisons” are causing the country to go into debt, even though they are provided free of charge.

  41. 41 Dan
    October 31, 2008 at 19:00

    @Mohammed in Liberia
    Absent the UN getting into a major firefight what should the UN peacekeepers do?
    They have very smart looking uniforms and can write very strong letters but remain toothless because they do not want to take a chance killing anyone.
    Weakness invites conflict. Strength invites peace.

  42. 42 Abram
    October 31, 2008 at 19:04

    Yes! And The Media has a very big negative role to play with it. The world media always reports the most minor incidents that take place in Israel and the Palestinian areas. Africa suffers like no other place on this planet, but the media is not there at the right time to go after the real cause of this suffering, yet it manages to report the most insignificant things about Palestinians elsewhere. For instance, while hundred of millions struggle for daily subsistence, we must learn from the media, including the BBC, that Iceland is taking in a few Palestinian refugee families from Iraq (“Iraq Palestinians head to Iceland: 30 Palestinians living in…”. That’s surely more important than all of Africa.
    In the ‘Middle East and Africa’ section genocides and famines are ignored so that people can learn about the plight of one homosexual Palestinian who can’t come to Israel or a few Gaza students who can’t leave to study in the U.S.

  43. 43 Anthony
    October 31, 2008 at 19:08

    I want to know, what steps does Africa need to take to evolve in the right direction???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  44. October 31, 2008 at 19:09

    Why do the West have double standards? The UN has a mandate to protect the peace and safety of every1 everywhere and thats exactly what the UN is expected to do in Congo. Nothing less

  45. 45 Atsu
    October 31, 2008 at 19:09

    Hi Ros,
    Hi everyone. Hope all is well.
    Africa should stop depending on initiatives from the outside world to solve its problems. Most of its problems and conflicts like the one in Congo are local. Though Africa may need logistical help from outside, it must have and own its own problem solving initiatives.
    Africa has come of age! Wake up, Africa!

    Accra, Ghana.

  46. 46 Giselle
    October 31, 2008 at 19:10

    The world isn’t “letting Africa down again” so much as “letting Congo down, AS ALWAYS”. The DRC has been an utter catastrophe for years! I’m certain there’s no worse place on this planet for women so I’ve given some money to the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu (http://www.panzihospitalbukavu.org/), which I heard about on the World Service. My donation, however, can make little difference when soldiers on both side of this conflict are using sexual torture as their weapon of choice.

    Giselle, The Netherlands

  47. 47 Giselle
    October 31, 2008 at 19:14

    @ Robert USA

    I wonder how Zaire would’ve developed had the CIA not murdered Patrice Lumumba. It could not possibly be worse than what’s going on today!

  48. October 31, 2008 at 19:18

    We don’t stand a chance to throw a burden on the English, America, & Chinese. Rather as 21st Century has thought as we share the same destinantion to spearhead Renaissances of Peace. Naive who cares about the Voter in Zimbabwe, The Refugee in Chad whilst ignition of D.R.C. spark the same burden.




    Of course Majority of the African Elite (elders) have done it rather only to their benefit of not sharing which has constituteD to another statistics falling behind the eyes of Linguistics in New York, Clerk in Brussels to create Poverty within the horns of Addis Ababa.

  49. 49 David, Dallas TX
    October 31, 2008 at 19:23

    Are the governments of the “civilized” world going to set back and watch with horror another Rwandan incident?
    Is our element of compassion extinguished by failing economies, wars, hunger, and promises of peace?
    C’mon, this is just quite enough. Sure the world doesn’t owe Africa a living, but ask yourself this; DO YOU?
    I just can’t grasp my mind around the idea of having child that’s been raped and killed lying in my arms, seeing my family run and mutilated at the same time.
    If you can’t see through this, then I don’t think you are deserving of the life that has been freely given to you.
    Let’s not think that this will never happen again, but prevent it from occurring again, lets not wait until it is too latte…

  50. 50 Ryan in the US
    October 31, 2008 at 19:25

    @ mahamed geeljire in somaliland

    The west failed Somalia? Somalia has rejected stabilization. Who can forget pictures of soldiers drug through the streets of Mogadishu and mutilated? How many sons and daughters must the west lose to “saving Africa” from itself?

  51. 51 Kenny In Florida
    October 31, 2008 at 19:25

    Most of the world has a deep hatred of the U.S., yet they are quick to cry when we don’t send our troops and money to help. Figure it out your own dang self!

  52. 52 The Voice of the Voyager
    October 31, 2008 at 19:35

    Why are the UN ‘Peacekeepers’ not ‘Peacemakers’, as what happened when the UN mission in the Balkans became primarily a NATO operation. UN mandates tend to wring their hands rather than bang heads together to sort out a viable solution. Perhaps Obama with his background might well focus on Africa come January 09.

  53. 53 John
    October 31, 2008 at 19:38

    Africa has been exploited, raped, murdered, plundered and pillaged and that has been recently by its own leadership. It is perhaps time that the UN and other African groups who really have the nations best interests at heart to take control of the process of establishing leaders who will not be greed and power oriented. If a hands off approach is taken would Africa right itself? Has the rule by foreign countries caused the people of Africa to have such a diminished self value that they can not govern themselves? Will the Chinese make Africa another colony thus perpetuating the downward attitude of the African nations?
    The Band-Aid of sending in food and medical supplies, when and where they can get through, help the desperate situation? I am sad to say that there needs to be a major paradigm change both within Africa and from without.

    John Somers
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA

  54. 54 Kasereka
    October 31, 2008 at 19:39

    Only a Congolese like me can understand how painful the situation in Congo is! A guy living in the USA will never understand this, let alone Mme the secretary of states from the USA.
    Everybody, the BBC inclusive is saying that they have no evidence of the involvement of Rwanda in my country! What an hypocrisy! Go in the jungles where these rebels are operating, you will find Europeans and Americans training these rebels! What else do you expect a poor peasant farmer to do in the eyes of such injustice!
    I have lost more than 50 people in this senseless war imposed to us by the West! What a shame!
    All this mess will one day come to an end and the truth will be known.

  55. 55 Jeni Flavell
    October 31, 2008 at 19:42

    This is evidence. Unless the member states of the United Nation commit to funding assistance to African countries, such conflict will continue until we are all bored of listening. Which has been happening since I can remember listening.

    The UN cannot commit to sending troops to Sudan, so where will they find troops to send to the Congo?

    It is not a problem of Africa or Europe, the UN does not have the manpower, or the mandate to commit or deploy.

    Further, Western academic thought is so ground down in humanitarian right, wrong, economics and UN legislation that the entire system is incompetent.

    I do not have the answers but I wish more people would commit to finding them.

    I hope and I hope. We are one Earth.

  56. 56 Nas
    October 31, 2008 at 19:46

    The West needs to intervene in African conflicts before it escalates into a major crisis like Somalia and DR Congo.

    As long as conflicts like Somalia and DR Congo continue to rage on, unabated and ignored by the west, then the more difficult and precarious the situation would become.

    However, I do blame African nations for African crisis. Neighbouring countries must STOP interfering (arming rebel groups) in internal conflicts of a sovereign African state.

  57. October 31, 2008 at 19:47

    Should the US be more involved in keeping the peace in Africa? The US should not be involved militarily because the US federal government does not and should not act according to the interests of the people of Africa. It already does a horrible job of representing American’s interests. However, I know that many Americans have large sympathetic hearts and the resources to act accordingly. I think that if we knew exactly which multinational corporations were undermining the prospects of Africans by corrupting their governments, abusing their people and destroying their environments, many would go to great lengths to disrupt their business and boycott their products. No American wants to indirectly harm an African child by buying products made with raw materials ill begotten in Africa but I fear it happens all the time. Africa doesn’t need US troops. Our markets need more transparency so clear minded consumers can better control monstrous corporations.

  58. 58 CJ McAuley
    October 31, 2008 at 19:53

    Africa is “letting Africa down again”! I mean Zimbabwe is a joke, and the DRC is headed down a “Rwanda-esque” road. It is about time they all got their s**t together and rowed their own oars!!!

  59. 59 Dan
    October 31, 2008 at 19:58

    I question how the UN will take control of anything.
    The UN’s major weapon is writing harsh letters.
    I proffer that Western nations are held back from taking any positive action in Africa as they will be labeled Racist by left wing liberals who think that it is better to infantalize blacks.

  60. 60 Ogola B
    October 31, 2008 at 19:59

    The business turmoil in the congo will need to be delt with in a more sophiscated way because the area has been dominated by rebel groups being supported by interest groups from all political boundaries. why are all rebel groups based i9n the congo is a question one should ask?

  61. 61 David Waln
    October 31, 2008 at 20:07

    I worry that the problem of peace, anywhere, eludes us. The tragic reason that war is always the first option, that precedes any peaceful structures, is that it takes less effort and collective vision than peace. PLEASE – lets retire the simplistic notion that all you have to do to avoid war is for people to just not fight. The more difficult challenge is the creation and sustaining of a collective vision long enough for the creation of cooperative structures to evolve and demonstrate their usefulness.

  62. October 31, 2008 at 20:19

    There is no problem in Africa that is not caused by the government and people of the USA and Britain; the United Nations and the European Union helping to fuel it or, sometimes, take part in it silently, to protect the interest of the USA especially, but not excluding the interest of Britain or the European Union, under the pretence of bringing peace .

    If the problem in the Congo is investigated to its first cause, it would certainly be seen, like the problem in Zimbabwe, to have been caused by Americans or the British or by both of them. But these people do not take blame or responsibility for the evil that they do to Africans and Africans are not sensitive and lack intellectual analysis to know when they are being used to sow problems for them and, sometimes, even to ignite problem.

    The problems are created by the economic activities of the USA and Britain and by the destruction of African traditions and customs and the imposition of American and British culture on them, especially, the culture of individualism, secularism, and moral relativism or perversion. The BBC, VOA and other British and American information agencies help achieve the interests of their country government and people from both perspectives. But they do not take responsibility for the evil that they do.

    Prince Awele Odor

    Lagos, Nigeria

  63. 63 Dan
    October 31, 2008 at 20:48

    @Prince Pieray C. P. Odor

    Thank You of course all wars are the fault of the United States. Why should any country look at its own failings and aspire to improve themselves. Rather they only aspire to blame others and drag success down into the muck of failure.
    If our history the United States has done much to restore order in the world, lift millions out of crushing poverty, eliminate disease, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give away our public and private largess unlike any other country in the world or history and still we are vilified.
    If you want to talk about evil look at the Government of your country and surrounding countries. Look at the countries that surround Zimbabwe that enable Mugabe to destroy a paradise. Look at all the countries that have waged war on other African nations and slaughtered people for no good reason. That is the evil you need to focus your attention upon.
    Then focus your attention to helping your country to become a success like the United States.

  64. October 31, 2008 at 20:52


  65. 65 Akande Babajide
    October 31, 2008 at 21:04

    … have they ever cared before now? it is all business. Where we can make money out of others stupidity we will as Europeans go there.
    i really have no pity for Africa. we are the cause of our own problems.
    Greed, selfishness and what have you. imagine, Mugbabe has been the president of Zimbabwe since i was born two decades ago and is still a president!

    jide from Lagos Nigeria

  66. 66 kpellyhezekiah
    October 31, 2008 at 22:16

    the world hasn’t let africa down. The modern world has been operating on the concept of keeping africa down so that it cannot develop(industrilised) but always be the supplier of raw materials only for the growth and development of the other continents. What is happening in the DR Congo is just one of the numerous ways of keeping this agenda of EU, US and Asia on course. Thank you

  67. 67 kpellyhezekiah
    October 31, 2008 at 22:23

    the world has always, modern history, been working 24hr each passing day not only to keeping africa down but to if possible re-colonise it again.

  68. 68 kpellyhezekiah
    October 31, 2008 at 22:30

    All the political, economic, social systems in place in the world today have this goal embedded in them. For example, can anybody tell me why in the year 2008 no african country is represented permanently in the UN Security council? All the other continents are represented. And this is against the background that african soldiers fully participated in both world wars especially in burma.

  69. 69 kpellyhezekiah
    October 31, 2008 at 22:33

    God bless africa. I hope and pray that we return to this topic after the US elections. There is more to be said on this issue.

  70. October 31, 2008 at 23:00

    Seeing these coments makes wana SCREAM!!! One of u said that the West doesn not anythng to africa!! ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME??!?SO TYPICAL WHITE B*#IT!! As a matter of fact you owe africa Everything. Who worked on your farmz and plantation during your indurstralization when all white pple workd in factories?( AND U F%#*N PAY THE SLAVES)Who supplied yot with raw material to fuel your industralization?(which iz the backbone of your successful economies) It waz us africans or better known as NEGRO slaves to you. You came with your “civilizing the savages” crap and RAPED AFRICA THEN LEFT HER TO BLEED HOPIN SHE WILL KILL HERSELF WITH DESPAIR. You talk about corruption in africa when your banks are LOADED with the STOLEN CASH!!! Or maybe africans should FARM their way out of POVERTY!!! That would be great if not for all the obscene amounts of fertile lands and highlands belonged to the “WHITESETTLERS”!!! Why dont africans take their lands back!! Coz the settlers are protected by the constitution by ownin the lands or have 200yrs leases, you see 46yrs ago when the colonial powers left they made sure of that!!! Surely why cant they just take their lands by force? It their lands afterall?!!! They could!!? But all of a sudden their “AID” is cut of and their hitt with sunctions after santions. Those Bustards how dare they stand up for thier rights against the west,”rememba ZIMBABWE” the west will grawl. Oh!! why not just find some other land to farm ?maybe forest? NOOOO HEAVEN FORBIDE?WE WILL BE RESPONSIBLE 4 GLOBAL WARMING!!Not to mention the eviromentalist attacks. Surely africa can sell wat it has? Oh yes that iz a gud idea if not for the UNFAIR,PROTECTIONIST POLICIES OF THE WEST TO AFRICA?!!! No matter how much we sell to the west we still wont move on!!? BUT AFRICA HAS MANY MINERALS!! How about Gold,silver,diamonds and aahh the Black gold OIL!! That certainly could be a lastin solution, we could be like the middle east,make the west dependant on our oil!!? Ohh! But which african country with such resources is not at war with itself? CONGO,SUDAN civil war,NIGERIA,ANGOLA,LIBERIA,ZAMBIA,LIBERIA,SERE LEONE recoverin from civil wars!! But how can that be? How do these wars get funded?? Gee now that a tuff question to ask. DOES ANYONE HERE KNOW THE ANSWER?…ANYONE?? Let me give you westerners a little test. DO YOU WANA KNOW THE ROOT CAUSES OF PROBLEMS IN AFRICA?JUST GIVE YOURSELF A LONG HARD LOOK IN THE MIRROR!! So respect MAMA AFRICA COZ YOU OWE HER EVERYTHNG.

  71. 71 harold Pearson
    October 31, 2008 at 23:08

    Dear Ros,
    I am not so sure the world is letting Africa down, isn’t it rather that Africa is letting itself down?

    I lived and worked in five different countries in Africa from 1969 to 1992 as a small industries development advisor, 12 years of that with the UN. I moved to Asia in 1994 and cannot believe how different the attitudes are. Take countries like Viet Nam, Korea and Cambodia. All have been through fairly recent hard times yet all are on the way up. In particular Cambodia with the horrors of Pol Pot is developing at a very rapid pace. Having lived in Cambodia for over 10 years I am in a good position to know.

    Why, in so many African countries, are they making such a mess of things? Please don’t blame it on the slave trade and colonialism as there isn’t a country I can think of that at some time in its history has not suffered in the same way.

    Harold Pearson
    Phnom Penh

  72. 72 Dan
    October 31, 2008 at 23:40

    @Saeed ali
    Thank you that was quite amusing.
    If I understand your point you want to trust an unelected rogue militia to safeguard the mineral resources of the Congo rather than the Government such as it is.
    The base issue is that there has never been a functioning Government in many African countries.
    Of course this is naturally the fault of the United States. Perhaps we gave too much food, medicine, money, and support.
    When do the people of Africa stand up and make their Government function for the benefit of all the people?
    When do individuals stand up and demand changes in their Government rather than simply blame the United States and watch as nothing changes.
    Calling people hypocrites accomplishes nothing of any importance.
    It is time that the African people of the various nations stood up, reformed their corrupt and non-functioning systems and joined in the prosperity of this planet.

  73. November 1, 2008 at 05:28

    The problem does not lie in Africa, and to stop looking there for a solution would help a great deal in providing one. Africa is an incredibly rich country. The only way to help it is to stop the people outside Africa who have a large financial interest in keeping the continent as destabilised as possible. The people who bribe and corrupt the governments with the crumbs off the table.


  74. November 1, 2008 at 05:37

    @ Dan

    “Perhaps we gave too much food, medicine, money, and support.”

    This isn’t really true (I was born in Zambia and lived in Nigeria and South Africa – seen a few sides of this multi faceted ‘problem’).
    “We” certainly decimated their agricultural system with a number of political and physical actions and created a dependency on Imported Aid, controlled by “us”.
    Medicine? Really? I don’t think so. Read John Le Carre “The constant Gardener” for an interesting take on Medicine and Africa. Money, yes some people have become very rich from this money. For most in Africa it’s a long road to freedom, most of it on foot. Support? Well if this is what “support” looks like, I would pass.

    “When do the people of Africa stand up and make their Government function for the benefit of all the people?”

    Perhaps when America leads by example?


  75. 75 koster
    November 1, 2008 at 10:21

    The problem of Africa is the continent is rich and the inhabitants are blacks. Blacks are undesired like other natives they should be removed either through famine, war or AIDS.

    Contributing money and increasing the number of scavengers does not help. We have to understand the problem, we have to have real will to help and let these black human beings lead a decent life like us. If we really need peace and development, fight state terrorism or stop installing what you call “friendly tyrannts” and Africans will help themselves.

    The relationship between the so-called “civilized” and “uncivilized” people should not be parasitic as is the case it is now. All what we see now in Africa is the effects of Regean and other successive American governments to support “friendly tyrannts” like MOBUTU and co.

    I hope the “civilized” nations stop trying to negate NEWTON´s law which states for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction and try to have peace or fight terrorism by promoting and supporting state terrorism.

  76. 76 Dan
    November 1, 2008 at 11:47

    RE John Le Carre comment
    Rachel Carson wrote a book “Silent Spring” and people whose intelligence could go no further than the end of a bumper sticker protested hysterically for an end to DDT.
    Movie Stars made it their “Cause Celeb” and protests ran in the street. DDT was banned.
    Nobody gave a damn anymore and with their limited attention spans went on to some other “Cause Celeb”….after all the beautiful people needed something to do with their idle time. (Now they have Obama)
    Looking back he banning of DDT has given many other insect born diseases a serious foothold including Malaria, a truly horrible affliction.
    John Le Carre is but one person with one book. To form any opinion one needs to look beyond hysterical bumper sticker slogans.
    What you describe about the agricultural situation in Africa is not wholly factual.
    However, the point that I hold vociferously to is that the cure for Africa must come from Africans who must stop blaming others and take personal responsibility and action.

  77. 77 Emile Barre
    November 1, 2008 at 12:18

    Africa has always been treated like a third-class citizen.That needs to change.

  78. 78 Charles Bakosi
    November 1, 2008 at 14:34

    Africa has grossly been neglected,At times we feel that the development of Africa will make the world a much better place to live, that is the reason the world especially the developed world encourages wars, rebellions etc.
    There shouldn’t be a tag developing world or third world what is third about the world?

  79. 79 Charles Bakosi
    November 1, 2008 at 14:40

    The world sure owe’s Africa and if you dont agree simply return our stolen wealth and cultures, then stop all this giving aids with the right hand and collecting with the left hand

  80. November 1, 2008 at 14:55

    it is really appauling to see africans go through all this hardship day in and day out.i think the un has done a lot but we must blame our own selves.ghana always faces some difficulties but we dont make it turn into silly war we uderstand ourselves.i also think the leaders of dr congo must act fast before the unexpected happens.

  81. November 1, 2008 at 15:24


  82. November 1, 2008 at 17:11

    Dan> John Le Carre is but one person with one book. To form any opinion one needs to look beyond hysterical bumper sticker slogans.What you describe about the agricultural situation in Africa is not wholly factual. However, the point that I hold vociferously to is that the cure for Africa must come from Africans who must stop blaming others and take personal responsibility and action.<

    Why must they stop blaming others? The “others” in their case have a lot to answer for, and most of it is unanswered and probably never will be answered.

    I do think it’s time for the USofA to take some personal responsibility and action regarding the chaos its various administrations and their international buddies have contributed to the overall misery of this planet over the last decades. Not least in Africa. The multinationals that join in with such gusto in the denuding of the continent both materially and politically are all too often supported by said administrations.

    It’s not Africas’ fault you know, that the place is such a mess.
    Why keep blaming them?


  83. 83 Victor Meldrew
    November 1, 2008 at 17:20

    Key words for solving the Congo riddle: tribalism, Hutu, Tutsi, warlordism, minerals, China, corruption, backhanders.

    No, the world is not letting Africa down again. What is the world supposed to do this time?

    Or, yes, the world is letting Africa down by allowing Africans to govern their own people, if govern’s the word here.

  84. 84 Dan
    November 1, 2008 at 19:10

    Real progress comes when one rolls up their sleeves stops blaming others for perceived or real past offenses and gets to work fixing the problem.
    Children sit around and blame others for their failures. Nobody has anything to answer for. If they did civilization would not move.
    Look at Germany, your country. WWI, WWII, Nazism, Neo-Nazism, the murders of people fleeing the tyranny of East Germany…do you want to waste your time answering for that and MUCH more?
    We have nothing to be repentant about. The issue is how can Africans rebuild their countries and continent.

  85. 85 Timur, Moscow
    November 2, 2008 at 16:48

    Children throwing rocks as UN tanks roll away from fighting?….. Hmmm, this is the way I see it: some politician of some country ordered his country troops to go there and carry out peacekeeping mission. Ok, the UN gave those troops a mandate and they are now there. Question thay have – FOR WHAT? Their own kids and families are far, far away from there. Their OWN government has no interests in Africa, but still “obliged” to send troops claiming to be a “democratic and peaceful nation”, that feels such a great need to “help children of Africa” :-). My friends that were in Afganistan (70’s-80’s, soviet era) told me a story one day. A very old woman and a young kid were passing by their post one day, carrying a heavy (visually noticeble) pack. They were heading down the road to a civilian village just down the hill from the post. And as they walked by, the soviet soldiers asked if they could help. The woman refused, or didn’t understand what they were saying, doesn’t matter. But at the end, they continued walking themselves, without help from soldiers. BUT, when some 10-15 minutes later one soldier looked at them using rifle scope, they were unloading anti-tank mines from that pack across the very road they were travelling. 🙂 My points are: 1. If the peacekeepers are there, they’ve got to have a clear mission and clear orders, plus a clear understanding why they are there. 2. Those “children of Africa” should better learn how to defend a clear spot under the sun themselves. Examples? There are loads of examples. Many nations, fighting for their future and the future for their kids, fought as one – the old ones, young kids, disabled peope, everyone did what they could. 3. A Freedom is something that can not be granted. It has to be fought for and earned sometimes by blood.

  86. 86 David Waln
    November 2, 2008 at 19:01

    The tragedy of the world, and especially Africa, is that survival competition is still a reality. This, in an age where survival units of great size and complexity continue to evolve.

    On second thought. There is an even bigger tragedy. The world needs to become one survival unit, and humanity has peaked at the size of nation states. [And that, only in the most advantageous of circumstances.]

  87. 87 Alex
    November 3, 2008 at 02:21

    why do we need to do all this for africa? there has to be some self help initiative. instead of jut sending money and condoms there should be some requirements and specific places this aid is allocated to.

  88. November 3, 2008 at 06:46

    I am African, and I think that ultimately Africans have to take ownership of Africa’s problems. We must stand-up and be counted. Nevertheless not only has the Western world let down Africa, these countries have caused the majority of Africa’s problems. Before the Berlin conference, Africans lived in relative peace and abundance. Colonialism a result of that conference established a regime, with the purpose of looting and stealing goods from Africa. Therefore the wars, the despotic puppet leaders, the poor, diseases are children of colonialism, nourished by its milk of pervading ever-present culture. The culture created among many things, a rivalry between different ethnic groups, which cause the civil wars we see today. Furthermore by looting from Africa, colonial leaders like king Léopold, who stole a billion U.S dollars worth of resource from the Congo makes it possible for present day African leaders to do the same, for a slave always emulates his masters, when he becomes a master. The poor, the hungry, the sick are a result of this looting. Also during the cold war, Mobutu and others were paid by the West to keep Africa free of communism. These rulers looted from their respective country and murdered with freedom as their post were maintained by the West. The world did not let down Africa because it provides us with sporadic small amounts of nourishment, but it let us Africans down by providing us with a system, a discourse, a culture that makes it possible for us to be in constant need of these nourishments. I pray that God most high will forgive the West.

  89. November 3, 2008 at 11:10

    African leaders are so self centered, all elections end in crisis, litigation, accusations and counter accusation.

    Cases abound in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and most recently, Zambia where the elections were rigged.

    The problem of Africa is that of leadership. Until we get responsible leaders, we wont get anywhere.

    The UN has done its best, considering the fact that Africans are not the only people on earth.

    Until we get leaders who are elected and not forced on the people, we would be heading nowhere.

  90. November 3, 2008 at 13:41

    Africans leaders must stop being selfish and be willing to embrace peace.

    There can be no better way of living except in peace. I think the UN’s hands are full with conflicts all over Africa and indeed the world, that is not to say that it should not help.

    I can only imagine the pains these Congolese have been made to pass through because of the insensitivity/greed of their leaders and rebels.

    War is not fun, everything that can lead to war can easily be resolved on the negotiation table.

  91. 91 Julie
    November 4, 2008 at 12:49

    If the world is letting down africa, then what is Africa doing to herself?
    Doesn’t Laurent Nkunda have the power and mind to stop killing civilians since he started it? Doesn’t the Congolese army have the power and mind to do the same?
    The urban legend is that the world (the West in particular) gives Africans the guns and we do the shooting. I believe we have to undersand and admit more of what we are doing to ourselves before we start pointing fingers (as usual).

  92. November 4, 2008 at 15:55

    Hi WHYers!

    I must confess that the Elections have taken centrestage in my consciousness in the last couple of days! However, I will say that the BBC played a series of discussions/ lectures with Professor Jeffery Sachs (?) last year which were very enlightening. Among some of the points he raised, was the actual cost of aid given to Africa over a period of time, which I have now forgotten, admittedly!

    When disaggregated the figure works out to some very paltry sum. In addition to which, the effort to ask those who suffer from degnue and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes etc., to buy the nets which seek to offer some measure of defense, he believes, is immoral – a sort of punishing the victim (?) psychosis.

    In my view, the world had given up on Africa for a while now! From as far back as the Mercantilisit policies of Britain which eventually lead to the removal of millions of the continent’s people, who were transported across the Atlantic, many of who were killed along the way, bear testimony to this point.

    Development does not happen in isolation of other factors in the same way that under-development does not. Africa’s problem, from what I can tell, is largely a developmental one which seeks, at its core, to undermine the growth of the continent. This, notwithstanding the few flcikering examples which existed (Zimbabwe before it was bled dry, Kenya which was thought to be stable and South Africa, which only concentrates the wealth in certain parts of the country, among others).

  93. November 4, 2008 at 16:06

    Note forced labour not only undermines a people in terms of the lost wealth/ development but also undermines a region/ country in terms of lost possibilities (ambitions, dreams, etc). Africa has been caught in this terrible quicksand of global politics which either does not adequately see it as a viable corpus of nations able to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the world and is, therefore, relegated to the backwaters.

    Or, alternatively, it is the case that the Africans (whoever they are!) are all just one very irresponsible lot without much regard for concepts such as social justice, life and even the much vaunted development about which I spoke earlier. In that regard, they have made their beds and must expect to lie in it.

    Still, I am not so sure the answer is that simple ‘either/ or’ option. Is there something that can be done in the DR Congo, or Africa more generally? Sure, there is! Remember the Rwandan genocide? Hardly much was done in terms of peace keeping, as I recall, even while millions of people were butchered.

    Then, there is the case of UN peace keepers in other places who mercilessly rape young children (girls) and, still, nothing is done (as far as we know!) to address that. Seems curious to me that, we are willing to stridently remark that Africans stand up for themselves but are silent in other instances where the abuses and excesses are so eggregious!

  94. 94 John van Dokkumburg
    November 8, 2008 at 16:46

    The Congo is like many others ritch with minerals and so a non-reason for conflict i mean its a I Want thing without the moral interest. So if we want to change we have to change the way we see rich in a priciple . For me a diament is just a stone , for me it isnt worth a plate of beans . If there are rich people here today , earn a market position, they just have a toy , sleepy in the essential believe .

    See what art can costs and realy doesnd worth a shi .. t , you better understand that this mineral richsness is just a man made illusion . This market must change there opinion , (we also) and not be able we fight ourselfs a life insurance of it . You dont say it is for your old day .. because the yong dont have time for this old shi . .. t ..
    Our prison , with the ground needing market availablity that put our needs in agreements , that oneliner got to change , basicly they must drop out of the essential basical economic money system and understand that the luxeries dont truly excist but only excist because of basical market uppression and so – unpeace , So dont make a fool crasy and let him believing he can get salvation with more diamounts .. our ‘Sodom and Gomora’ egotrip,

    If we not have a true God in Africa except in a abstract hope .. where we gooing ? If We as one people want to see what we do , what do we need to do ? Must we first believe in the lifehelping hope, and a simple plan of a higher disciption with faith and oppertunity ? Teach the true . So You and you on the top , just do good with hearts that have hope .

    I surgest that the foodsector must become free , meaning -everybody- ( we to )can use land for our life giving needs , without paying taxs our a money administration .

    Ad least i want to say that Zimbabwe has no president . I have nother words and worlds for this behaviour but like a pirate feels and thinks he acting right , so he would stolen the sun if he could for letting people paying it ” his grace is his nobody in neverybody ” … Ask friends , he has the control over your atoms, but why that was become ? feel you beeing kidnaped ? Must he be hold for a example of a winner ? It is over – and his game was and is the misleading of a other universe , of truly freedom .

    People payed there lives and bow for him, others even wanting this .. to serve there our his own satisfaction ..

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