A possie in Aussie

January 16, 2009

Gimme Shelter: Gaza or Congo?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nayano @ 2:13 pm

Ben Affleck and Sir Mick Jagger have launched a short film for UNHCRs new ‘Gimme Shelter ‘ campaign to help raise funds and awareness about the crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. There are currently 1.3 million displaced people in the DRC. As many as 5.4 million lives have been lost to the conflict in the last 10 years. (If you would like to donate to UNHCR to help the people of the Congo, click here)

Ben Affleck says “We made this film in order to focus attention on the humanitarian crisis in the DRC at a time when too much of the world is indifferent or looking the other way”.

I received the email announcing about ‘Gimme Shelter’ this morning, and also an email from Avaaz.org  about their campaign for peace in Gaza. I have signed their petition, but I did not join the many demonstrators who protested against Israel’s actions last week. In fact, the demonstrations annoyed me. News outlets are claiming that more than 1000 have died in Gaza so far , but in the DRC an estimated 1,000 people are dying every day, and I have not seen one protest on the streets about this. Why so much clamour about Gaza, and not a whisper about the DRC? Let’s hope it’s not because the people of the DRC are black!

I am embarrassed to remember that I joined in the anti-Vietnam war protests (yikes, I am old!) with little or no understanding of the war, the politics, or the reasons for the actions. As did many others (it was fun.) Even those who did understand the issues would not have been out on the streets if the marches weren’t organised for them to join.

It takes a lot of organising and a strong act of will to mount a public protest, and all the street protests that I know of have been at the very least initiated by an established interest group. Unfortunately, there are no political interests (socialist, Islamist or otherwise) for which the DRC is an issue, and so no organised protests. Yes, I seem to really be getting old – I used to sneer at politicians who wrote off all protests as mere rantings of rent-a-crowds – but I see now that there is a little truth in what they say.



  1. It is flawed to put Gaza and DRC in opposition to each other. In fact, the conflicts are linked, and both conflicts underline the importance of building movements to uphold the Geneva Conventions, safeguarding civilians in all conflicts. I posted a short commentary at http://gaza-peace-n-freedom.blogspot.com/2009/01/michel-hamas-is-responsible.html on some of the Israeli links to the DRC genocide.

    Comment by Hurriya — January 27, 2009 @ 2:46 am | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment. I didn’t mean to put them in opposition to each other – rather I was trying to make the point that the noise that is made about situations doen’t necessarily reflect the size and depth of the crisis – rather it is a function of organised groups who promote (or don’t) causes.

      Comment by nayano — January 30, 2009 @ 7:15 am | Reply

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