In the DR Congo, “peaceful” describes horror

In the early morning hours of Tuesday November 20, the M23 rebels entered Goma in the eastern Congo.

Journalists and eye witnesses have consistently reported that the rebels met with virtually no opposition as the Congolese soldiers fled and the UN peacekeepers stood by and watched.

In the days leading up to the rebel advance, we had expected a brutal battle for control of this strategic city. Instead, the media consistently told us that the M23 rebels took control “quite peacefully”. With some victims.  A little small arms fire that ended quickly. A short-lived battle out by the airport, not in town. One headline read: “DRC rebels capture Goma without firing a shot.”

This morning I received a video of a Goma street scene as the M23 rebels took control.

It is horrific.  I’ve since found it on youtube LINK . I strongly caution  — the scene in the street is nothing short of horrific. You may just want to trust me that it’s brutal and not watch.

Were all the journalists wrong?  No, of course not.

It is the language of the Congo that has slipped outside the norm of most of humanity.

“Quite peacefully” is an accurate phrase, offered up in the context of the Congo.

In my context, sitting at my desk in Toronto Canada, an accurate phrase is “horror.”

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If Canada and other countries are to take action to help the people of the DRC, we need to understand the seriousness of what is happening there. We cannot sigh with relief that the worst case scenario didn’t happen and turn away — because what did happen was terrible.

 

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