08 April, 2010

Article Round-up.

April is Genocide Prevention Month with dates for the Holocaust, the Rwanda, Bosnian, Armenian, and Cambodians genocides all occurring in April... 

Change.org wrote: Genocide remembrance is about much more than memorializing those who have perished. The many lives lost are best honored when the memory of their suffering is a catalyst for action to end the scourge of genocide, and prevent the lives of others from meeting a similar fate. This requires more than solemn speeches and inspirational rhetoric, and leaders the world over should be pushed to make good on the oft-made promises of "never again."

What lessons have we learned from these genocides? 6 April marked the start of the Rwandan genocide, which continued until 4 July. 100 days, 1,000,000 people. It's hard to comprehend. And yet, genocide continues around the world...  

Hunger kills 700 children under the age of five, a day in Congo according to the Health Minister. And that's in peaceful Congo! (1, 2) 'More than a million women needs urgent food aid,' says UNICEF

Against what many might believe, there are parts of the Congo that aren't being ravaged by war. Here are five other misnomers (about the conflict) from Congo Siasa
  1. The conflict is all about minerals
  2. Coltan is the main mineral traded in The Congo (it's actually tin - huh.) 
  3. FDLR is made up of Interahamwe - who carried out the 1994 genocide.
  4. CNDP is a Tutsi militia
  5. The UN mission has failed to protect civilians
I have said enough about the last one, and you can read Congo Siasa's blog for further explanation on his points. I would just like to point out that #3 is a favorite line of the Rwandan government (and some diplomats) as justification for their involvement in the Congo. It's not true, and from what I've heard, the Rwandan army is a bigger instigator in the Congo than the Interahamwe.  And the women of the Congo recently told the UN one way to help end the genocide would be to, " Call for an Inter-Rwandan dialogue between Rwanda's Tutsi leadership and Hutu rebels inside Congo. There are no military solutions to what is essentially a political crisis." (Read more here.)

And finally, Dave Gilson had this amazing map of Africa - and what celebrities are working there. Enjoy. 

It is a good visual for where celebrities have turned something not involving them at all into something all about them.  ("The map below takes a lighter look at the sometimes serious, sometimes silly business of celebrity altruism.")

Here is a timeline of celebrities "helping" Africa. 

Some fun things to note:
- 1985: USA for Africa responds with "We Are the World." (which did what in the long run?)
- 2005: Live 8 concerts. Some performers get $12,000 gift bags.
- 2007: Senegalese-American hip-hop artist Akon defends owning a diamond mine in South Africa: "I don't even believe in conflict diamonds...Diamonds are the least of our worries."
- 2007: Paris Hilton says she's going to Rwanda. (She's not.) In 2008, she visits South Africa, where she gushes, "I love Africa in general—South Africa and West Africa, they are both great countries."

To see what else catches my eye - you can follow my Google Reader feed.