Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Deadliest Conflict.

6,000,000. That's nearly the number of people who have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (or just "Congo").

Think about that number for a moment. If you had a penny for every person in Congo that has been murdered, you'd have over half-a-million dollars. If you had a book, just a regular sized paperback, for every person murdered, you could fill 10 downtown Columbus libraries. If you had a beer bottle for every person killed in the Congo, you could fill Ohio Stadium's bleachers to the point where there would be no Scarlet or Gray left.

6,000,000. Each one of those numbers is a life lost, and a life lost in the most brutal, horrific, terrifying way possible. 75% of surviving women in some of the eastern provinces of Congo have been raped. The women who have not been killed have often been kidnapped and forced to be sexual slaves for the soldiers. Millions of children are without parents and are on the brink of death from starvation, malaria, AIDS, malnutrition and of course the rampant, incessant gang-violence and murders that are happening in the republic.

45,000 deaths per month, half of them small children. 5.4 million killed as of January 2008; that number any day will strike 6 million.

6,000,000. What gets to me most about this is that our two Presidential nominees said time and time again, "We can never let another Holocaust happen", yet it is happening right now. In some way, it's looking to be worse. We are in the midst of the deadliest conflict since World War II, and no one is doing a thing to stop it. No one. Not the United States, not Canada, not even the fucking United Nations. The world has lost nearly 6 million people, equivalent to the size of Denmark, and no one cares. No one cares at all.

I have two immediate reactions. First, I think of every stupid American who walks around complaining about the most asinine things. "I ordered my Filet Mignon MEDIUM-RARE and what happens? IT COMES OUT MEDIUM!!!" Or, "Are you kidding me? Starbucks is OUT OF PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP?! My drink is going to be free, and it will be free until I get what I want." I hear the whines and cries of every American--yes, me included--ranging from "my life sucks" to "my feet hurt" to "I'm so bored" to "I'm tired" to "no one loves me" to "I'm broke" and yet I look around me and I've still not had to witness a murder break out in my neighborhood. I haven't watched a women getting raped in the streets. I haven't started stacking children's dead bodies because there is no place to put them. We live in a country of such golden opportunity, and yet so many of us waste it away. What would those 6,000,000 people have given to be alive right now? What would they have given for just a single day in America? What would they have given for just the simple luxuries we forget about everyday--clean water, air conditioning, ice cream? I can imagine any single one of the 6,000,000 willing to work everyday for the rest of their life just to be in America. We are so ungrateful to the beauties of security.

The second thing that comes to mind is the fact that Christians throughout the country have spent millions and millions of dollars and hours on removing gay rights, yet what have they done to stop this nefarious evil? Wouldn't God rather see Christians working to save lives in countries that have been decimated by the most agonizing form of terror in the world?

Californians spent $75 million Prop 8. Couldn't that money have saved thousands of lives in Congo? Apparently it is more convenient to tear apart communities and take away rights than to save lives and possibly change the world. Apparently that is too much for Christ and his followers.

Christ isn't in the business of helping people; he's in the business of marginalizing communities and building fences up between people. Christ isn't about loving one another; he's about arguing over laws until people hate each other so much they won't even speak to one another. Christ isn't about making the world a better place; he's about taking happy people who are in love and doing everything to ensure they fail. This is the message that Prop 8 sent. Christians had the moment to rewrite their own story--they could have taken that money and worked to save the lives of those in need. Instead, they used it to destroy people's homes, crumple and spit on the image of The Cross, and forever keep people away from the so-called love of Christ. You "saved" marriage, but you stand with blood on your hands. I hope your fucking God is proud.

But back to Congo. As thousands die every single day--literally thousands--what are we to do? I'm alone in this. There is nothing I can do. Someone will do something. This is what every single one of you--and me included--has been saying for the past ten years. We have all been crying out to help save Congo, yet nothing has been accomplished. Are we going to keep turning a blind eye to this? Are we going to keep pretending like everything in the world is perfect? Are we going to continue to drink our lattes and live with shutters on our eyes?

Unfortunately, I believe the answer is yes.