Wednesday, 24 September 2003

Rome (Fides Service) – Africa is known to the general public for its humanitarian emergencies, its wars, its calamities. For a moment media attention is riveted on the continent, humanitarian organisations go into action, at times troops are deployed, but once the first emergency is over the matter is forgotten and world attention tires and turns to something new. How many forgotten tragedies how many names: Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Uganda, Democratic Congo, Zimbabwe…and so many figures: one out of many: 3 million dead in Congo between 1998 and 2002. Figures which speak of human tragedies which no writer, or poet can ever render in all their horror.
The international media finds it hard to follows these events, also because every new tragedy overshadows the previous one. The crisis in Ivory Coast is overtaken by that in Liberia and so forth. But when the guns are silent and world media spotlights turn elsewhere, is it really true that peace has returned? Fides continues to follow situations in Congo, Ivory Coast, where, despite many efforts to restore peace, as our titles given below show, true peace is still a long way off. Local and international political and economic interests perpetuate situations of war. A simple arithmetic multiplication shows that African conflicts are not only local they are part of a wider context. A rifle bullet costs about 00,20 Euro. In any small intertribal battle hundreds if not thousands of bullets are fired for a total cost of about 200-300 Euro in about half and hour. How is this possible in countries where most of the people live on less than 1 Euro a day?
People talk about war-diamonds, trafficking which funds conflicts in Liberia, in Democratic Congo, not to mention the precious timber, uranium, oil, and human trafficking: all of which go to feed wars whose only aim is to highjack Africa’s resources and re-direct them to “civilised” nations which buy, at below cost prices, the raw materials necessary to maintain their high living standards. LM (Fides Service 24/9/2003 EM lines Words: 478)

Info: Fides News

AFRICA/LIBERIA - LIBERIA’S DIFFICULT JOURNEY TO PEACE “Unfortunately since the departure of Taylor who governed the country as if it were his personal feud, the logic of robbing Liberia of its resources still holds” says SMA provincial Father Mauro. (Fides Service 23/9/2003)

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - following opening of borders Ivory Coast/Burkina Faso train services resume. But months after treaty stopped year long civil war situation still far from normal (Fides Service 23/9/2003)

AFRICA/ SUDAN - secessionists accuse government of violating treaty in west Sudan (Fides Service 9/9/2003)

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - peace has difficulty getting started, spectre of food shortage in rebel controlled areas threatens (Fides Service 5/9/2003)