The Silent Force of Greed
30 April 2003
Media and public attention to every unfolding detail of the war in Iraq is intense. Now, as in the weeks leading up to the U.S. invasion, you can’t turn on a TV or radio, open a newspaper or even have a conversation without finding the war in Iraq sliced, diced and dissected. But more and more, I find myself asking, “Why this war? What about the others?”
The war in Iraq is not the only war. It’s not even the most devastating current conflict. That award may go to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with an estimated 2.5 million people killed and over 2 million displaced in the last five years. Two-and-a-half million killed. And how many Canadians know about the war in the Congo? Or could place the Congo on a map, for that matter?
So why all the attention to Iraq? The immediate answer is that the reigning world superpower, the United States, is directly involved in military action. And that makes news. Who cares, really, whether the armies of at least six neighbouring countries — Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Burundi and Namibia — are actively fighting for control over the vast natural resources of the Congo? Wars in the Congo, in the Central African Republic, in Liberia, in countless other countries, aren’t connected to us. “Us” meaning The West. “Us” meaning Those That Count.