Friday, March 13, 2009

March 13 Congo Skate Home

This evening Amnesty International hosts a discussion on the loss of millions, about 10% of the population, in the Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. This is not a tribal war by Congolese. Congo has about 500 tribes who get along swimmingly. When the country became independent from Belgium, nationalist leaders tilted to the Soviet Union for aid, prompting the US government to install Mobuto Sese Seko in 1960. Cinematic references include Lumumba and When We Were Kings. Ruling colorfully, cruelly and kleptomaniacally until 1997, he was replaced by elements tied to Rwanda and Burundi who controlled Eastern Congo after the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The last 15 years of chaos has resulted in the death disruption of the society, primarily through starvation, disease and the violation of human rights. What can be done? The presenters, from the Eastern Congo themselves, argue that the US government allows or disallows, by focus or inaction, each problem worldwide. The problem in East Congo is a result of failure to intervene in Rwanda in 1994 under the Clinton's and secretary of state for Africa Susan Rice. Now is the time to write to now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN ambassador Susan Rice to urge a focus on the problem created on their watch by the Rwandan genocide. Note the decision to not intervene in 1994 was largely influenced by the failure of UN and US efforts in Somalia. This is told cinematically in Black Hawk Down. The situation in Somalia was qualitatively different with fierce battle hardened militias in stark contrast to ordinary populace and irregulars in Rwanda who would have easily been disarmed by a small organized peace force. 7:30 PM at the First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Free

Gallery Homeland opens TransFixed work by Sara Nyquist , Laura Hughes, Danridge Geiger, Calvin Ross Carl & Rainbow Ross. At Gallery Homeland 2505 SE 11th x Division 6PM-9 Free

Meanwhile skate themed photos by Bryce Kanights, Grant Brittain, Jon Humphries, Joe Brook, and Ryan Flynn are gathered in a show Seen of Change at the Artery 4114 N. Vancouver 6PM-9